Behovet for en klassisk renæssance.
Schiller Instituttets internationale videokonference den 26. april 2020
Schiller Instituttets konference Panel 3: “Kreativitet som det karakteristiske træk ved den menneskelige kultur: Nødvendigheden af en klassisk renæssance”
Talere ved Panel 3, kl. 17 -20:15 – ordstyrer: Dennis Speed
Beethoven, “An die ferne Geliebte” (Op. 98,) John Sigerson, tenor, Margaret Greenspan, piano
Lyndon LaRouche: “Jeg har insisteret på, at musik er forståeligt”
Helga Zepp-LaRouche – grundlægger og præsident, Schiller Instituttet
William Warfield – ‘A Poetic Musical Offering’ (‘En poetisk musikalsk gave)
Eugene T. Simpson – Professor Emeritus i stemme og kor-litteratur, Rowan University of New Jersey; grundlæggende konservator af the Hall Johnson Collection “Hall Johnson og Dvorak-drømmen: Fra ‘spiritual’ til kunstsang”
Willis Patterson – bas-bariton, professor emeritus/dekan ved the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance – “Tilstedeværelsen af det klassiske princip i folkemusik”
John Sigerson – musikchef for Schiller Instituttet, medforfatter af ‘A Manual on the Rudiments of Tuning and Registration’ – “Den fysiske kraft af klassisk poesi og musik”
Diane Sare – grundlægger og meddirektør, Schiller Instituttet NYC Kor; Leah DeGruchy, Schiller Instituttet: “Om brugen af kor i politik”
Konferencehilsener, Gregory Hopkins – grundlægger og kunstnerisk direktør, Harlem Opera Theater.
RAPPORT: Panel 3 af Schiller Instituttets Konference, 26. april, 2020
Panel 3 af Schiller Instituttets Konference, 26. april, 2020
Kreativitet som det karakteristiske træk ved menneskelig kultur: Nødvendigheden af en klassisk renæssance
Det tredje panel på Schiller Instituttets idéfyldte konference begyndte med en introduktion af Dennis Speed, der dedicerede panelet til Lyndon LaRouche (1922-2019) og William Warfield (1920-2002.) Dette blev efterfulgt af en fremførelse af Beethovens sangcyklus, “An die ferne Geliebte,” udført af tenor John Sigerson og pianist Margaret Greenspan.
Dernæst blev der vist et mægtigt videoklip med Lyndon LaRouche, der talte på en koncert på Howard University i 1990’erne. Han talte om det nødvendige forhold mellem klassisk videnskab og klassisk kunst, hvilket derfor betyder, at al kunst er forståelig og ikke kun magisk; og at det er universelt.
Helga Zepp-LaRouche drøftede Friedrich Schillers storslåede menneskesyn og hans anskuelse om at måden til at opnå genialitet er gennem æstetisk uddannelse. Hun diskuterede sit eget studium af Schiller som ung studerende, og den dybe indflydelse han havde på udformningen og styrken i hendes karakter og verdensanskuelse. Hun sagde, at man i dag kan få et indblik i den aktuelle kultur ved at se på, hvordan folk har reageret på nedlukningen i forbindelse med COVID-19. Mange mennesker er henfaldet til de værste former for hedonistiske impulser som en reaktion, og atter andre har vendt sig til klassisk musik i højere grad end før. Dette er typisk i Italien, hvor folk sang opera fra deres altaner, og det samme andre steder.
Zepp-LaRouche tog derefter publikum med gennem forskellige uddrag af Schillers ‘Æstetiske Breve’ for at demonstrere, hvorfor kunstneren selv skal være på højeste niveau, og at ens individuelle mål skal være i harmoni med de større menneskelige mål.
To digte blev derefter præsenteret gennem et videoklip af en koncert-recitation af William Warfield af Paul Laurence Dunbars “Prometheus” og “When Malindy Sings.” (Prometeus og Når Malindy Synger).
