A New Cultural Platform for
the Post-Obama Era
by Dennis Speed
[Print version of this article]
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
—St. Paul, Ephesians 6:12
Dec. 20—The 700-plus people that gathered at St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral on Dec. 17, 2016 for the “Holiday Unity Concert” sponsored by the “Foundation for the Revival of Classical Culture,” responded both to the idea and the execution of this latest in a series of “experiments with truth” being conducted in the context of the evolution of Lyndon LaRouche’s Manhattan Project. Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the founder and head of the Schiller Institute, in a presentation made the afternoon prior to the evening musical performance by the Schiller Institute New York Community Chorus and the New England Symphonic Ensemble, stressed the strategic and moral necessity of such events: “I think we have to introduce a completely different level of thinking into the political process, which is why the performance of the Messiah and a long series of other concerts is so important.”
A new cultural platform, capable of advancing and sustaining the highest conceptions of man and nature, must immediately be built as the underpinning for a new form of intellectual practice in the American republic. This is not something that the incoming Trump administration, nor, certainly, the outgoing Obama non-administration could provide. This very quality, however, of intellectual insight, as practiced, for example, by Albert Einstein, is the only sure road to durable survival past the immediate threat of thermonuclear war.
Now that, even for the gullible, it has become clear with the completion of the Electoral College vote that Donald Trump is indeed the President-Elect of the United States, for a moment it might be worthwhile for all involved to consider how America could have sunk to such a low intellectual level, as to be convinced for even a moment of the truthfulness of any of the assertions made by Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, or his British masters, on any issues of any importance. To understand how our nation, and many of our people, have sunk to such an intellectual nadir, a little history—a shock to the soul—is required.
It is little appreciated that almost every writer, painter, playwright, and poet in the United States in the post-World War Two period, from 1947 until the mid-1960s, was financed, sometimes unknowingly, by a British Intelligence and “CIA” outfit called the “Congress for Cultural Freedom” (CCF). Classical culture, particularly as that was or might be associated with Germany, was to be replaced with “home-grown, authentic, democratic American popular culture,” much of it created by intelligence agencies or their employees like Jackson Pollock, Sidney Hook, or media-promoted pseudo-persons like Timothy Leary of 1960s LSD fame. The children of persons involved with, or employed by, the intelligence services of the U.S. Army and Navy, including persons employed at facilities like Fort Detrick, were used as guinea pigs in LSD experiments in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, as has been documented in various locations.
From its first intervention at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in 1949, at a time when Bertrand Russell and others were actively considering dropping nuclear bombs on Russia, the Congress for Cultural Freedom hovered around New York City, the intellectual capital of the United States. The McCarthyism of the 1950s drove the sons and daughters both of those persecuted, and of those intimidated by the persecution, into the ranks of what would somewhat later be given the name of the “counter-culture,” later to be known as the “rock-drug-sex counterculture.” The forms of so-called musical practice and tastes which are said to predominate in present-day America, are largely a product of those earlier actions by the CCF.
Educating One’s Emotions
Helga Zepp-LaRouche clinically diagnosed this pathology, but from the higher standpoint of a solution-concept:
We have discussed this many times, but let me say it again. Why is Classical art and Classical music in particular so absolutely crucial if mankind is going to get out of this crisis? The problem is—and I think that most of you agree with me—that for many years, more than fifty years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the cover-up of his murder, the paradigm of the Western world and especially the United States has really led to an incredible brutalization of the population. Many people are still not happy about the future. . . .
Now, how do people get out of this? How do we get people to be their more noble selves? How do you get people to be more elevated than just saying, ‘Let’s hope Trump will stick it to them’? [Or, it must be added, to be more rational than the emotionally unstable supporters of Obama puppet and subordinate, Hillary Clinton?] Because there is still an emotion of anger and frustration. The problem is, we have discussed in these meetings many times that the oligarchy rules over society by reducing people to beings of just feelings, emotions; and they are very good at manipulating these emotions. That people are angry; that people are depressed; that people have rage; that people have joy in decadent pleasures. All these [feelings] are tools of the oligarchy. When man is on that level, he is not truly human. . . .
Now what great Classical art does, is it shows a way that people can first of all learn to understand real principles; those principles which are behind the sensuous appearance. And they can learn how to become truly free.
To achieve this, a new process of organizing is therefore taking shape in New York City, in the LaRouche “Manhattan Project,” in this phase to be largely guided by the insights of Helga Zepp-LaRouche into the work of the great German “Poet of Freedom,” Friedrich Schiller. Instead of merely political program, policy, and tactics, this new movement starts from the standpoint of improving the character of the American people, to qualify them to each become both patriots of their nations, and world-citizens at the same time. This was the original purpose of education, as conceived by Wilhelm von Humboldt and other German thinkers. It used to be the standard for education in the United States, until the late 19th Century. It is now being reintroduced into currency in America through the “choral process,” also termed “the Manhattan Project.”
The working relationship between freedom, education, and art is the domain of the new cultural platform that must be established, starting in New York City, where the Presidential transition is presently occurring, and where the “dialogue of world civilizations” on matters of this type is most capable of taking place at this time on the planet as a whole. Wilhelm von Humboldt, the founder of Humboldt University in Berlin, a central figure in the philosophy of education and one of Schiller’s closest associates, points out that, “Whatever does not spring from a man’s free choice, or is only the result of instruction and guidance, does not enter into his very being, but still remains alien to his true nature; he does not perform it with truly human energies, but merely with mechanical exactness.”
