This article appears in the March 15, 2019 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
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Brahms, Liszt and the
Test of Immortality
March 8—There is no greater champion of truth, beauty and the creative soul of man and woman than Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. Lyndon’s discoveries in music, drama, art, science, economics are the basis for a Renaissance today. With his passing, on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, I want to start this discussion with a statement from Lyndon himself, in the hope that his message will resonate in your mind as you make the crucial decisions to carry out his ideas and create a world in which future generations will be beautiful, immortal souls, never to be slaves to popular opinion again. That is the substance of real culture. Listen to him. This is from the conclusion of his speech to the Second International Food for Peace Conference, in Chicago, December 10, 1988:
There is no part of society, no constituency, which does not have the same interests. The people of no nation have any different interest than that of any other nation in this matter. We’re speaking of the future of hundreds of billions of unborn souls, without whose success our lives mean nothing. That is the common interest which unites each and every one of us, such that there is no distinction among any of us on this issue, on this cause, on this interest.
If we fight so, if we fight with love of humanity, by thinking especially of those hundreds of billions of souls waiting to be born, and thinking also of those whose martyrdom and other sacrifice gave us what was our potential and our debt to them, respecting what we pass on to the future. And we think of our lives not as something lived from moment to moment, but as a very small piece of experience, with a beginning, and not too much later, an end. And think of our lives not as things which are lived for pleasure in and of themselves, but as an opportunity to fulfill a purpose, a purpose which is reflected in what we bequeath to those hundreds of billions of souls waiting to be born, in their condition.
Such that, if we at any point were to cut short our mortal life by spending it in a way, which ensured the cause of those hundreds of billions of souls yet to be born, we could walk to death with joy, because we had completed our life, fulfilled it. We might have been denied the chance of fulfilling it a little bit more, but nonetheless, we had fulfilled it.
The joy of life, the true joy of life which relates to what the New Testament calls agápē in the original Greek, caritas in the Latin, and charity in the King James version, as referred to in I Corinthians 13, the quality of agápē, the quality of charity, the quality of sacred love, which unites us as individuals with the hundreds of billions of unborn souls, for whose love we can give our lives, and we can walk smiling with joy, knowing that in a sense, they love us, too, even though they’re yet to be born It gives a sense of the true importance of our lives, the true joy of being a living human being.
And we must work with one another in the sense of that attitude toward humanity, historical humanity, humanity which, as a great family, which owes to its past generations, and the present owes to its future generations. The love uniting that family, is in the matter of works, the practical expression of faith, from which faith, the strength to fight and win this war derives.
If we can do so, I am certain we shall win. I’m better than most at understanding the laws of nature and natural law generally, and understanding such recondite concepts as absolute time and things of that sort. And I can understand perhaps more readily than most, how faith expressed in this way, in a practical way, is assured of success. We are each little, we are each individual. But if we know we’re united, we’re united to this effect, then we know that what each of us as an individual does, in this united way, will be cause to prosper.
Thus, in this terrible moment of humanity, when civilization as we’ve known it for hundreds of years threatens to be removed from us, in the coming two to ten years or so, we have the risk of losing civilization. But we also have the possibility of a heroic solution to this crisis, of becoming generations, which, in our time, faced with the cup of Gethsemane, accepted it, and thus, perpetuated, in the imitation of Christ, the cause of the salvation of future souls.
Is not the mission of a nation, but to develop beautiful souls, whose lives are about creating a future in which mankind can continuously develop new, and higher, scientific and cultural progress for our immortal species? If this is true, then why do we accept today an entertainment society of violence, irrationality, drugs? Or, why do we accept the debasement of Classical Culture into the category of “entertainment”?
The question is how did we get to this state? How did sensual entertainment come to replace Classical Culture? Did it start when you were born, or has this been a longer battle which goes back many centuries, and is related to the question of the formation of sovereign nation states, and how you, yourself, think?—the very axioms that govern your mind and emotions!
It is sometimes useful to step out of your immediate surroundings, and look over your shoulder, to the battles that occurred before you were born. Go back to the period of 1830-1870. In 1830 the United States had just lost a great President, John Quincy Adams; he was not re-elected. He was replaced by the treasonous Andrew Jackson, who allied himself with the policies of the British Empire. Europe was also in a crisis, in the wake of the reactionary 1815 Treaty of Vienna. The British Empire reigned supreme. Germany and Italy were not yet unified, sovereign nations. In France, the family of Napoleon was making a comeback, and building its empire, but this time as the subservient puppet of the British Empire.
It was a world in which the dynamic of the American Revolution had been blunted, and the values of oligarchism were in the ascendant. The weapons of the British Empire were banking, war, drugs, and famine, but the main tool of the oligarchy was—and has always been—its control of culture.