Dr. Eugene Thamon Simpson gennemgik i sin præsentation, “Hall Johnson og Dvorak-drømmen: Fra ‘spiritual’ til kunstsang,” nogle væsentlige historier om den afroamerikanske ‘spiritual’, herunder kampen for at få den smukke musik ind på den etablerede koncertscene. Han demonstrerede forholdet mellem den tyske kunstsang og den afroamerikanske ‘spiritual’. Mens ‘spirituals’ tidligt blev marginaliseret og endda latterliggjort, blev ‘spirituals’ ophøjet og befriet ved Antonin Dvoráks ankomst til De Forenede Stater og hans opdagelse af dem. Afgørende i den forbindelse var Harry Burleighs rolle og hans forhold til Dvorák. Simpson demonstrerede forskellen mellem de mere forenklede opsætninger af ‘spirituals’ af Harry Burleigh, og de mere udviklede opsætninger af Hall Johnson, der også skrev ”originale” ‘spirituals’ og kompositioner. Simpson gennemgik en interessant pædagogik om Hall Johnsons kompositoriske evner ved at bruge eksemplet “Am Meer” af Schubert og “Oh, Glory” af Hall Johnson, og hvordan Johnson brugte metoden for klassisk komposition til hans opsætninger.
John Sigerson præsenterede: “Den fysiske kraft af klassisk poesi og musik.” Han gik i polemik imod klassisk musik som blot værende en “beherskelse af stil”, i modsætning til et fysisk princip. Klassisk musik handler om musik med formål, i modsætning til bare øjeblikkelige effekter. Gennem en diskussion af Max Planck og Albert Einstein, sidestillede Sigerson ”agapē” med sult efter at opdage sandheden. Han sagde, at dette er et handlingsprincip, der findes både i klassisk musik og klassisk videnskab. Han udfordrede nuværende musikere til: ‘Ændre om nødvendigt din tro, hvis din tro forhindrer dig i at være en fysisk kraft for det gode i universet.’
Dr. Willis Pattersons tale om “Tilstedeværelsen af det klassiske princip i folkemusik” var en bevægende diskussion om folkesangens forbedrende indvirkning på ens sjæl, om hvordan den er en kilde til trøst, og om den grelle kendsgerning, at det er mere produktivt end at have flere krige. Han henviste til sin egen transformation og styrke ved at studere folkemusik og ‘spirituals’, på samme måde som Zepp LaRouche havde talt om sin undersøgelse af Schiller for at styrke sin egen karakter. Dr. Patterson afsluttede sin præsentation med at henvise til Schiller og spille en optagelse af sig selv (bas-bariton) som solist i Beethovens ‘Ode til Joy’ fra 9. symfoni.
Teng Jimeng, professor i amerikanske studier ved Universitetet for Udenlandske Studier i Beijing, henviste til præsident Xi Jinpings breve om dyd og kunst, og forklarede at dette er en del af den æstetiske uddannelse i Kina sammen med altruisme og patriotisme. Teng diskuterede konfucianisme og kinesernes forpligtelse til at sætte de ældre først og hjælpe verden, og dem der lider.
Diane Sare og Leah DeGruchy behandlede: “Om brugen af kor i politik.” Sare begyndte med at udfordre lytteren til at sikre, at denne krise aldrig sker igen, og spurgte hvorfor vi tillod disse kriser at opstå, inklusive det seneste COVID-19-udbrud, da vi vidste, at det var på vej. Hun spurgte, hvorfor er vi så hurtige til at bebrejde andre og så tøvende med at se på os selv? Degruchy tog dette op ved en meget effektiv diskussion af Shakespeares “Købmanden i Venedig”, om korets rolle i tragedien. Degruchy reciterede Portias berømte tale: “Kvaliteten af nåde er ikke anstrengt”. Sare fokuserede derefter diskussionen på nødvendigheden af selvtransformation. Hun citerede Beethovens “Missa Solemnis”, der, som hun påpegede, helt flettes sammen koret og solisterne, og hun citerede Bachs Passions-messer, som værker, der effektivt opløfter publikum til et bedre forhold til skaberen.
