Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Attitudes toward the Feminine through the Prism of Fairy Tales and Music
Here is a musical romp through various fairy tale themes I have explored in the past months.
First, the changing of the seasons: This is a dominant subject at the end of November when blustery and stormy weather arrives heralding a darker season. As nature itself seems to be slipping into unpredictability, danger and even sadness seem everywhere . German fairy tales (and in particular saga) reflect this unsteady time, but stress that the seed of all future happiness is most often sown when times are the bleakest. Accepting life’s difficult changes is likened to the acceptance of seasonal transformations, and at the absolute heart of the fairy tale.
Here is a most beautiful and poignant song that takes up these notions, sung by Judy Collins and Pete Seeger.
It is the shape-shifting female who often provides the key to life’s troubles. Read here about the significance of Ember Days (marking the changing of the seasons) and the Chatelaine of the castle.
The beginning of December is an especially spooky time in fairytale land. Weather and storm are dominant themes and likewise those goddesses and spirits residing within the storm cloud or tempest are important at this time. On this website, read about Frouwa, Queen of the Valkyrie. These feminine virtues prized and promoted in many a fairy tale are readily apparent in the following two video clips:
Kirsten Flagstad singing Valkyrie with introduction by Bob Hope.
This staged performance by Diva Flagstad is only a small part of the opera. In the following clip, the Valkyries are engaged in performing another important function: collecting the bodies of dead soldiers. This clip has it all: bad weather, strong women and inklings that from lost lives future life emerges.
And finally, toward the end of the season we will once more reach a place of calm and hope, where feminine beauty is expressed in its most idealized state, absolute love and acceptance, here most fittingly rendered in the German folksong Maria Durch Ein Dornwald Ging:
Which is best read alongside The Singing Fir Tree
Happy December to you all!