one of the most effective setting of this old idea would be verklacht nacht, op. 4 of schoenberg. based on a poem by richard dehmel, fairly controversial back in its debut days, but now... just hauntingly beautiful. even a hint of acceptance and forgiveness. but alas, this is not the moon of the evening. perhaps i may have to wait until the end of the summer- when all the excitement, bursting life of spring-summer comes to a slowdown, that deceleration right before the cusp point of pause, right before the year start to wane. after all cross-fired passions and desperate night calls of lovers and romantics have expired, the bonfire after the peak, where things start to glow rather than burn with entusiasm and vigor.
poor pierrot went nutty over the full moon according to albert giraud. at which point otto erich hartleben took the poems, translated to german, and herr schoenberg set it to the famous (or infamous) pierrot lunaire, op. 21. the moon spills nights into the waves ('Gießt Nachts der Mond in Wogen nieder') and (moon)'s pale blood wrung from torment ('Dein bleiches, qualgebornes Blut'), this symbolist work dives far into the terror, lunacy, lust, love and anything in between. perhaps this is the moon of the night. mad mad moon, mad enough to pass the level of fervor and devotion, now just in cool ecstasy. drunk up to point of lucidity. looking down at the nightly persuits and desires of passing lives, the moon is a clown. a clown who knows the plot of this tragecomedy. and the inevitable repetition. a cycle after another.
federico garcia lorca also declares the moon dead and george crumb sets this spanish poet's bloody scripts in haunting yet breathlessly beautiful sounds in the night of the four moons. he breaks the stillness and eerie silence of the night by declaring 'la luna esta muerta, muerta.' inspired by the apollo moon landing of 1969, rather than being victorious about the lunar landing, crumb reaches back into the maddening, powerful, pale moon- 'otro adán oscuro está soñando (another obscure adam dreams)...' as the voice weaves in and out of this intimate ensemble, i feel as if i am held under the water, a cool body of water, full of moonlights, suppocating and suffering, however, liberating, like that moment of clarity before losing consciousness.
the great human achievement, moon landing. however, where did that take us? to the folly of our own vain sense of advancement and evolution? evolution is simply a change. it's a process of adaptation. survival mechanism. it does not come with a moral or ethical justification. it is not necessarily better or worse- simply changing. perhaps the daytime reports of all the growth, technological discoveries and cultural accumulation need be seen in the pale moonlight. without the bustle and agitation of the sunlight, where things grow and move, simply by being there.
it's full moon in yyz. pale and omniscent, the moon looks down on the night city, quiet and distant. it's the change from winter to an early spring- still a bit of icicles in that wind that blows through now sleeping building towers. tonight's moon isnt the moon that cow jumped over. not the one that caressed joyce as 'a sage who is but kith and kin to the comedian capuchin.' but the moon of dylan thomas, a clown with a millions of cracks across himself, delicate and melancholic. i am going to enjoy the quite company of tonight's moon. if a bit sad, if a bit regrettful. as one never regret something that was insignificant.
My tears are like the quiet drift
Of petals from some magic rose;
And all my grief flows from the rift
Of unremembered skies and snows.
I think, that if I touched the earth,
It would crumble;
It is so sad and beautiful,
So tremulously like a dream.
(clown in the moon, dylan thomas)