Step back a moment, and think about what governs your thoughts, your emotions, your actions, the axioms in your mind. You might protest that such an exercise is pointless— “I think for myself,” you say. “I’m my own person.” But are you really? Do you have, perhaps, a nagging suspicion that there are greater forces at play, acting to control not only what you think, but how you think? If you have the courage to investigate the way in which the oligarchy has used culture—including art, poetry, music, drama, and—most emphatically—scientific discovery to maintain their centuries-long rule, then you are at the beginning of actual liberation.
In the beginning of the 19th century, a phony separation was enforced between “the arts” and “science,” a separation which did not previously exist, and one which aimed to deny that “art” and “science” are governed by the same universal principles. This phony separation was created by a British agent, Karl Savigny,—and he was not alone. At his side were equally satanic figures such as Hermann von Helmholtz, Richard Wagner, Hector Berlioz, the school of French Romantics, and Franz Liszt. Under British direction, “science” increasingly became the realm of dead mathematical logic, and the “arts” were relegated to the arena of the irrational and romantic. Art and Music came to be judged by the yardstick of “different strokes for different folks”—whatever titillates, amuses or excites the viewer or listener.
It is for this reason that we have witnessed the continuing, escalating degeneration within trans-Atlantic culture for well more than a century. Our current musical “culture” is one based on the twin emotions of Eros and Rage, and the effect of this is profoundly dehumanizing.
The time has come for all of us to break these chains, to recognize that it is the subjective nature of man which is in harmony with the creative universe! To begin, we will go back to the 19th century. This was the turning point, when the British Empire strove to break the knowability of the Renaissance discoveries that had moved mankind forward through to the American Revolution. For our purposes today, I am going to take the case of Classical Music and the fight between the evil Franz Liszt together with his side-kick-in-crime Richard Wagner, and the great Johannes Brahms, the last great standard-bearer of Classical musical composition.
Brahms and Liszt had two completely different missions. Franz Liszt allied himself with Napoleon III and with the outlook of oligarchism. If you have given any thought to Franz Liszt as just another legitimate musician, even a “Classical” composer, I hope I can clear this up for you. Be warned, however, that this will require confronting the false popular opinion that there is no scientific standard in culture, that anything can be called creative, and that there is such a thing “art for art’s sake,” independent from the scientific principles and discoveries which have made possible the physical advancement of the human species.
Art: Beauty Surpassing Itself
There is much to be said, but I want to focus on the primacy of Classical music, in which all Classical music comes from the poetic, whether the composition has words or not. The key issues to be dealt with include the primacy of the principles of the human singing voice, which includes tuning (which must be C=256, not what has become standard as A=440 or higher), the natural registers of the 6 species of singing voice, vocal placement, and the critical issue of the art of metaphor—musical polyphony. It is only through polyphony that you can reach the preconscious, which shapes human thought. The deductive, the logical, literal words, or mathematics—these define the disease within today’s culture, which has replaced actual creative thought.
The unique way that men and women can universally communicate ideas and validatable discoveries with each other, is through the principle that has become classically known as metaphor, and it is the ability of the preconscious part of the mind to hear the unspoken, to hear the unseen, and to allow the thought processes to engage with the thought processes of the composer of the musical composition that defines Classical music, as it also defines all truthful human interaction. So, if the composition does not unfold from that standpoint, if the intention of the composer is not from those Classical principles of what is truth and beauty, it is irrational.
As Lyndon LaRouche has often pointed out—yes, there is a natural beauty that does exist, but the difference with the beautiful in our human species is that it is both in harmony with the natural beauty, but it also transcends natural beauty with a self-conscious ability to leap, to create new ideas, new discoveries, new transformations which are measured in terms of the growing power of the individual man or woman to increase his or her conceptual ability, an ever more beautiful capability that is intrinsic to every single human being. The only true emotion that can generate such beauty is—what only mankind has the capability of—agápē.
That uniquely human capability is addressed by LaRouche in a 1986 Memorandum, “Truth is Beauty, and Beauty is Truth: Understanding the Science of the Music,” first published in Executive Intelligence Review on January 25, 2019:
Beauty is not yet necessarily art. All living things express beauty. The astrophysical and microphysical laws of the universe, also express beauty. The mere existence of a human child, is beautiful. A horse, is also beautiful, and so is the song of the well-trained European nightingale. A leaf is beautiful, and so a tree, or a flower. Art is distinguished from natural beauty, in that is expresses something pertaining to the perfection of the human species.
The essence of art, is that it must both conform to the form of beauty as we find beauty in living nature, and must also be an efficient expression of that which distinguishes mankind absolutely from the beasts.
Mankind is the only species which can transform its own species-behavior. Transformations for the better, each and all occur through individual creative mental activity of a kind consistent with fundamental scientific discovery.
