Daily Cardinal vol. LXXXIII No. 5, Thursday, August 31 1972
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Moondog: Street poet, composer
"If poetry is unpopular, then poets are at fault for writing fuss and feathers when they should be writing salt."
Moondog, the blind street poet and composer from New York City, will conduct some of his madrigals with a chamber orchestra at 2:25 p.m. today in Mills Concert Hall in the Humanities Bldg.
One of Moondog's symphonies, "Stampede," and other pieces written by this unusual Viking-dressed man will be performed. It will be Moondog's second Madison concert since he arrived here nearly one week ago.
The first concert, held Saturday at the Catholic Center, was a complete success. Before a crowd of nearly 200, Moondog, whose real name is Louis Hardin, read his poems from what he called "paper with measles"-braille. Within his voice there is an unforgetable gentleness and his presence pervades an entire room with a white aura. Listening to Moondog recite his poems is perhaps, like consulting the ancient Greek blind seer, Tiresias.
PIANIST DON St. Pierre played from Moondog's Art of the Canon, Book 1, a piece written in modal counterpoint following the practices of Bach.
St. Pierre, a former student of the Music School, did an exceptional job with Moondog's compositions and was given a good reception by the standing-room-only crowd. This is a fine reflection on St. Pierre's training, due to the fact that he'd seen the music only 24 hours earlier.
"I dedicated my life to composition," Moondog explains, "In 1933 after my sister read me a book about the violin. In school I was always looking out the window, chasing girls, hunting and fishing."
"I've written music enough to fill about 12 albums and I've recently completed a book of music written especially for the troubador harp, composed using the Greek modes. The instrument will be a smaller version in order to allow portability. It has 30 strings and I think it's possible that it will one day rival the guitar in popularity."
The 56 year old poet has lived in New York for 29 years, and has been writing poems - over a thousand of them - in the form of couplets, since 1956. Moondog has also written a poetic account of creation concerning the Norse legends in Heroic couplet.
Moondog has two very fine albums of his music on Columbia, and is now presently hitch-hiking around the country in order to bring his music and poetry to the people, and promote his records. As a tonal composer it has been difficult for Moondog to convince record companies that music which is both pleasing to the ear and written during this century should be recorded in this age of industrialization and atonality. It is unfortunate that music as beautiful as this should be denied the American public. Perhaps through these very personal "evenings with Moondog", the record companies will realize what a rare and precious jewel they have in this extraordinary man.