Music of a Foolish Fairy

Robin Goodfellow

Theme: Love is a silly thing, and whoever pursues it is a fool.

Robin Goodfellow (also known as Puck) expresses his opinion that people who are guided by their hearts and not their mind are complete and utter fools. In Act 3, Scene 2, Line 110 of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Puck says this quite clearly, in his usual carefree, indifferent, and rambunctious manner:

"Captain of our fairy band,

Helena is here at hand,

And the youth, mistook by me,

Pleading for a lover's fee.

Shall we their fond pageant see?

Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

He frequently tricks people, and prefers to laugh and plot pranks than to pay any attention to romance. He thinks people who love each other can't see any sense, and throughout the play he messes them up. He enjoys mayhem, especially when it involves lovers being separated and confused. (Actually, from Robin's point of view if they are lovers, they are already confused, so what does it matter if he confuses the a bit more?)

The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi

Four Seasons ~ Vivaldi
The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi shows Puck's unpredictable, energetic nature. In particular, I think he would like Spring and Winter. I chose it partly because of the title, too, because I view Puck as a very unpredictable character, connected with nature and "The Four Seasons" really seems to capture his personality. I think Puck would listen to this (when this would go with his mood) is when he is putting the juice from the flower in Titania and Lysander's eyes, and when he is confusing Demetrius and Lysander at the end of the play, leading them away from each other to stop their duel and tire them out. This music goes with my theme because it emphasizes Robin's impulsive nature, and how he is quick to laugh and prefers excitement over sappy love dramas.

Symphony No.6, “Pastoral” by Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven: Symphony No.6, "Pastorale"; Jarvi, DKB
Symphony No.6 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven brings out Robin's more curious and adventurous side. He would probably be feeling this way in act 2, scene 1, when he is telling about all the things he does and how he delights in new schemes and plans. I think that the fact that it is played by a lot of different instruments goes well with Puck and his personality, because he is a very diverse character and he plays lots of different pranks. I imagine him as not doing the same trick more than once or twice on someone. This relates to my theme because it emphasizes Robin's desire for knowledge, freedom, and chaos. In Robin Goodfellow's perfect world, I think all music would fall at least partly into one of the following categories: Chaotic, diverse, energetic, and ominous/mysterious.

Uranus from The Planets by Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst - Uranus
Uranus from The Planets by Gustav Holst, in my opinion, is a slightly ominous piece. This suits Puck very well when he is in one of his mysterious, mischievous and trouble-making moods. While he can be energetic and exciting, he can also be more serious, mysterious, and peaceful. I think there is some of that in him, even if it is not always present. At the very end of the play, he says, "If we shadows have offended, think but this and all is mended... Love, therefore, and tongue-tied simplicity In least speak most, to my capacity." He is serious in this passage, and manages to hold together at least a small bit of innocence. Here, I think he is tolerating the fact that love is present, though he doesn't like it, and inside he may be conflicted but on the outside he stays somber.

The Typewriter by Leroy Anderson

The Typewriter Leroy Anderson Martin Breinschmid with Strauß Festival Orchestra Vienna
The Typewriter is a funny piece of music that goes well with Puck's excited and bouncy nature. Puck also tends to do unpredictable things that nobody else really thinks about (such as using a typewriter for percussion, or giving a craftsman a donkey's head). Puck might listen to this when he was excited about something, or anticipating something. I imagine him plotting schemes, looking forward to making fun of someone. With a mischievous grin. Don't forget the mischievous grin. In the play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Puck often talks to Oberon, and he says that he will be off to do whatever Oberon wished very quickly, always finding elaborate ways to say that he is very speedy. In this piece of music, the typewriter kind of represents Oberon in my view, and the little bell is Robin Goodfellow.

Symphony No.9 "Ode to Joy" by Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 in D minor: Ode To Joy
This piece of music is kind of self-explanatory because of the title, but it is definitely expressing feelings of happiness and carelessness. Puck, of course, does not exactly spread around feelings of happiness, tranquility, and joy. He promotes aggravation and annoyance, and when others and feeling down, Puck feels uplifted. He derives his happiness from suffering. He likes situations that "befall preposterously." Love befalls preposterously but the people caught up in it may not think so. They are so serious about it sometimes that it is funny. For Robin Goodfellow, love is only preposterous for him, and love's hapless victims don't think it's chaotic, therefore Robin finds no joy in watching lovers, because they are not unhappy.

Symphony No.5 by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

C.P.E. Bach - Symphony No. 5 in b-minor for Strings and Basso continuo, WQ 182
This piece of music gives off an excited feeling, which is why I chose it. It is really fast, with loud parts and soft parts, and it has a catchy melody at the beginning. I thing Puck would like the quick descending parts and the unexpected loud phrases in particular. Honestly, I think this kind of fits Puck's mood throughout a lot of the play, because it is his natural personality. The majestic but playful tome of the piece also relates to Puck, because he is serving a king but he himself would rather play.

Symphony No.94 "Surprise," by Franz Joseph Haydn (Second Movement)

Haydn : Symphony No. 94, 'Surprise', 2nd movement
Robin Goodfellow lives for surprises, so it's no surprise that I chose this piece. Obviously, he would like the beginning of the second movement best, because that is the part with the "surprise." I think this piece of music best suits Puck when he is putting the juice of the love flower on the eyes of Titania, because she is in for a big surprise when she wakes up, and Lysander, because everyone is in for a big surprise when they find out that Robin Goodfellow mistook Lysander for Demetrius. Nothing really surprises Puck, be he loves startling other people. I think this is a reason he dislikes love: love is surprising no matter what, and one cannot predict it.

Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille Saint-Saëns - Danse Macabre
In my view, this piece of music represents Robin's relationship with the rest of the fairies. The fairies may share his views about love, but there is no concrete evidence of this in the play, so I think Puck would mostly just be lively around them, maybe dancing, singing, playing, or other jovial, energetic activities. Also, the swiftly-flowing, sharp melody with solo violin really captures my idea of fairies. The fast tempo especially relates to Puck, because he in very energetic and likes to make jokes. When he is talking to a fairy in the beginning of Act 2, Scene 1, he might listen to this piece of music.