Helga Zepp-LaRouche admonished her audience that it would be the unique task of those associated with Lyndon LaRouche and his method of discovery, to provide the means for the United States to successfully adapt a new cultural platform that would enable America to enter into principled alliance with China, Russia, India, and other nations, in pursuit of the goal of “making America great again.” Alexander Hamilton’s example, of fighting for freedom as a revolutionary, through his economics, and his dedication to preserving and extending that freedom to all Americans, enslaved and free, and to their posterity, is what is being studied by Schiller Institute members in the form of Lyndon LaRouche’s “Four Laws” each week.
Ennobling the Culture
The 750-plus person audience at the St. Joseph’s concert in Brooklyn, New York was brought there by unusual means. No “advertising” was done for the event by radio, newspaper, or even email. All word of the concert was spread through the church and by volunteer organizers.
The Schiller Institute/Guy Alberghini
Several people, when asked how they knew about the concert, replied “it was everywhere”! Several small businesses displayed posters, some institutions took additional leaflets, and other events were leafleted prior to the concert itself. One woman, the owner of an Italian restaurant, told organizers of how she had watched the church, which has been recently renovated, go from being in a dilapidated condition to a thing of real beauty. She became particularly enthusiastic upon learning that a chorus existed in Brooklyn, and that she could join it. Musicians were discovered in dentists’ offices and other establishments—people who had a love for music, but who due to circumstances were unable to pursue music as a career.
Monsignor Harrington, in his welcome to the participants in the concert, commented that the present, so-called popular culture, focuses on debasing people rather than ennobling them. He referenced that the idea of the Schiller Institute was precisely the opposite. The concert itself demonstrated the truthfulness of his statement.
Lynn Yen, founder of the sponsoring Foundation for the Revival of Classical Culture, spoke following Monsignor Harrington. In her remarks, she said, “In a far more divided America than we today inhabit, Abraham Lincoln concluded his First Inaugural Address of 1861 with a musical idea of a new national harmony: ’The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.’ We of the Foundation for the Revival of Classical Culture intend to create that chorus of unity right here in Brooklyn. The chorus will not be partisan. The sopranos will not just sing out on their own behalf, and drown out the altos. The basses will not protest against the tenors. The chorus will not pit one group of people against another. The chorus will not appeal to an electoral college to select its conductor. The chorus will not put up walls. The chorus will not shout, it will not scream. The chorus will sing. The chorus will deliver a message of Beauty and Truth, through singing.”
A Scientifically Literate Population
While there were many moments of profound and deep reflection during the evening, the alto/soprano duet, “And He Shall Feed His Flock,” from Handel’s Messiah, sung by Patrice Eaton and Theresa Cincione, was an unheimlich moment in the concert, in which singers, orchestra, and audience were momentarily as one. Conductor John Sigerson’s approach to the piece’s musical direction made this moment possible. The extent of his study of and control over the performance of the music was particularly seen in a recitative for tenor from Bach’s Cantata #140, Wachet Auf. Because the designated tenor soloist was not available, Sigerson was required to turn to the audience and sing the part himself, much to the surprise, delight, and satisfaction of all present.
The Schiller Institute/Guy Alberghini
The two choral settings of African-American spirituals were conducted by Diane Sare, the founder of the Schiller Institute New York Community Chorus. These spirituals—“Behold the Star” (with soloists Scott Mooney, tenor, and Michelle Fuchs, soprano), and “Sister Mary Had-a But One Child” (with Christopher Sare, tenor, and Costas Tsourakis, bass-baritone)—were virtually unknown to the audience, although the songs themselves may have been familiar. Arranged by William Dawson, one of the foremost living authorities on the African-American spiritual, “Behold A Star,” the first selection introducing the concert, riveted the attention of the audience. That attention, essentially, never wavered from the concert’s beginning. The soloists—Ziwen Xiang, tenor, Jay Baylon, bass-baritone, Theresa Cincione, and Patrice Eaton—were greeted with enthusiastic applause after each of their various arias, particularly in the Messiah.
Each of the upcoming concert programs and other cultural events now being contemplated by the churches of Brooklyn, the Foundation for the Revival of Classical Culture, and the Schiller Institute, is to be embedded within a successive overall program, forming a single process.
This process consists of the organizing of a 1,500-person citywide chorus, composed primarily of non-professional singers who will become trained in Bel Canto singing methods at the proper tuning of middle C equal to 256 vibrations per second (C=256). (This tuning is often referred to as the “Verdi pitch,” because of that composer’s fierce advocacy of A=432 as a standard for proper vocal performance.) This will include a chorus devoted completely to performing African-American spirituals as a specialty (though not exclusively), as well as a dedicated youth chorus, in addition to the now regularly-performing adult chorus. Elements of this program presently exist in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. The purpose is to establish a scientifically literate population once again in the United States. That scientific literacy, however, must begin from Albert Einstein’s standpoint—and that means, from the standpoint of a deep appreciation and practice of classical musical performance, appreciation, and even composition. Einstein’s love for Mozart, and his deep commitment to music as a classical mode of thinking, underscored everything that he accomplished in science.
The Presidential transition must be accompanied by our population’s own transition from post-9/11 Bush/Obama subjects, British-style, to a once again thinking citizenry, American-style. Classical music’s revival as the primary means of a new public discourse with the world—as that world is present in the very population of New York City—is the “cultural geodesic” by means of which we may yet be permitted to bring about the greatest uplift in the history of humanity, despite the damage done by the CCF’s British-originated “rock-drug-sex counter culture.”