En entusiastisk hilsen til konferencen kom fra dirigent og tenor Gregory Hopkins. Han fortalte om sit mangeårige samarbejde med Schiller Instituttet, indbefattet turen som han foretog til Europa i 1990’erne med Schiller Instituttet. Han fortalte, hvordan det lige nu er en meget vanskelig tid for musikere, så mange af dem har mistet deres job, sundhedsforsikring og midler til at klare sig igennem. Men ifølge kineserne kan “en krise” være en “mulighed”, og det er gennem stor kunst, at vi kan blive inspireret. Som [en] ‘spiritual’ siger: “Jeg er så glad for, at problemer ikke varer ved for altid …”
En meget intens spørgerunde fulgte præsentationerne, hvilket bedst kan værdsættes på video. Vigtigst af alt, opfordrede Zepp LaRouche alle der lyttede og alle talerne til at slutte sig til hende i en verdensomspændende renæssancebevægelse. Hun opfordrede også Dr. Willis Patterson, Dr. Simpson og Dr. Jimeng til at tale mere dybtgående, da de alle diskuterede princippet om ”altruisme” i musik/kultur.
The Physical Power of Classical Poetry and Music
by John Sigerson
As I reflected on this Year of Beethoven, and on how to seize its opportunity, I recalled a debate of sorts that I had in 1972 or 1973, shortly after I had joined up with Lyndon LaRouche after attending a series of classes devoted to two topics: Classical music on the one side, and, on the other side, the only economics I had found which addressed my obsession with economic progress, especially in Africa—two subjects which my college teachers had insisted were completely unrelated.
I was talking at that time with a Columbia student of music composition whom I was attempting to recruit to the idea that the world would be a better place if composers would take up the challenge that Beethoven had thrown down in his late works, especially his late string quartets. “Can you compose works like Beethoven did?” I asked him. “Yeah, sure I could, no problem,” he replied with a little swagger. “Well, then,” I pressed, “why don’t you just do so?” To which he breezily answered, “Because I don’t choose to do so!” and quickly scuttled away.
And that’s still the problem today.
This challenge, not only to transmit Beethoven’s ideas through honest performance, but to reach beyond Beethoven, has haunted human civilization ever since the composer’s death in March of 1827. A very few, such as Schumann and Brahms, have accepted the challenge, while so many others, such as Wagner and the Romantics, Stravinsky and the Modernists, not to mention the purveyors of mass popular entertainment, have “chosen not to do so.”
How can we take up this challenge today? Certainly the study, singing, and playing of great Classical works is essential for our survival. Yet we cannot fall into the trap which so many artists do, of believing that mastering the style of Classical music does justice to the composer, or to us. Great Classical music has never been a matter of style, but rather of an unquenchable yearning to transmit universal Platonic ideas, universal principles, concerning the true nature of mankind, that which distinguishes him from all other creatures known to us so far, on our journey through universal space-time.
Lyndon LaRouche threw us a lifeline for grappling with this challenge, when he characterized the Classical Lied, the Classical art-song, as the “Rosetta Stone” of music. He said that the singing of poetry is a never-failing source of inspiration to the composing mind. All great Classical poetry, from the Vedic hymns, to Homer, to Dante, to Shakespeare, Schiller, Shelley, and Poe, is sung poetry; and conversely, all great music, whether performed by singers, by instruments, or combinations of both, must be sung—and sung with beauty, and grace—if it is to have its intended effect to uplift and transform performers and audience alike.
Poetry, like music, is never a matter of style, but a matter of purpose. Particularly in troubled times, composers have taken up the songs and poems of unknown bards of the people, so-called folk songs, as a means of enriching and ennobling popular culture, by raising these songs of life and love to the highest level of moral and artistic perfection. The elevation of the African-American Spiritual, as discussed by my colleagues here, is a unique, precious example in American culture. Similarly, during the 19th century, the folk songs of many European cultures were brought to a high level of perfection by Beethoven himself, and especially by Johannes Brahms and Antonín Dvorák. In China, which has a rich trove of songs of the people, I believe that composers have yet to accomplish this to the same level as, say, Brahms, yet I’m confident that if China is not destroyed in a nuclear holocaust so desperately hoped for by the Old Paradigm dinosaurs, this will not be long in coming.
