Mozart In The Jungle’s Not Yet Titled Shows Us The Power Of Music.

If you have not yet delved into the wonderful world of Mozart In The Jungle, which is in its third season, then you really should watch it. It is based on the struggles of the New York Symphony Orchestra, a made up organisation which is actually The Chelsea Symphony with a number of actors sprinkled among their number.

There are two reasons you should watch this…

(1) Being an excellent introduction to the music, which is the main character of the show and each episode serves as a wonderful vehicle to explore some of the finest music in the genre. If you know nothing about classical music and would like to start learning this is the way to go about it. (2) If you love classical music you will enjoy the music, and seeing the world of the orchestra portrayed in such a way that is free of the typical stereotypes cliches that one associates with this genre of music. Also, you will find yourself sometimes learning something new, or meeting a new composer who has not had the recognition that he really deserves.

(2) If you love classical music you will enjoy the music, and seeing the world of the orchestra portrayed in such a way that is free of the typical stereotypes and cliches that one associates with this genre of music. Also, you will find yourself sometimes learning something new, or meeting a new composer who has not had the recognition that he really deserves.

The main thing about this program that really stands out for most fans of the show is the way that music is portrayed as the powerful cure that it is. It is a healing thing, which can unite, encourage, incite, relax and free the listener. It has a power on our emotions that nothing else, not even my beloved poetry, can match.

That is where this episode comes into play. Season two ended with a strike and lockout of the Orchestra’s players by the management over failed contract negotiations. The third series started with a stalemate continuing and the conductor, Rodrigo fleeing the nonsense of red tape to continue to pursue the music. Eventually, he realises that he needs to bring the whole thing to an end, and so he returns to New York and helps the warring parties to negotiate, and end the trade dispute. It is then he decides to make the bold move of having them celebrate the end of the lockout with their first concert together again in Rikers Island Prison, for the benefit of inmates who are locked in.

So episode seven, filmed as a documentary by one of the characters (the awesome Bradford Sharpe) which he calls Not Yet Titled. They actually performed for some of the inmates who were then incarcerated in Rikers. It was a moving experience for the inmates and for me watching, as they performed works by the French composer Olivier Messiaen who was imprisoned by the Nazis during the horrific days of the Holocaust. His music some of which was composed in prison is very modern in style, sometimes there are frantic moments of high energy, and then there are moments when the music is so soft and peaceful. You could see that the prisoners got this, they understood that this music was speaking their experience for them.

The last piece they played was called Turangalila Symphony, which Rodrigo informed the inmates was written after his release from the prison camp. I recommend you listen to this piece of music if you get the chance to. Because as you listened to it you would agree that it summed up the feelings and impressions of a man who had for so long been stuck in a prison and suddenly was back out in the world. The way that it begins you feel for a moment scared, everything is terrible. You look around and the world is terrifying, everything seems the same perhaps, but the movement of the world around you, so big and immense after being in a small room for who knows how long. Surely that is something that the prisoners got. But there was a message of comfort for the too, because even as the music was wild, furious and terrifying, there were moments when it was still too. Peaceful, like moments of joy and acceptance too. You could see the prisoners got this from the music.

The way that it begins you feel for a moment scared, everything is terrible. You look around and the world is terrifying, everything seems the same perhaps, but the movement of the world around you, so big and immense after being in a small room for who knows how long makes it all seem a little menacing. You would feel unsure of yourself, ill at ease with all around you. Surely that is something that the prisoners got. But there was a message of comfort for them too, because even as the music was wild, furious and terrifying, there were moments when it was calm too. The music would slow down to a peaceful lull, or it would be sweet and joyous, as though there were times when Messiaen felt at ease, happy even before they whole thing would begin again. You could see the prisoners got this from the music.

Interlaced in the episode there are interviews with various prison inmates and each one to a man was moved by the whole thing. The most common expression was that the music reached them, that even though they had always thought that classical music was not for them, they felt that the music took them out of themselves, and freed them.

You see, that is what I get out of music. That it is a liberating thing. Sure there is some music that can be damaging to the listener, filling them with the worst of human emotions, as it were. I shan’t name those genres here as I don’t think it is necessary to do that. But when you listen to music based on hope and joy, and unity, then there are no walls that can keep you. Music is the ultimate high. This episode really did show us just what music can do for us, and as the world lurches from one ugly turn to another we will need more beautiful and adventurous music that encourages and liberates us. We also need more shows like Mozart In The Jungle, that shows us that orchestras are full of interesting devoted people who are just trying to make a living doing something they love, for people who love the same thing to enjoy. Long Live The New York Symphony Orchestra!!!!

This episode really did show us just what music can do for us, and as the world lurches from one ugly turn to another we will need more beautiful and adventurous music that encourages and liberates us. We also need more shows like Mozart In The Jungle, that show us how orchestras are full of interesting devoted people who are just trying to make a living doing something they love, for people who love the same thing to enjoy. Long Live The New York Symphony Orchestra!!!!

Advertisements