An enticing battle fought between the softness and vulnerability of strings compared to the impactful aggression of brass. “Viennese Blood”, composed by Johann Strauss, demonstrates a complex, yet playful battle between string and brass instruments. Both types of instruments, with their own unique qualities, guide the listener along a conflicted journey, that is resolved beautifully by the tethering of percussion.
The composition begins with a near melancholy introduction of string instruments. The string instruments continue to take the listener down a fearful, and depressing sequence. This is then overcome by a blast of brass instruments. The brass instruments appear to have an aggressive, almost dictatorial-like feeling, as they silence the soft string instruments. To counter, the string instruments return, matching the energy of brass in a joyful rebuttal. This battle between hardness and softness continues as though both styles were on separate ends of a teeter-totter….back and forth.
The composition takes on an image of endless rolling hills with no end in sight. Hill after hill, roll after roll, an infinite spiral of elegance and finesse. As your ears begin to slowly grow tired of warring instruments, a sudden burst of energy is introduced by percussion. The percussion, in an overwhelming fashion, matches the beautiful softness of strings to the popping blast of brass instruments. Where one would believe no uniformity possible, both opposite spectrums tether and warp into one beautiful body as the piece approaches its close.
In conclusion, “Viennese Blood” is a dramatic and artistic piece deserving nothing less than perfection. It was able to guide and hold a listener along an unforgettable journey, sealed ever so carefully by a beautiful uniformity of percussion, strings and brass!
Your head spins slower on your neck, it knows the answers now
Bugs grow thicker through clenched teeth
Faint humming follows you everywhere you go, though you don’t go far
Cold breezes eat away at thoughts
You get up to leave, to escape the heavy void in your living room
The ash grows thicker on your pillow
A young boy turns slowly into a heron, “they can’t touch you if they’re not there”, he whispers before flying off
The shadows are getting tired
You get into your car and drive, there are no roads but somehow you find yourself at a diner
You sit at your table and stare at the walls, a pale waitress brings you tea in heavy silence, but it sizzles and evaporates as it reaches your lips
A sign behind the door reads “please, don’t touch me” before melting into a worm and fading through the walls
You need to leave
You walk past blue lemon trees growing thin clusters of grapes around the branches
You often eat them off the ground to confuse the taste of blood in your mouth
You look to the moon but it won’t look back, it knows what you’ve done
The bruises grow darker on your walls
You turn away
Hollow eyes wander as rusty hatchets drag against the ground
Do you ever stop to look at all the skin you gather?
Cross-stitched mouths shut tight, they look to you and whisper “careful, under her shoes are her feet” before slinking slowly back into their creaky holes
The humming grows louder these days, broken glances flicker between strangers
You can’t throw stones forever.
This is my interpretation of two characters form Shakespeare the tempest. One is called Caliban (the brown one) and the other is called Ariel (the blue one) Caliban is a deformed slave that serves Prospero and Ariel is a sprite that Prospero saved from a tree. In my picture of Caliban he is drunk and dancing and Ariel has taken the form of a harpy to scare the king of Naples and his brother Alonzo.