Chart: Alan Hovhaness, and The Music of Neptune

3 02 2010

On certain days in Summer or Winter, I might have sat under a tree reading on a hillside overlooking green fields and trees. The wind might have come in like a silent companion in a clear sky and made the trees sigh as they do on some quiet or still days when not just the Earth is in harmony, but the mind of it´s observer is in harmony with it. A combination of mental stimulation and nature´s simple beauty sends a shiver of sensual appreciation down the spine.

On days like those the Sun was either conjunct Neptune in the sky or forming an applying trine. I would have to concede these would have been days of Aquarius Neptune, so mental fascination and absorption in the mind would have been appropriate. Neptune in Aquarius would have been a mirror to my contentment of solitude and mental detachment while knowing that friends were still close by, if I wanted them.

This is the birthchart for Alan Hovhaness, (midday chart, 8th March 1911). His grand trine is of particular interest since it is in water, and the Sun Neptune trine is at a fairly close orb of  just under 2 degrees and applying. Hovhaness´s music is impressionistic, it does not have a desire to create rhythm or melody, but rather starts something and then meanders off on other roads.

Venus although in detriment is in mutual reception with Sun by Exaltation. So we can easily say that Venus although detriment and (alien) receives all of the benefits of Pisces, and here we have impressionism, beauty, sensitivity, softness.

It´s not really Hovhaness´s life that interests me, so much as his music. It´s a direct connection to an emotional Neptune (in Cancer). Hovhaness´s music is tidal, like oceans creeping up on you over hours upon hours of listening. And because the melodies are impressionistic and do not aspire to Baroque mental order that other composers like Mozart might do, you´re pushed and pulled continually with the tides.

Neptune is Infinity. Hovhaness captures infinity in his music writing. The Jupiter aspect of the grand trine adds a certain buoyancy, optimism, joy into it all, without which I think the music might be too sad or it would simply not go anywhere. The Saturn Sun semi-square from fixed earth grounds it all. What do I mean by that? Taurus is slow, soft and sensuous, it enjoys the pasture, enjoys staying in one place, and you get the sense in the music too.

One more thing to note about Hovhaness is the detriment Mercury in Pisces, which does not seem to receive dignity from anywhere. It is stated in his biography that he burnt between 500 and 1,000 of his compositions in the 1930´s, decisions which seem to be contrary to common sense.

Hovhaness in 1941:

I propose to create a heroic, monumental style of composition simple enough to inspire all people, completely free from fads, artificial mannerisms and false sophistications, direct, forceful, sincere, always original but never unnatural. Music must be freed from decadence and stagnation. There has been too much emphasis on small things while the great truths have been overlooked. The superficial must be dispensed with. Music must become virile to express big things. It is not my purpose to supply a few pseudo intellectual musicians and critics with more food for brilliant argumentation, but rather to inspire all mankind with new heroism and spiritual nobility. This may appear to be sentimental and impossible to some, but it must be remembered that Palestrina, Handel, and Beethoven would not consider it either sentimental or impossible. In fact, the worthiest creative art has been motivated consciously or unconsciously by the desire for the regeneration of mankind.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 38 other followers

%d bloggers like this: