“Novette No. 1 in D Flat Major - 2. Mov.” by Moondog
I want to introduce you to Louis Hardin, AKA Moondog, but I don’t want to distract you with a bunch of irrelevant (though interesting) stories about his career as an eccentric street performer, the Viking of 6th Avenue. Louis Hardin was a strange man but it would be wrong to dismiss him as a freak. His work deserves a more dignified introduction.
Anthony Burgess, the novelist and composer, once wrote that music is the “purest” art because it’s so far divorced from meaning and reality. Poems and stories and even paintings are expected to depict something, some human experience or prosaic truth. Music is the exception. It’s just beautiful sounds. It depicts nothing, or at least nothing you can point to or express in words. It exists solely as an aesthetic experience. It’s pure emotion, pressed in wax.
I don’t know how to argue that Moondog was more than just an eccentric footnote in music history—that he was, in fact, a genius. I don’t know what I can say to prove that, so I’ll just play this record. This song you’re listening to is, to me, one of the most emotionally gripping things I’ve ever heard—but I haven’t got the faintest idea what it’s “about” or why it should have such an effect on me.
Listen. Let this record make its case, and Moondog’s.