The Case of Johannes Brahms
In the 1880s, Brahms wrote
an incredible composition, Dem dunkeln Schoß der heil’gen Erde, the text of which is part of a poem by Friedrich Schiller. As you will see later, this is very much in the spirit of Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus. Both of these compositions are very good, pedagogical short pieces, which allow the composer to deal with the most fundamental questions of metaphor, immortality, and what has defined Classical music ever since J.S. Bach’s great discovery. Now, the idea of polyphony in Classical composition allows for the expression of the in-betweenness, the metaphors, the discovery of truth.
If you take out polyphony from Classical composition, as was done with Gregorian Chant during the ninth and tenth centuries, and as was proposed by Franz Liszt, you end up in a neurotic world. Polyphony is the lawful process that allows the composer to express the metaphor in his mind, since the compositional idea does not lie in any one voice itself, i.e., soprano, alto, tenor, or bass. The oneness of the composition exists only in the intention in the mind of the composer, and the intention exists as from the future. As in life, what governs your actions is a higher mission of mankind’s future, the true expression of agápē.
In all true Classical composition, this true expression of the immortality of our species is the subject guiding the passion of the composer.
Let us now go to the Brahms, to Dem dunkeln Schoß. Readers can listen to the performance by the Schiller Institute New York City Chorus.
Dem dunkeln Schoß is based on Frederick Schiller’s poem, The Song of the Bell [see box]. Schiller, the great champion of the American Revolution, dedicated his life and works to the betterment of mankind. Both Brahms’ and Schiller’s higher hypothesis express the paradox between natural beauty, and artistic beauty—immortality and the future, the purpose of real physical economy.
Brahms, as does Mozart in his Ave Verum Corpus [Example 1], chose the key of D major, which gives you an understanding that you are celebrating the beauty of what it is to be human, and the mission of life. From the primacy of the vocal registration—and tuning—this choice is crucial. If you were to compose these compositions in C major, for example, the vocal registration would change and destroy the poetic idea.
At this point, it is necessary to take up what is a musical key. Is it a self-contained entity, and is the introduction of anything not in “the key,” simply chromatic, therefore producing an irrational sensual affect and emotion? If that is the case, then intervals have fixed positions, and chords are the root of all ultimate motion, in which you can only go from one key to the next in a mechanical fashion. The rules are established, and all one can do is add to the irrationality. Franz Liszt would argue this is true! But this is not true for J.S. Bach, Mozart, or Brahms, Beethoven and the other Classicists.
To understand the discovery of Brahms and Mozart, it is necessary to go back to Bach, as they also did—Bach’s Revolution, Bach’s discovery—the Bel Canto Well Tempered singing voice, as developed through polyphony, multi-cross voice polyphony, which implies a completely different understanding of musical well-tempered keys. This is the only true expression of human thought, emotion, passion and action in the universe—upward!
Here is the irony: Bach’s Musical Offering [Example 2] is in the key of C minor/C major, and the multi-modalities of the cross voicing, between the voices, unfolds the Lydian modality as a “one.”
So there is a boundedness, but it is a transfinite. In other words, A does not produce B, B does not produce C; the higher hypothesis in Bach’s mind is governing the unfolding of a universe which is constantly changing and developing lawfully.
Take the descent from the G to F-sharp, F-natural, E-natural, E-flat, D, D-flat, C, B-natural, A, G. Herein lies the intention, not a literal reading of the score. Is Bach unfolding a chromatic line, or is there a higher geometry of bel-canto, well-tempered multi-modalities implied? This difference between linear chromaticism and the higher geometry of multi-modalities will become very important in the matter of Franz Liszt and his degenerate school.
Throughout Brahms’ entire life, not only did he study all the works of Bach, but he was one of the editors of Bach’s Complete Works.
Compare the opening of Dem dunkeln Schoß [Example 3] in measures 1 through 8. In measures 1 through 3, it would appear that all voices are singing together; however, that is not true. Herein lies the truth of tuning and registration. Even in what looks like unity, there is polyphony.
Immediately, Brahms escalates the rate of development (measures 5-8), unfolding each voice in contrapuntal motion, generating cross-voices, creating a series of modal paradoxes. What does this imply? Brahms, through the music, is already developing the higher powers of
artistic beauty, and truth, about man’s
creative capabilities—the ability to go beyond nature. In the soprano voice, the G# is introduced, which creates a Lydian cross-voice, within the key of D major/D minor. This is further intensified by the tenor voice—B natural—as well as the alto, which introduces the paradoxical F natural. Let me be clear; all of this is bel canto voicing; there are no chordal structures—unlike Liszt, who believed in a fixed, predetermined world in which man is a wretch. The pounding of chords, and linear, chromatic motion is his universe.
In the following hypothesis (new idea)—Noch köstlicheren Samen bergen—Brahms, governed by a more beautiful destiny, transforms the opening statement. The tenor and the soprano for the first time develop their third registers, while the bass and alto their second registers. Ah, a new idea!—the freedom of the potential of the new destiny. So now, you have not only a transformation to a new degree of freedom with the register shifts, but also the opening idea is now in a new domain. This is the fugal quality of polyphony.