And yet, in our Western culture today, the resonance of these songs of life and love among the broad masses of our population, has been fading away under the onslaught of the brutal, bestial, rigid, largely sex-driven “pop” culture, to such an extent that if you ask a young American today if they know a simple folk song they have sung from childhood, more likely than not they will remain silent, looking at you in perplexity.
So, can true Classical composition, on the order of a Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms be revived in the face of this brutalization of our people’s culture, where the resonances of history have been supplanted by the futile quest for the here and now? I believe it can, but only if poets and composers agree to submit themselves to a struggle, not just to create beautiful melodies or clever musical juxtapositions, but to deliberately shape the intended physical effect of their own creations.
In a second I’m going to illustrate what I mean by this, with the example of two fine musicians, Max Planck and Albert Einstein.
But first, what do I mean by “physical”? Well, I mean it in the same way that Lyndon LaRouche discusses physical economy. Anyone familiar with LaRouche’s discussions and writings, must realize that by physical, he’s not referring to things, whether these be pieces of plant and equipment, or human beings, but rather to validated universal physical principles which man can discover, by means of creative acts, for the benefit of mankind’s future existence, and for the increased happiness of the universe itself.
The musicians Planck and Einstein, of course, also happened to be gifted theoretical physicists. As the fruit of their struggle, they discovered the quantized nature of electromagnetic energy—a discovery which led directly into our still very partial mastery of nuclear power. And please pardon me if I skip over many technical details, crucial though they may be.
Max Planck grew up in Germany during the latter half of the 19th century. When he announced to his friends that he was going to become a physicist instead of a pianist and composer, some of his associates told him that he was wasting his time, because all of the basic laws of discrete matter, on the one side, and of perfectly continuous electromagnetic energy on the other, had already been discovered.
Nevertheless, a problem that continued to confound physicists was the so-called black-body problem. The challenge was to pin down the distribution of power and frequencies of substances, especially metals, which, when they become hotter, emit light at various frequencies, first in the lower red frequencies, as you see when piece of metal begins to glow red, and then, as the temperature increases, going toward white. The so-called black body was a device for testing this with great precision.
The practical problem was that no one had been able to work out a formula for the distribution of the frequencies. This had become a matter of some urgency for industrial production, since the fabrication of reliable light bulbs required such a calculation, and indeed the electric firm Siemens funded an entire institution in Berlin devoted to solving this problem.
After seeing many others fail, Planck decided to take this up, and succeeded in working out an equation that seemed to account for the exact distribution of energy. However—and this is the crucial feature of his integrity—he remained dissatisfied with his own equation, and he even refused to present it to his colleagues, because he had not yet discovered its physical significance. What caused it to work that way, and no other way? he asked. Thus, he was confronted with the same kind of challenge confronting Johannes Kepler, who studied Ptolemy’s planetary epicycles, and the circular orbits of Copernicus and Tycho Brahe, and concluded that, however accurate their models might seem to be, they could not possibly be valid, because they merely described a natural phenomenon without any concern about discovering its physical cause.
Planck embarked upon a voyage which ended up challenging his own gripping, axiomatic belief in the existence of perfect continuity in nature. For, how could light, for example, be anything but a continuous wave? How could God’s creation be merely the sum of a myriad of little parts? In this, Planck was constantly at odds with morally compromised reductionists such as Ludwig Boltzmann and Ernst Mach, who argued that scientists should abandon all effort to actually understand the causality of complex phenomena such as the behavior of gases, and should be satisfied with a mere statistical likelihood that a given phenomenon be this way, and not another way.
But after trying all sorts of black-body thought-experiments, and failing to find a cause, Planck, in what he himself described as “an act of desperation,” reached into Boltzmann’s work and hypothesized a model which involved a myriad of little bouncing springs from within the black body, emitting light at frequencies all of which were whole-number increments of an extremely tiny constant value—what only later became known as the Planck quantum of action. Planck had discovered a true physical cause, even though it was squarely at odds with his own most cherished axiom of continuity.
