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Whadya mean we ain't got no songs?

OK, maybe no explicitly atheist songs from classical composers, but music that by atheists that points away from religion. Supposedly Johannes Brahms said "No atheist has ever been or ever will be a great composer." Something like that, anyway, and es war in Deutsche, but I think it was Brahms's way of being humble. Or was it? He was either atheist or agnostic, depending on who's doing the scribbling. I would include his Ein deutsches Requiem, but there are references to a lord in it. He did stay away from religious doctrine and latin texts, but Brahms knew his audiences well enough to know that most of them wanted a little god as part of their comfort. Anyhoo, he was in last week's picks, so you should get something different.

This week, I have to start with the composer who managed never to write a religious work, or if he did, it's a secret: Edgard Varèse Hyperprism on CD of works conducted by atheist Pierre Boulez or on on youtube.

For peacenik atheists, Dmitri Shostakovich's oratorioSongs of the Forest, based on poetry of Yevgeny Dolmatovsky. It comes on a CD with On Guard for Peace or you can listen on youtube. Don't let the patriotic sounding fervor bug you; Shostakovich was pretty sarcastic when he wanted to be. Forest Song excerpt, an OK recording of mvt. 7 Glory. Or go to Svetlanov's performance of the finale from Symphony 5 in D Minor for some real reaction to the soviets and WWII, AND a kick-ass brass section.

Here's someone I had no idea was an atheist: Percy Grainger, Mr. folk song collector and Grieg Piano Concerto performer. For your weekend pleasure: Dreamery - on track 12 excerpt of this compilation. Video or other recording fails for this work me =sigh=. Here's a band favorite, Grainger's crafty arrangements for Lincolnshire Posy - great performance by the Rancho Bernardo high school ensemble.

No way will I forget the composer of the theme to the TV cartoon of Life in Hell (among others), Danny Elfman.


 

Comments

I often wonder who composed the music at movies I view, but seldom take the time to watch the credits or look it up. Danny Elfman, good to know.

Check out Hans Zimmer when you get a chance.

heh - tonight was definitely a pirate night!

Guys, Immolation has this covered.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S94ZrMg3edE

Also, one of my first atheist heroes, Frank Zappa, wrote a great song called 'Dumb All Over' .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGZ5isu23ow

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