Brahms reaches to new heights at the end, with the question of Erblühen soll zu schönerm Los. Brahms repeats: schönerm, schönerm Los, schönerm Los—let the future determine your present actions! As Brahms increases the singularities, so the mind is lifted upward, and reflects back on the entire process! Such is the true nature of metaphor.
There is no mistake in saying that Brahms’ political identity was anti-oligarchical, anti-imperial. His music was his vehicle to fight this evil, creating a culture in which his fellow men and women could rally around the fight to bring empire down, as well as to create what did not yet exist—the nation of his beloved Germany. Brahms was conscious of his responsibility and role in creating a sovereign nation of Germany, as well as the need for this to happen throughout Europe.
Brahms openly allied himself with the great Bismarck. In fact Brahms carried Bismarck’s writings with him when he traveled, had his portrait on his wall, and supported Bismarck in his actions against the British Empire puppet
—and Liszt’s hero—Napoleon III, including the Franco-Prussian War. Brahms, like Schiller, was also a great supporter of the American Revolution, and lent his hand to help America. When our dear United States was in trouble in the decades after the British assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Brahms sent his associate Anton Dvořák to New York City, and two friends, George Henschel—a singer, composer, and teacher—and the conductor Arthur Nikisch went to Boston.
In the earlier cited 1986 Memorandum, “Truth is Beauty, and Beauty is Truth: Understanding the Science of the Music,” LaRouche addresses profoundly the interlinked, interactive dynamic of beautiful truth-seeking:
The relationship between the principle of beauty and the creative principle, which we have just identified, is of the form we call ”doubly-connected” in synthetic geometry. . . .
In the case of art, beauty and creativity are, respectively, “independent degrees.” The one cannot be derived simply from the other, and the action of neither can modify the other moment as such. At every imaginable point, in the physical space-time of artistic composition, beauty is acting upon creativity, and creativity is acting upon beauty, such that the effect is their combined action, but that neither action as such is altered by the other. At least, this limitation is the first-approximation case, pending consideration of more advanced principles derived from the elaboration of this case.
The Case of Franz Liszt
We begin with Liszt by examining his composition, Ave Verum Corpus. Readers can listen to a recording here.
Think about what you are hearing—Is Liszt celebrating immortality, is he challenging you through the music to take the same cup of Gethsemane that Christ passed on to you with his life, or is it rather the death that a wretch dies, and there is nothing more?
Franz Liszt was not an artist; he was a student of Carl Czerny, an individual whose method of piano playing could turn anyone into a trained monkey at the keyboard.
As Czerny attacked the Classical principles in music, so Liszt adopted the mission to ensure there would be no more Beethovens, Bachs, Mozarts, or Haydns. It is no accident that Liszt’s view of man is that of an animal—relying on the lower senses and mechanical skill, not creativity as the Classicists had developed since the revolution of J.S. Bach. As far as Liszt was concerned, there was never again to be a Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Robert and Clara Schumann, Brahms, or Verdi. They were the “old” music, and Liszt defined, as his mission, to create a “new” music, through the destruction of lawful Classical polyphony. Such was the sensual, mathematical Romantic school.
By 1848 Liszt had set up his center of operations in Weimar, Germany, formerly the center of operations of the great Schiller. Liszt was to be the king of the “New Future Music.” Culture was to play a role as a source of entertainment, an escape into hedonism. Like Immanuel Kant before him, and in the reactionary environment of the post-Congress of Vienna years, Liszt and his circles were out to ensure that the creative principles would become unknowable to mankind.
Liszt was explicit as to his intention in a letter to Agnes Street-Klindworth, dated Nov. 16, 1860:
If, when I settled here [Weimar] in 1848, I had decided to attach myself to the posthumous party in music, to share in its hypocrisy, to flatter its prejudices, etc., nothing would have been easier for me through my earlier connections with the chief bigwigs of that crew. By so doing I would certainly have won myself more esteem and pleasanter relations in the outside world; the same newspapers which have assumed the responsibility of abusing me with a host of stupidities and insults would have outdone each other in praising and celebrating me, without my having to go to much trouble about it. They would have gladly whitewashed a few of my youthful peccadillos in order to laud and boost in every way the partisan of good and sound traditions from Palestrina up to Mendelssohn.
But that was not to be my fate; my conviction was too sincere, my faith in the present and future of the art was both too fervent and too firm for me to be able to be content with the empty objurgatory formulae of our pseudo-classicists, who shriek until they are blue in the face that the art is being ruined, that art is being ruined. The mind’s tides are not like those of the sea; they have not been ordered: “Thus far shalt thou go, and no further”; on the contrary, “the spirit bloweth where it listeth,” and this century’s art has its word to contribute, just as much as had that of earlier centuries—and it will do it inevitably.