But the story does not end there! Planck had grasped a new principle, but only incompletely. Clinging to his conviction that light itself was continuous, he thought that it was only the light’s interaction with the tiny discrete receptors in the black body which was causing his quantized effect. His paper announcing his discovery then fell into the hands of a younger third-class patent official in Switzerland named Albert Einstein, who said, in effect: “Wait a minute! What if the light itself is quantized? And what if the wave nature of light can in fact be ultimately reconciled with its quantized nature, according to a higher principle?
As they say, the rest is history. And since then, to the day he died, Einstein never abandoned his quest for that higher principle, resisting all efforts of Machians such as Werner Heisenberg, to reduce quantum physics to a statistical game which only “seems to work,” but which does not choose to investigate causes. As Einstein famously retorted to these demented fellows: “God doesn’t play dice.”
But back to music and poetry! I’d like to quote from another fine musician, namely Lyndon LaRouche. In January 1993, I, my wife Renée, and Mindy Pechenuk visited Lyndon in prison in Rochester, Minnesota, for a number of hours, where we discussed all matters musical, against the sometimes raucous background of the prison visiting-room. From the transcribed recording, which we plan to publish someday, let me read you the following, to give you a glimpse of LaRouche’s thinking:
“The equivalences of music are not ordinal, they’re not quantitative—they’re not qualitative, for example. They are in an analysis situs form. And the key to this, is two things.
“First of all, the musical domain is a quantized field. Notes exist. And space is Keplerian. Because you have the notes, they exist in certain locations, there are certain harmonics that exist, they’re ordered. And no matter what notes you’re playing, the next one is going to be there. You can change your sequence as much as you please, but the next one is going to be there. It’s all predetermined for you. And this is not alterable. And an approximation of the note, only to the extent that you’re not cheating, is the note. The note that is sung or performed is not the note. It’s the best approximation of the note. The tone is absolute; and the performer merely approximates that. And if they don’t approximate that rather well, we get unhappy; we get disturbed. But it’s analysis situs.
“The key thing is note, number one. Registration, second. And registration comes in many different varieties. It comes in aspects of instrumental colors of all kinds, or the generic term color is sometimes used. But you have many kinds of colors. You can create instruments; they have colors which are not human voice-colors. But they become a dimensionality of color. And it’s precise, it’s determined. You make a string of such-and-such a type, such-and-such a type, it’s stuck. You’ve got a color. You can modify it, but it’s there; it’s going to haunt you. And you won’t get away from it. You have to jump to another string to get to a different part of your color.”
And now, I hope you will bear with me when I cite this passage from Einstein’s Introduction to Planck’s 1932 book Where Is Science Going?:
“… The supreme task of the physicist is the discovery of the most general elementary laws from which the world-picture can be deduced logically. But there is no logical way to the discovery of these elemental laws. There is only the way of intuition, which is helped by a feeling for the order lying behind the appearance, and this Einfühlung is developed through experience….[Einfühlung roughly means “empathy,” which is also happens to be Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s best English approximation of Schiller’s term Empfindung. Einstein continues:]
“In every important advance, the physicist finds that the fundamental laws are simplified more and more as experimental research advances. He is astonished to notice how sublime order emerges from what appeared to be chaos. And this cannot be traced back to the workings of his own mind, but is due to a quality that is inherent in the world of perception. Leibniz well expressed this quality by calling it a pre-established harmony.
“Physicists sometimes reproach the philosophers who busy themselves with theories of knowledge, claiming that the latter do not appreciate this fact fully. And I think that this was at the basis of the controversy waged a few years ago between Ernst Mach and Max Planck. Planck probably felt that Mach did not fully appreciate the physicist’s longing for perception of this pre-established harmony. This longing has been the inexhaustible source of that patience and persistence with which we have seen Planck devoting himself to the most ordinary questions arising in connection with physical science, when he might have been tempted into other ways which led to more attractive results.
“I have often heard that his colleagues are in the habit of tracing this attitude to his extraordinary personal gifts of energy and discipline. I believe they are wrong. The state of mind which furnishes the driving power here resembles that of the devotee or the lover. The long-sustained effort is not inspired by any set plan or purpose. Its inspiration arises from a hunger of the soul.
