Sadomasochism in music: military, popular, classical and opera
The problem with offering a list of music which portrays sexual sadomasochism is what to leave out, not what to include. Any list has to be an indication of personal experience and tastes: being either complete or definitive will fail. The same could be said for attempting to list sadomasochism in the movies.
SM in military music
Military music needs to be understood in the context of the training, kit preparation
and inspections prior to the parade ground.
Military music is an expression of the togetherness, the cohesion plus maybe pomp and pride of the military unit, another reading is a release of emotions through music and, most relevant to sadomasochism, a summation of military discipline.
Concert performances of military music usually convey a greater musical range than parade ground performances intended to mark time.
Listen to almost any military parade music - or watch Trooping the Colour - and think of the kit preparation, the drilling and the rehearsing and you begin to have a sense of the pain and suffering underlying the parade ground pomp but also the joy of working as a group and the personal pride. I can't pick just one march which summarises this but in the more sophisticated language of the Emperor Waltz, Johann Strauss illustrates both the military discipline and the swagger, particularly clear in Karajan's readings.
SM in popular and classical music
Clear gay (or male alone) sexual themes are comparatively common, if notorious
and not often played on the BBC: Relax - Franke Goes to Hollywood;
My Little Ukelele - George Formby; Sexomatic - The
BarKays; Tainted Love - Marc Almond; He Whipped My Ass
In Tennis (Then I Fucked His Ass In Bed) and almost every other track by
Pansy Division; So many men, so little time - Miquel Brown;
Rough Stuff - Adam Ant
Ambiguity is a fudge... who is kidding who? Submission - Sex Pistols, superficially about a submarine mission or is that muff diving? I Want Your Sex - George Michael
Could have an SM meaning if you imagine hard
SM in opera
Limiting the list to SM in opera helps... (despite substantial anecdotal evidence there is currently no genetic proof that a liking for opera is linked to a taste for sadomasochism). Note that in most operas sexual sadomasochism is an undercurrent, a contributory theme to the general ambience of the piece. I've tried to list the just the prominent example from each composer (in my view).
Listing deaths by fire on stage shows this to be a surpassingly frequent cause of death in opera!
A completely different topic:
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