Although incompetent musical historians often group together various—sometimes opposing—19th century composers into what they ignorantly call the “Romantic School,” Liszt’s assault on the principles of Classical composition contained key specific components:
1. Chromaticism—to destroy the lawful bel canto Well Tempered Cross-Voice Revolution of J.S. Bach, and those great composers who developed this Revolution—Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Clara and Robert Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms.
2. Replacing the real tuning of C=256, with A=440 or higher, therefore destroying the actual poetry, and the natural tuning of the human singing voice—-thus, eliminating the poetry of the cross voicing of the register shifts, as well as the modalities.
3. Eliminating the moral dimension of music, through the introduction of romanticism based entirely on Eros, on experiencing the world through your senses. Agápē, the touchstone of all true musical and poetic composition, was to be eradicated from composition, thus denying the immortality of the human spirit!
4. Through the introduction of these techniques and axioms, to make true Classical polyphony—the cross-voice development of new ideas, new lawful discoveries—impossible.
It is important, in considering these matters, to take a reflection from LaRouche, whose life work has been to discover the beauty of the creative process of the human mind, In his “A Philosophy for Victory: Can We Change the Universe?,” he wrote:
Thus, man’s mastery of nature, through the progress of physical science, depends upon man’s mastery of the development of the social processes within which the unfolding of history and the practice of statecraft are situated. That is the meaning of Classical science, and Classical artistic composition, as expressed, for example, by the 1776 U.S. Declaration of Independence and the 1789 Preamble of the U.S. Federal Constitution.
The quality which separates Classical from Romantic and other vulgar art is the difference in the quality of emotion which is essential, respectively, to each. In vulgar art, the relevant emotion is, predominantly, sensual effects. In Classical art, it is the cognitive sensation of a “light turning on in the mind. . . .”
That “light” of the act of cognitive discovery, or of recognition, is a special quality of passion. That passion is the quality of movement in Classical art, and in physical science. This quality of passion, associated with cognitive, rather than deductive-reductionist thinking, is the basis for the emotions described, in thinking about man’s physical relationships to the universe, as motion and force in the universe. In all Classical artistic composition and related thought, this is apprehended as Classical inspiration, and, as the quality of Classical-artistic action . . . (EIR, March 2, 2001)
Eros—the Emotion of Liszt and the New School
Listen again to the opening of the Liszt Ave Verum. Think back to the incredible opening of Brahms’ Dem dunkeln Schoß, where the rich polyphony enriches your creative powers, where the entire composition is an organic through-composed whole. Where is the bel canto polyphony in Liszt? Listen to what Liszt composes! What is Liszt’s idea of key and modality?
In the opening, Liszt hits you over the head with a series of monotonous chordal sounds, creating a sensual effect of death, without any future generations! What about vocal registration? No voice ever develops into the third register through the entire composition. The dissonances are all literal, no paradox. Where is the polyphony that allows the pre-conscious of the mind to find the truth of the actual intention, of the new ideas being created among the voices, the metaphors to bring to life the ideas in the pre-conscious?
This was the intention of the liberal British Empire in creating the Romantic movement of Liszt, Helmholtz, Wagner, Savigny and their circle of friends. Suddenly—when you replace paradox with chromaticism—no more celebration of the creative mind of man and the universe, no more universals.
The world becomes deductive. Such is the case of the first 10 measures of the Liszt’s Ave Verum: measures 1-5 are repeated one step up in measures 6-10.
Now, compare the opening of Liszt’s Ave Verum with Mozart’s Ave Verum [Example 4]. Think about the difference between a mind governed by Eros, and one motivated by the highest of all passion, agápē. Readers can listen to the Mozart composition here and the Liszt here.
Mozart goes right to the soul and preconscious in the first four measures. He generates a crucial paradox by composing two Ave Ave, in which he presents the paradox between deductive logic (eros-entropic), where all relationships are a priori, inhabiting a fixed position in time and space, and the bounded, but transfinite (anti-entropic) true nation of the universe and man’s mind. As Mozart discovered from J.S. Bach, the well-tempered universe is multi-modal; musical keys are bounded, but are multi-modalities, that is, there is a multiplicity in the oneness.
In the key of D major—with the descending A, G#, G natural, Mozart creates a crucial paradox governing his intention throughout the composition. So, right in the opening of the Ave Verum, Mozart presents you with this crucial paradox! He then unfolds throughout the composition, not from beginning to end, but, from the future determining his present actions, his intention.
Unlike the erotic Liszt, and the music textbooks today, this descending A, G#, G is not a chromatic line; the G# is not just passing through. Just the opposite, the G# is a singularity in the key of D major, creating—as Mozart sets it with the D in the bass—a Lydian paradox.