“I am sure Max Planck would laugh at my childish way of poking around with the lantern of Diogenes. Well! why should I tell of his greatness? It needs no paltry confirmation of mine. His work has given one of the most powerful of all impulses to the progress of science. His ideas will be effective as long as physical science lasts.”
So, what is the lesson to be learned here? By way of this, I throw out the following challenge to poets and composers today, especially young poets and young composers, who may also be working in a scientific field:
You poets and composers: You know who you are! (Because if you have to ask, you probably aren’t one, or at least not yet.) Take up the challenge set forth before you, not just by Planck and Einstein, but by Lyndon LaRouche, and by the speakers at this conference, to dedicate your life to changing your own axioms if need be, even your most cherished ones, if you find that those axioms are preventing you from discovering a means of crafting your compositions to become a physical cause in the universe. Are you, for example, certain that what you have created will, in fact, inspire action resulting in increases in the rate of growth of humanity’s relative potential population density? Or put more simply, along with Friedrich Schiller: Will your audience become better people as a result of experiencing your work?
That is the true content of that “hunger of the soul” in Einstein’s words, or, in the words of St. Paul to the Corinthians, Love. Be not satisfied with merely pretty, pleasant, childish things. Put yourselves through this necessary struggle, and all mankind will be forever thankful.
Or as Percy Bysshe Shelley sang to his skylark:
… We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
Yet if we could scorn
Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.
Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!
Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.
PANEL 3: TENG JIMENG, Professor of American Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University
TENG JIMENG: First of all, thank you very much to the Schiller Institute to invite me to speak at this very great conference and to join the distinguished panel of this very great conference. I think this is a very timely conference, especially under the general background of the coronavirus which is now running rampant worldwide.
I would begin, for example, with a presentation given by President Xi back in 2008 when he was responding to a letter to eight professors teaching traditional Chinese aesthetics at this very university called the Central Academy of Fine Arts. In that letter, President Xi mentioned several notions. Two of the notions I’d like to quote here. The first one being dé and yì. In Chinese dé means virtue, and yì meaning art. So, both dé and yì are supposed to be an integral of the Chinese traditional aesthetic education. The second notion I’d like to quote here is patriotism and also altruism; both altruism and patriotism are supposed to be the central tenets of Confucius teaching or Confucius learning. In China, this aesthetic education has been so very deeply rooted in the curriculum in high schools, in primary schools, and also in universities. Virtue has always been part of official training here in China; training officials with virtue. Once again, virtue means the skill set, the ability to communicate, compassion, and also the love of one’s people, public spirit mostly. And yì meaning art, the art, for example, to communicate, the art to convey the message, the message of the redeemed, the message of the ruler. In this sense, yì has played a very large role in communicating and connecting the people in the family, the community, and even people beyond the border.
The second notion, as I always cite it in my teaching, which is altruism. China has been strongly committed to this very notion of altruism. Back in the 1960s, for example, China has been even exporting food to the outside world — for example, to Africa, and committing medical teams to Africa, helping with malaria and building railroads in Africa. In fact, it was railroads in a sense which were built by China in the 1970s and the late 1960s. China actually at the time was suffering its greatest famine, the worst famine actually in its own history. So, when Chinese government has always been in a sense committed to this very principle, this Confucian principle of saving lives; saving children, saving the critically ill elderly patients in ICUs. Look at all these elderly patients being saved, and sent back home healthily out of their critical conditions previously.
These two great notions have been deeply rooted in the psyche of the Chinese people. And like a famous scholar I admire by the name of Tu Weiming, who has been teaching Confucianism worldwide. He actually quoted a lot of Confucianism, this very central value in Confucianism — the public spirit, the devotion to work for the public community, and also the people beyond the borders and out there in the cosmic community. To this very extent, I think that China shall continue to be committed to helping the world, and helping the people around the world on this planet, now suffering this very pandemic.
And lastly, let me just quote the great philosopher Confucius that “All roads that lead to prosperity are the road that we must follow. The road that leads to all under Heaven.” So, all under Heaven, in a sense, is the philosophy of Confucianism, now translated into contemporary Chinese politics. As President Xi has also in a sense said that we need to work together for the community of a shared future of all mankind. Thank you very much.