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MP3 Walter Runge - Il Marinaio

Sounds like flying too close to the sun with cool mud still clinging between your toes.

15 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Fusion, JAZZ: Weird Jazz

I believe that an artist must allow himself to be influenced by everything around him. This doesn’t mean that everything the artist has experienced becomes a part of who he is. It means that every experience has an equal effect on what the artist becomes. I stand in child-like amazement of the songs that I write because there are so many different sounds that come from within me and through me. I credit not myself, but my creator and all that surrounds me and all I’ve experienced in this wonderful world we live in!

American music, for instance, follows a long lineage from blues to gospel, Dixieland to jazz, rhythm and blues to rock and roll. Along the way it has blended with a multitude of Latin styles, classical sounds, African and South American rhythms, reggae and other Caribbean music and a multitude of modern variations from electronic sounds to spoken word. Modern music is a blend of styles, the best of which is a marriage of cultures. Or as the Italians say, “La musica moderna e’ il miscuglio di stili, il migliore dei quali e’ matrimonio tra culture. I just love the sound of that!

In the preface of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde said many things about the artist and his relationship with the world. Some of his statements I find relative to my own efforts as a composer. Mr. Wilde begins with “The artist is the creator of beautiful things”. As I said, I allow everything to influence my art, and yet most of the music I write sounds beautiful, as opposed to the sound of traffic and war, poverty and anguish. This confounds and confuses me, but I have accepted it. As a result of accepting whatever I write for what it is and not always what I imagined it would be, I am much more productive a composer.

Mr. Wilde writes, “The nineteenth century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own face in the mirror. The nineteenth century dislike of Romanticism is the rage of Caliban not seeing his own face in the mirror.” Shakespeare’s character from The Tempest was misshapen and slovenly, but through the education of the witch Sycorax, he developed a sense of worth and an appreciation of things beautiful and good. His ego flourished because of the value of answering to authority. She raised him as a slave because of her corrupt nature. He eventually rebelled against her and turned to serve a ship-wrecked drunkard named Stephano. His self-worth was regained because of all that he could teach Stephano about life on “his island”. When faced with the reality of his visage in a mirror for the first time ever, Caliban was disgusted and angered. He saw the reality of his existence. All that he had romanced about his life and self-worth came crashing down around him. Now, in the 20th century, we are drawn to that which is Real; horrified and delighted, angered and entertained. We Romance the beauty and goodness of our world; yet we rarely listen for its voice. It is placid and uninteresting. We are disappointed when faced with beauty, perhaps because we do not see ourselves. But every so often, we will stand in amazement of the beauty around us. Every so often we realize all that is beautiful and perfect. Every so often, we imagine what beauty and perfection could be if we only embrace it. As Mr. Wilde points out, “It is the spectator, and not the life, that art really mirrors.”

It is my wish to create beauty for beauty’s sake. This seems to come easily for me. No matter how I try to create something harsh, a picture of sewage or a statue of the torments that beset us, my daggers become lilies and my explosions become butterflies. So be it. “Those who find beauty in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty.” For these I write music.

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