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ft Political Notes

Workmen's Compensation I

;The Witchery of Casey


The Witchery of Casey THE MAGIC MUSIC OF THE PEOPLE. BIG CROWD AT MERTHYR GATHERING. There is no name more highly esteemed in the Socialist movement than that of Casey. He and his charming and accomplished accompanist, Dolly, have a little niche all to themselves, in front of which many of us who have lost the habit of theological genuflection in comprehend- ing the true spirit of religion as embraced in Socialism, have become as habitually prone to do homage as we did before the old idea of the Mater Dolorosa, or the equally pagan, but lofty ideas that occupy the same" position in the various creeds of our land. I personally find it hard to escape becoming a blind worshipper at the feet of the master interpreters of the great music masters, I am so constituted that while I may regard Mahomet and Buddha and Christ as mere focussing points of religious experience, I as easily fall under the sway of a sweet and true interpretation of music as Carlyle did of his great men in his Heroes and Hero Wor- ship." In each of us I believe there is a little trait in the light of which the irrational of the past is rationalised. The savage who worshipped the monolith would be inexplicable to me were it not that the chords of my soul respond so easily to music. It is in the light of that response that I know that the savage in his barbaric way but sought to express in the monolith his veneration for the whole mighty mechanism of the universe of which it was a rugged part. It is the na- tural in music that I revere, and it is because Oasey so feelingly interprets the natural in music that I at times come near to worshipping him. Fortunately Oasey is much too human, too much one of us. to allow us to erect a new God in his image. One cannot worship with the depths of adoration that worship implies a god that has the vein of humour conspicuously developed, or kneel too long before a Deity that will rate you in blunt English for your sins of omission and commission as Casey will and does. MYSTICISM OF MUSIC. Of course, there is a lot of mysticism i. n I music, and much of the mystic in every musician, and Casey has that mystical side of him that opens his inner eye to the beauty and message oi music and that in turn eilables him to re- translate the crochets and quavers of a score into the burning notes so full of enlightenment to us. But he is not all mystic, and he does not suffer from the illusion that the world will be perfect only and when the whole of the peo- ple can perform the Kreutzher Sonata, he knows that the economic understrata of life is the physi-1 cal oasis upon which the whole of the superstruc-1 ture rests; and that that superstructure was finer and nobler, though perhaps less ornate, when the economic grind was less severe thn it is to-day. Consequently he allies to his music a keen criticism of the modern economic slavery I of the workers, and an equally stirring appeal j for Socialism. And his music takes on an im- portant role in this propaganda, for he shows us how music has grown with the people and has sprung from them. His folksongs and dances are the natural expressions of peoples with lei-I sure and opportunity to express themselves sweetly and naturally. His dances, lullabys, la-ments and marches are more truly the his- tory of the common people than are the monk- ish manuscripts or the pipe rolls, and as his bow slowly but grandly sweeps along the ages one traces the evolution of the art, until it is seized upon by the geniuses of music—mostly rebels and Socialists-and lifted into a very heaven of harmony. Music as Casey expounds it is the outpouring of the people, it is the natural vehicle to which human nature instinc- tively turns whether to express the joy of life, or the sorrows that death brings in its train, when that human nature is not harassed and crowded like sheep on a town mainstreet, in the grinding ignomy of a "get-neh-quick sys- tem of society. IWHEN CASEY PLAYS. I When Casey plays one knows that human na- ture beneath its cruel economic ossifications, is at heart a warm, noble thing, and one realises afresh that the shackles have but to be struck off, for the old time nobility to find itself ex- pressed in grander strains than ever before. As t said last week in treating of Soermus, when these master musicians play we know that Utopia is po dream. It is this sordid horror that we call life and civilisation that is the nightmare, the Utopia that looks so fragrant through the poisoned mist of the present is really the natural development of those days that gave us the music that Casey unearths from the past, and revivifies under the precious touch of his magic music. "Dolly," too, is a great musician, and I am glad that their last visit the great audience gave her such a heartv vote of thanks. A.P.Y.

Labour War Aims I

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IEx-Merthyr Worker I