WRESTLING ENTRANCE THEMES TO HELP YOU SCORE WITH SMART PEOPLE PART I:
NATURE BOY RIC FLAIR
Personal Stuff and CONTEST! Shilling
Well, my work schedule is back to normal for the time being, which means that I should have time to do at least three serious columns in a row. Judging by the feedback, nobody minded the comedy columns, so I’ll go back to those whenever the work piles up again. It takes less time and effort to to write a comedy column for some reason.
The inspiration for the next three columns comes from my IP Music colleague Jeffrey R. Fernandez, who sent in a suggestion that I do some columns on Classical Music that people might have heard without even realising it, such as the Gershwin tune used in a United Airlines commercial. That’s a great idea that I never would have come up with myself, which is why I’m running the contest in the first place. Unfortunately for Jeffrey, he doesn’t qualify for the humongous first prize, a free 90-minute mixed tape custom made by me personally for the winner personally. To enter, simply use the “Send Feedback” link below or write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what aspect of Blues, Jazz, or Classical you’d like me to cover in this column. If I like your idea at all, I’ll use it, give you credit for it, and enter you in the draw to win a custom mix tape. WHAT ARE YOU WAITNG FOR? Gosh!
Plans for The Next Few Columns
Inspired by Jeffrey’s suggestion, I’m going to take a look at (at least) three Pro Wrestling Entrance Themes over the next three weeks (or so). All three themes amply illustrate the emotional and communicative power of Classical Music, all three have a strong connection to the wrestler’s character and image, and all three are taken from genuinely important compositions.
ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA
It was Jimmy Crockett who suggested that Ric Flair use The Dawn Theme from Richard Strauss’ masterpiece as his entrance theme.
Brass: Daahhh Daaahhh DAAAHHH DAT-Daaaaahhhhh!
Kettledrums: Boom-boom Boom-boom Boom-boom Boom-boom
And out comes Flair, through the smoke, in his sequined robe, as a white light flashes behind him and the crowd goes crazy.
Flair himself, in To Be the Man wrote that the music “…projected the exact image that I wanted – classical, yet futuristic.”
The sound is unmistakeably late 19th Century big orchestra classical, and the futuristic elements are a result of both the composers intentions and the fact that director Stanley Kubrick used the same theme in his film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Fans of synchronicity may get a kick out of the fact that one of the underlying themes of both the composition and the film is… Evolution.
As Ric Flair walks that isle, his theme conveys an unmistakable sense of occasion, letting the fans know that something special is about to happen. The brass and kettledrums have a similar effect in 2001, as there is no mistaking the import of the monolith when those first thunderous trumpet blasts are sounded.
The beginning of the composition is the best-known and most interesting part of the work by far. There are eight more sections, though, and they are all worth hearing. After Dawn, the work proceeds through Of the Backworldsmen, Of the Great Longing, Of Joys and Passions, Grave-Song, Of Science, The Convalescent, The Dance-Song and the concluding Night Wanderer’s Song. The ending of the piece is almost as astonishingly great as the beginning. Twelve bell tones, each quieter than the previous, sound midnight and the music fades into silence without ever fully resolving the dissonance between its two main keys (C and B major, if you care). This leaves the central conflict between Humanity and the Divine unresolved as well.
Also Sprach Zarathustra is a Tone Poem, which means that the music is deliberately intended to represent something in particular. So, what is this piece really about? In the program notes for the work’s premier in November 1896, Strauss wrote,
“I did not intend to write philosophical music or to portray in music Nietzsche’s great work. I wished to convey by means of music an idea of the development of the human race from its origin, through the various phases of its development, religious and scientific, up to Nietzsche’s idea of the superman. The whole symphonic poem is intended as an homage to Nietzsche’s genius, which found its greatest expression in his book Thus Spake Zarathustra.”
I hope that clears everything up.
If nothing else, it should be clear that, even by 19th Century German standards, Richard Strauss was an insane egomaniac who believed that he was one of the most gifted geniuses in human history. (AND NOW… the classical-music-related wrestling joke of the week): Maybe Vince McMahon should use a Strauss Piece for his entrance music, too!
Another of Strauss’ tone poems is called Ein Heldenleben, which translates as “A Hero’s Life.” And which hero did Strauss chose to portray? Why, Richard Strauss, of course!
My favourite quote regarding Strauss comes from conductor Hans Knappertsbusch: “I knew him very well. We played cards every week for forty years. He was a pig.”
If you like the sounds of that, then maybe Strauss will become your favourite composer.
Which Version to Get
There is only one choice for this piece. Fritz Reiner, himself a despotic ego-driven genius who is well known for firing musicians for such offences as joking around, was the greatest Strauss conductor since Strauss himself. Under his baton, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was forged into one of the world’s greatest. They were recorded in 1954 by RCA’s great team of sound engineers, and the result is one of the great glories of the early stereo era. The disc is filled out with an equally masterful performance of Ein Heldenleben. It’s the Ric Flair of Strauss recordings.
Reiner: Whether you like it, or don’t like it, you better learn to love it, because it’s the best thing going today! Wooo!
Jeffrey’s Column is even more fun that usual this week as he lists some of the most insane stories from the past year in music.
Aaron shows why he is first both alphabetically (after Aardvark)and in our collective hearts (after Gloomchen).
Mathan downloads rare instumentals!
Gloomy is inked! A surprising number of the writers on this site are inked. I myself have a tatoo and some piercings. Want to see Gloomchen’s tat? It’s just two clicked links away.
Botter thinks Nirvana suck.