Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Night Music - My Name Is Death

It's that time of year, when Laban's musical tastes turn a trifle sombre.

You do have to wonder about the amount of misogyny in the mediaeval 'Death And The Maiden' theme. Hans Baldung spares us none of the misery of the young girl being shown her early grave. 'Hier must du hyn' (Here you must go) is the caption.


























While there are many similar paintings, I can't think of a single one where a fine young man is the victim, although to be fair the proud and rich of both sexes are targets in the Dance of Death paintings and the poetry of death.

The glories of our blood and state
Are shadows, not substantial things;
There is no armour against Fate;
Death lays his icy hand on kings:
Sceptre and Crown
Must tumble down,
And in the dust be equal made
With the poor crookèd scythe and spade.

This Robin Williamson song is in the tradition of Baldung and Walter Scott's Proud Maisie:

"I'll give you gold and jewels rare
And all my wealth in store
All pleasures fair,
If I may live but a few short years more"

"Oh lady, lay your jewels aside,
No more to glory in your pride"

3 comments:

Rideflame. said...

John Barleycorn and Damuzi...Adonis, Tammuz..plenty of tragic young men in myth, but tis true, not in painting unless you count Jesus?

Anonymous said...

"You do have to wonder about the amount of misogyny in the mediaeval 'Death And The Maiden' theme. Hans Baldung spares us none of the misery of the young girl being shown her early grave."

I think nothing better illustrates the pernicious evil of vanity than a pretty young girl. If you actually get to know them you will find they are absolutely transfixed with their own beauty but they also live in horror knowing that it will fade in but a few years.

Laban said...

"If you actually get to know them you will find they are absolutely transfixed with their own beauty but they also live in horror knowing that it will fade in but a few years."

I like to think that only a few are like that. Many beautiful girls become beautiful women and remain attractive well into their 50s if not beyond.

I give you as an example someone who was very striking when I first heard her sing more than 30 years ago. She's aged beautifully.