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Damon1212

Atlas Shrugged - Richard Halley?

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I'm reading Atlas Shrugged for the third time, and have a question that has always been curious to me since I am a musician.

Was the character of Richard Halley based on a real person? The only evidence I have found so far one way or another was a refutation of the assertation that Richard Haley was based on Aaron Copeland.

I think it is particularly interesting when I think of the interesting life of Dmitri Shostakovitch, and how he wrote "subversive" music in the soviet union while at the same time giving the impression that he was composing "for" the state.

I doubt if Shostakovitch would have been the inspiration, but nonetheless I guess I am also wondering what Ayn Rand's thoughts were about Shostakovitch.

Wow, I guess that's two questions huh?

P.S. I'm new to the forum. Looking forward to learning with you all!

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Welcome to the forum, Damon1212.

Was the character of Richard Halley based on a real person?

Probably not, otherwise it would be widely known from the publication of her journals.

This is probably a good question for Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand's long time friend and intellectual heir.

I think it is particularly interesting when I think of the interesting life of Dmitri Shostakovitch, and how he wrote "subversive" music in the soviet union while at the same time giving the impression that he was composing "for" the state.

I doubt if Shostakovitch would have been the inspiration, but nonetheless I guess I am also wondering what Ayn Rand's thoughts were about Shostakovitch.

To my knowledge she never wrote about Shostakovich.

I'm aware of the subversive undercurrents in his music. He's one of my favorite composers, but there's only a portion of his music I like, such as his piano concertos, a couple of symphonies, and "Festive Overture".

... since I am a musician.

Nice. There are a few musicians that are regulars here. What do you play?

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Here's from Facets of Ayn Rand, from The Ayn Rand Institute Website:

CHARLES

She loved, more than any other music, what she called her “tiddlywink” music—those lighthearted, irresistib­ly gay melodies, many from the pre-World War I period. She loved operetta, too, especial­ly Emmerich Kálmán and Franz Lehar. She had a record­ing of some­thing we all called “the laugh­ing song,”4 which we never tired of hear­ing. The singers start to laugh as they are sing­ing; their laughter is so contagious that long before the song is over every­one is laugh­ing along with them. In classical music, she preferred Rachmaninoff, especial­ly his Second Piano Concerto. And Chopin. She loved his “Butterfly” Etude. It has a “tiddlywink” quality. The O’Connors owned records of their favorites, and played them often.

MARY ANN

Besides the “tiddlywink” pieces, the ones I remember her play­ing most often and comment­ing on are:

The love music from Moussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. It is majestic, solemn, exalted, triumphant. It was her choice of music for Halley’s theme.5

The March from The Love for Three Oranges by Prokoviev. When it was be­ing played, she would sw­ing an arm in time to the music, as if she were conduct­ing.

Simple Confession [aka Simple Aveu] by François Thomé. She said that when she finished Atlas, it was what she wanted to hear. It expressed her inner state of complete serenity.

CHARLES

And we shouldn’t leave out “Lensky’s theme” from Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky. She loved that, too.

------------------------------------

The Chapter from the book at The Ayn Rand Institute

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I studied and played Viola seriously, and now I just dabble in songwriting and guitar playing.

My favorite Shostakovitch is also his Festive Overture! (which could be the only example of his music that seems truly and unashamedly "festive". I'm also a big fan of his 5th, 8th and 15th symphonies.

Oddly, I have not heard any of his piano concerti yet, though I love his Violin concerto.

I listen to L. Peikoff's podcast. I wonder if he would be accessible to this kind of question? I know he tends to prefer questions about Objectivism and not Ayn Rand directly (isn't it funny how the forum spell check does not recognize "Objectivism"?)

Damon1212

Welcome to the forum, Damon1212.

Probably not, otherwise it would be widely known from the publication of her journals.

This is probably a good question for Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand's long time friend and intellectual heir.

To my knowledge she never wrote about Shostakovich.

I'm aware of the subversive undercurrents in his music. He's one of my favorite composers, but there's only a portion of his music I like, such as his piano concertos, a couple of symphonies, and "Festive Overture".

Nice. There are a few musicians that are regulars here. What do you play?

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Americonorman, what a great reply! Some of that I am very familiar with. Since Halley is described as a "melodist" when melodies were out of fashion, I had to believe that Rachmaninoff would be a musical inspiration. It seems odd that she would never have mentioned Shostakovitch considering his enormous talent combined with his political struggles/ It sounds like Rand was more of a casual music listener (not that there's anything WRONG with that . . . I like "tiddlywink" usic as much as the next guy. I also read a lot of "airplane" novels in addition to real literature like AS).

I will DEFINITELY have to give Boris Gudonov another listen.

:)

Damon1212

Here's from Facets of Ayn Rand, from The Ayn Rand Institute Website:

CHARLES

She loved, more than any other music, what she called her “tiddlywink” music—those lighthearted, irresistib­ly gay melodies, many from the pre-World War I period. She loved operetta, too, especial­ly Emmerich Kálmán and Franz Lehar. She had a record­ing of some­thing we all called “the laugh­ing song,”4 which we never tired of hear­ing. The singers start to laugh as they are sing­ing; their laughter is so contagious that long before the song is over every­one is laugh­ing along with them. In classical music, she preferred Rachmaninoff, especial­ly his Second Piano Concerto. And Chopin. She loved his “Butterfly” Etude. It has a “tiddlywink” quality. The O’Connors owned records of their favorites, and played them often.

MARY ANN

Besides the “tiddlywink” pieces, the ones I remember her play­ing most often and comment­ing on are:

The love music from Moussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. It is majestic, solemn, exalted, triumphant. It was her choice of music for Halley’s theme.5

The March from The Love for Three Oranges by Prokoviev. When it was be­ing played, she would sw­ing an arm in time to the music, as if she were conduct­ing.

Simple Confession [aka Simple Aveu] by François Thomé. She said that when she finished Atlas, it was what she wanted to hear. It expressed her inner state of complete serenity.

CHARLES

And we shouldn’t leave out “Lensky’s theme” from Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky. She loved that, too.

------------------------------------

The Chapter from the book at The Ayn Rand Institute

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I am going to hijack your thread momentarily ;)

This discussion of Richard Halley's possible relation to real persons has reminded me of a similar question:

Did Ayn Rand purposely name John Galt after the Scottish novelist of the same name?

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