In comparing Liszt’s Ave Verum and Mozart’s Ave Verum—what happens between the different intentions? Why does the Liszt Ave create an eerie sensual effect? Ask yourself, where is the development of an unfolding of an upward idea? Why does Liszt open with a Gregorian chant-like repetitive subject—one in which he moves from G minor to A major, thus the “Lydian” interval does not create a beautiful tension, but becomes your Romantic chromatic tone?
Mozart, on the other hand, creates in the key of D major an idea which unfolds lawfully the multi-modalities as a One. The discovery by the great violinist Norbert Brainin, is Motivic Thorough Composition (Motivführung). Thus, the Lydian modality is unfolded as a multiplicity of the D major/D minor modality, and the inversion of D major to G minor. This creates, as Lyndon LaRouche calls it, an “aesthetical tension,” a tension of true passion, in which you find in yourself the sublime agápē to do the good with your life for all mankind, generations into the future.
Mozart’s musical development of ideas, throughout the Ave Verum, stands in sharp contrast to Liszt who, from the vere passum through the cujus latus, continues to drone on with his Gregorian chant-like nondevelopment, once again going up in step-wise motion. What is Liszt expressing about the creative nature of man? What is Liszt positing as the nature of the universe? Is it creative and full of living development? Or, is Liszt’s world a mechanical, dead world, where no living human being can express true passion for the creative future?
In Mozart’s final In mortis, the bass voice has a descending A, B-flat, A, G-sharp, G-natural, F [Example 5a]. Once again Mozart presents you with the question of what it is to be human; what kind of passion does it take to live an agapic life, a life creating a future for all mankind? What unfolds, through this descending line in the bass, is a polyphonic dialogue with all the other voices. Mozart creates this most crucial of paradoxes—for you the listener and performer. Will you, like Christ, take the cup of Gethsemane? Or will you take the path of Franz Liszt—in which this descending bass line would be treated as a chromatic irrational descent to hell?
By the end of the Liszt Ave Verum [Example 5b], you have no idea, no insight, into the real relationship of the individual human soul to the universal development of all mankind. That is Liszt’s intention—to leave you within a state of pessimism and Eros, where your only concern is for yourself and the very small.
The Test of Death—Immortality
The Ave Verum Corpus raises an important question of what your life is about, what your relationship is to the entirety of mankind. I hope you can hear—in listening to the Mozart and Liszt compositions—the two different views. Mozart, like Bach before him, has a profound understanding of the “future governing your present actions.” The composition is not composed in a linear fashion from beginning to end, but rather from an intention (hypothesis of the higher hypothesis) in Mozart’s mind, with the deep understanding of Classical principles—that time does not work as a clock does, but rather in the Simultaneity of Eternity! Always unfolding from a higher placement, creating new hypotheses, new ideas.
The degenerate Liszt could not be more the opposite. The treatment of Ave Verum becomes a death dirge—life ends when you hit the grave. There is no paradox, no metaphor, only repetitive, anguished slow chromaticism, which leave the listener in a state of sensual despair. There is no future, no potential for development. This is lawful for Liszt, who hated the idea of republican nation-states, unlike Mozart and Brahms, who supported both the ideas—and the concept of Man—unleashed by the American Revolution. Liszt, as demonstrated in his allegiance to Empire, not only hated those principles, but lived to create imperial New Music as a weapon.
Mozart understood the profundity of the Christian, Judaic, Islamic notion of Immortality, and that your life is a test of what you did to create a future for humanity. Mozart understood Christ’s life and death, representing an upward motion for all mankind, and that men and women were not meant to exist as wretches, serving an oligarchical Empire!
Contrary to that, Liszt’s outlook is made explicit in a letter to Agnes Street-Klindworth, recounting an anecdote about Mozart in Prague in 1790 that had come to his ears:
After the first act of the Clem[enza] di Tito, H.M. [his majesty] left the theater: the manager rushed in great dismay to convey this disastrous news to Mozart, who, loftily aware of his own genius, replied point-blank: “Um so besser, da haben wir einen Esel weniger im Theater”! [“So much the better. Now we have one donkey fewer in the theater!”] I am a long way from endorsing such remarks; . . .
In Liszt there are no paradoxes—only the droning on of harsh dissonances, which repeat themselves chromatically. There is no celebration of man or woman, living a life which has created further new discoveries for mankind. I would go as far to say, for Liszt, Jesus Christ’s life and death was not a higher-order resolution, one whereby an individual may be led to discover immortality. Liszt was a fundamentalist Catholic; he, himself, was ordained an abbé later in his life. His pessimistic view was made very clear when he composed the Evocation a la Chapelle Sixtine, in which he combines Allegri’s Miserere and Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus.
I have not only brought them closer together, but, as it were, bound them together. Man’s wretchedness and anguish moan plaintively in the Miserere; God’s infinite mercy and the fulfillment of prayer answer it and sing in [Mozart’s] Ave Verum Corpus.
