Monday, January 25, 2010

PA Arts Monday - War Dirge from Hindu Kush

I finished the first draft of War Dirge this morning. It is the third movement of my new orchestral composition, Hindu Kush. The second movement, Women's Ghazal, is posted here.

Here's a link to the MIDI version of War Dirge.

I was going to write about the specific awfulness of the Predator and Reaper drones that we are currently using in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and - reportedly - in other countries. They are a kind of automation of the war process that frightens me. Instead, I wrote a more general lament on the overall unstoppability of the war process that the drones are a part of.

War Dirge is a passacaglia. A theme in the bass line is repeated seven times, with some alteration, as it passes from the lowest voices into the tenor and alto lines, then back down. Each iteration of the bass theme attempts to portray a new mood.

Judy said it isn't as awful as the war is, but that it works. I hope so. We won't find out until May 14th, when it gets played by real, live people.


ZIP NOLAN said...

"I was going to write about the specific awfulness of the Predator and Reaper drones"

How is it "awful" that we can now target individuals rather than destroying entire towns to get them ?
How is it "awful" that US soldiers no longer have to risk their lives in order to kill terrorists ?
It just seems that y'all think it's "awful" that America dares to defend itself in the first place.

Philip Munger said...


Bullshit. If I've ever heard better bullshit, I can't remember when.

anon. said...

much as you may not like it, phil,

zip advanced a credible conceptual question,

you only appear quite childish in light of your response.

less, (or better yet, none), of that kind of immaturity would serve you a whole lot better.

Philip Munger said...


the devices ZIP claims work don't.

ZIP NOLAN said...

"the devices ZIP claims work don't."

So, are you trying to say that the missles don't explode ? What exactly do you mean by "don't work" and based on what evidence ? Statements from the Taliban or other jihadists don't count, by the way.

And what would a better alternative be ? Exposing US troops to ambushes and booby-trap bombs ?

ZIP NOLAN said...

In hindsight it seems that every single tactic used against the terrorists has been condemned by the anti-American Left. And the Left's reasoning is always..."by doing this you only create more terrorists."

So, if we kill terrorists on the battlefield..."we only create more terrorists"
If we target their leaders ...."we only create more terrorists"
If we condemn their religious inspiration...."we only create more terrorists"
If we treat Islam like any other religion...."we only create more terrorists"
If we don't read them their Miranda rights within one hour of capturing them..."we only create more terrorists"
If we use interrogation techniques they don't like ...."we only create more terrorists"
If we profile them ....."we only create more terrorists"
If we try and disrupt their money supply..."we only create more terrorists"

Why does it seem that the American Left will only be happy when this nation runs up the white flag of surrender to the Jihadists.

Sonny said...

I think that Phil has a good point but he is caught up in the passion and not expressing himself very well. A drone, or any other mode of attack, that accidentally kills members of a wedding party, including elders, women and children, does not work, does not accomplish the mission but only serves to harden resistance. We can fight smart and be just as aggressive, just as effective. We had the high ground after 9-11 but we descended into the depths and did not fight back smart. We will be paying the price for this stupidity for a long time. How sad, foolish and unnecessary.

anon. said...

phil falls far short of addressing the question put to him.

zip then regresses himself, and falls back into a foolish and utterly false and nonsensical litany of idiotic suppositions. Unfounded I might add.

and sonny makes the all too common error of advancing his own false supposition, that we ever once held some undefined higher ground.

As is usual, reactionary and counter-productive blathering will slip down the page to be replaced by the next reactionary and counter-productive echoing of the noise which has replaced any chance at signal.

anon. said...

blog becomes pacifier substitute.

Margan said...

Oh Phil! You were right! the horn parts sound cool on War Dirge. not always brooding, but sometimes marching, almost inevitable. and the use of silence... very nice. I need to listen to Ghazal now. This is going to be a really excellent concert!

anon. said...

getting the horn part right, doesn't justify getting the comment part here wrong.

and the use of silence here only confirms it.

Philip Munger said...



Are you incapable of real dialogue?