What you will hear, in listening to this piece is not the love of Agápē, but that of the irrational Eros!
Liszt and Napoleon III—The British Empire
The relationship between Franz Liszt and Napoleon III is not a question of connecting the dots. Liszt was very clear in his actions and allegiance to Napoleon. In an 1870 letter to the Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein, during the Franco-Prussian War, he states:
If the Empire were to collapse, I should personally feel extremely sad. I absolutely do not believe that the personal rule of Napoleon III has been corrupting and oppressive for France—but quite the contrary, it is demonstrably necessary, conciliatory, progressive, and genuinely intelligent and democratic in the best sense of the word.
When the news came that Ludwig II of Bavaria had committed troops to support Bismarck in the Franco-Prussian War, Liszt remarked:
Timely warning was given to my son-in-law, Emile Ollivier, to the French diplomats, to the Empress, who was rather inclined to enter the war, and to the Emperor, Napoleon III, who at first hesitated but was at length swept along with the tide . . . but all this good advice was a voice crying in the wilderness. The die was cast, and its fatal consequences have been written in some of the gloomiest pages of history.
On January 10, 1873, Liszt authored a eulogy for Napoleon III:
Napoleon III, is dead! A great soul, an all-embracing intelligence, experienced in the wisdom of life, a gentle and noble character—with a disastrous fate! He was a bound and gagged Caesar, but still closely related to the Divine Caesar, who was the ideal embodiment of earthly power. In the year 1861, when I had a pretty long interview with Napoleon, he said, “Sometimes it seems to me as if I were over a hundred years old.” I replied, “You are the century yourself, Sire!”—And, in fact, I honestly believed at the time, and so still, that Napoleon’s reign was the one most in keeping with the requirements and advances of our era. He has set noble examples, and accomplished or undertaken great deeds: amnesties which were protection of the Church in Rome and in other countries; the rejuvenance of Paris and other great cities in France; the Crimean War and the Italian war; the great Paris Exhibition, and the rise of local exhibitions; the earnest attention paid to the lot and to the interests of the country people, and of the working classes; the generosity and encouragement to scholars and artists,—all these things are historical facts, and are things in which the Emperor took the initiative, and which he carried out in spite of all the difficulties that stood in his way.
These things will not be eclipsed by the misfortunes that befell him, however terrible these may have been, and, on the day of judgement, France will fetch the coffin of Napoleon III, and place it in all honor beside that of Napoleon I. It can be affirmed without adulation that throughout life the Emperor unswervingly practiced those great virtues which are in reality one and the same thing and are known by the names of benevolence, goodness, generosity, nobility of mind, love of splendor and munificence. One of the fine traits of his character that he is acknowledged to have possessed, was his never-failing kind heartedness and his deep gratitude toward those persons who had ever done him a service. In all humility and lowliness of spirit I will imitate him this, and begin with himself by blessing his memory and addressing my prayers for him to the God of Mercy who has so ordered things that nations may recover from their wounds.
The Test of Death—
The Immortality of Our Species
Reviewing what we have covered so far—including Liszt’s oligarchical loyalties and counterposing that to the dedication of Bach, Mozart and Brahms to human discovery and advancement—this raises the question for all of us: Shall we, as individuals and as a society, throw off the chains of the Anglo-Dutch Empire, and the erotic entertainment they call “culture”? Shall we rise to the occasion that this incredible moment in history has handed to us?
In the wise words of Lyndon LaRouche:
The knowable measure, in principle, of the difference between man and all among the lower forms of life, is found in what has been usefully regarded as the naturally upward evolution of the human species, in contrast to all other known categories of living species. The standard of measurement of these compared relationships, it that mankind is enabled to evolve upward, and that categorically, by those voluntarily noetic powers of the human individual will.
To grasp that point, and to understand fully Liszt’s evil folly, it will help to read LaRouche’s 2012 article, “End the Folly in Sense-Perception: Metaphor!” just reprinted in the March 8, 2019 issue of EIR.
The choice is yours. Make the right choice, for the future of humanity is in your hands. We have an opportunity to realize a great future. The discoveries and leadership of Lyndon LaRouche and Helga Zepp-LaRouche, the Presidency of Donald Trump, and the potential of friendly relations with President Xi Jinping’s China, President Putin’s Russia, and Prime Minister Modi’s India, all portend a great breakthrough for the future of the human species. Think hundreds of years ahead, now, and let that determine your actions.
[fn_1]. From Lyndon LaRouche, “The Axiomatic Basis for Musical Theory in the Physical Sciences”: “Bach’s, Mozart’s, and Beethoven’s keyboards were tuned precisely to a well-tempered scale, with middle-C set strictly at 256 cycles. The dominant concert keyboard instrument into the early nineteenth century, was the fortepiano; this instrument has a registral balance on which the intent of Mozart, Beethoven, et al. was premised, and has a balance with the chamber-music ensemble, which is of importance to hearing works of the ‘pianoforte’ period performed as they were intended to be heard musically. During the middle of the nineteenth century, keyboard instruments underwent certain radical alterations, which fitted them to the Romantic compositions.
“The wind voices of the orchestra were redesigned in such a way that the out-of-tune character of modern wind instruments makes it impossible to perform a Mozart or Beethoven symphony in which the winds’ voices cohere exactly, contrapuntally with the strings.
“The upshift toward ‘concert A,’ seems a small difference in pitch, until we note the discomfort of trained vocalists who attempt to sing their usual repertoire at its original reference key of middle-C at 256 cycles. Often, a shift in pitch has significance for the singing register at which a passage is delivered, a matter of no small importance in well-tempered compositions.
“In classical composition, succeeding passages for a single singing or instrumental voice are often intended to be a different voice than the preceding passage; in effect, a singer, for example, may be singing two or three parts, each at different points in the composition, often in successive lines of a strophe. The skilled composer places passages within tonal ranges which tend to aid the singer in producing different registral ‘color’ for each of the two or more voices that singing part must represent in the composition as a whole. A slight shift, away from classical values of well-tempered middle-C, toward a modern ‘concert pitch,’ can thus either muddle the performance of the composition, or at least create difficulties for the singer’s attempt at contrapuntal ‘voice transparency’ in the rendering.” EIR, Feb. 8, 2019, p. 42. [back to text for fn_1]
[fn_2]. “Beethoven himself upon meeting the 11year old Franz Liszt— ‘It is unfortunate that the lad is in Czerny’s hand.’ ”—Alexander Wheelock Thayer, The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven, p. 847. Also, Frédéric Chopin writing to his friend and student Delfina Potocka on Liszt—“He is a strange man; he is unable to wring from his own brain the least thing that has worth before God or man. . . . You know, Liszt takes an enema tube instead of a telescope to look at the stars. Then he pulls his chosen star down from the heavens, dresses it up in an ill-tailored garment with ribbons and frills and enormous wig, and launches this scarecrow upon the world. There are people who admire him, but I still say he is a clever craftsman without a vestige of talent.”—Jan Holcman, The Legacy of Chopin, 1954. [back to text for fn_2]
[fn_3]. Examine the inversion of how the minor generates major, and major generates minor, as a doubly connected lawful process. The intervals are not fixed, the new modalities that are created, which are between the cross-voicing, create an entirely new idea—something new, as if “out of the blue.” This discovery by Mozart was made around 1782, when he discovered the compositions of J.S. Bach. Mozart and Haydn had been invited to the musical meetings of Baron van Swieten, where the genius of Bach’s compositions was presented. In the hands of Rameau earlier, and with the all the Romantics later, the keys are fixed, and you go from one to another key, by a mechanical, defined process, the intervals are fixed, the tuning is A=440. [back to text for fn_3]
[fn_5]. For a pedagogical proof, see Mindy Pechenuk, “Mozart’s Ave Verum: A Crucial Proof of Mozart’s Discovery, and a Short Pedagogical Exercise in Musical Memory,” Fidelio, Vol. 5, No. 4, Winter 1996. Pp. 34-45. [back to text for fn_5]
[fn_6]. ”Here lies the essence of the difference between the Romantic methods, of both composition and performance, of Rameau, Liszt, Berlioz, Wagner, et al., and the Classical methods of composition and performance of Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms. This is underscored by the way in which that young pupil of the Romantic Czerny, Franz Liszt, went on to attempt, as shown by Liszt’s performance transcription, even to turn a Classical composition such as Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy into Romantic slush. In Classical musical compositions, and their performances, it is the resolution, as Classical metaphor, of what appear to be contrapuntal dissonances, created by Bachian inversion, which is the distinctive quality of passion in such music. Furtwängler’s ‘playing between the notes,’ typifies the method of performance, as opposed to Romantic score-reading for sensual effects, consistent with the Classical world-outlook.”—Lyndon LaRouche, “A Philosophy for Victory: Can We Change the Universe?” EIR, Vol. 28, No. 9, March 2, 2001. p. 36, footnote 35. [back to text for fn_6]
[fn_9]. Alan Walker, ibid. Franz Liszt was involved in many intrigues with some of the most notorious agents of the Anglo-Dutch Empire, such as George Klindworth and his daughter Agnes Street-Klindworth. This duo acted sometimes as agents directly of the British Empire, Palmerston, at other times for Metternich, at times for the French, and for a certain faction in Russia. Agnes Street-Klindworth was also one of Liszt’s mistresses. For Liszt, the world of the British Empire and its minions was home to him. [back to text for fn_9]
This is the text that Brahms excerpted from Friedrich Schiller’s Song of the Bell: