The author of the presented work felt compelled to also contribute to the celebration of the one hundredth birthday of our great Beethoven and chose, since there did not occur to him another occasion dignified enough for this celebration, this elaboration in writing on the importance of Beethoven’s music as it opened itself up to his understanding. The form of the resulting written presentation occurred to him due to the idea that he might be called upon to hold a festive speech on the occasion of an ideal celebration of the great musician, whereby to him, since this speech was not to be held in reality, there arose the advantage of more in-depth elaboration than would have been allowed for a speech in front of a real live audience. Due to this it was possible to him to guide the reader through a more in-depth investigation of the essence of music and to deliver to the seriously educated reader a contribution with respect to the philosophy of music, as which the presented work may be considered, on the one hand, while, on the other hand, the assumption that it, should it actually be held as a speech on a certain day of this so extraordinarily meaningful year in front of a German audience, it would suggest a close and warm connection in such spoken presentation to the elevating events of this time. Inasmuch as it was possible for the writer to draft and carry out his work under the immediate impressions of these events, may it therefore also benefit from this advantage in order to have made possible an inner connection to the depth of the German mind during the greater excitement of German sentiment(s) than during ordinary times in the life of our nation.
While it must already appear difficult to provide a satisfactory insight into the true relationship of a great artist to his nation, then this difficulty is increased for the sober mind to the highest degree, as soon as this does not concern a poet or a fine artist, but a musician.
That the poet and the fine artist, in the manner in which both of these perceive the phenomenon or forms of the world, are, at first, guided by the particulars of the nation that they belong to, has certainly always been considered in their evaluation. If for a poet, the language in which he writes, immediately stands out as determining for the views that he will put forth, then the nature of his country and of his people do not appear as any less decisive factors for the choice of form and colour to the fine artist. Neither through language nor through any form of the shape of his country perceptible to his eyes is the musician connected to these. Therefore, one assumes that the tone language equally belongs to all of mankind and that the melody is the absolute language through which the musician speaks to every heart. At closer examination, we recognize very well that there could be made mention of a German music as opposed to an Italian music, and for this difference, there may still be considered a physiological national trait, namely the great facility o the Italian for song which would have predestined him as much for his musical training as the German, due to his lack of that facility, would have been directed to his special musical area of his very own. However, since this difference does not touch the essence of tonal language but rather, since every melody, be it of Italian or German origin, can be equally understood, this can, at first, only be considered a quite superficial momentum, as much as language for the poet or the physical properties of his country for the fine artist: for, also in these, these outer differences can be recognized as advantages or disadvantages without our attributing to them any importance with respect to the intellectual content of the artistic organism.
The particular traits by which a musician is recognized as belonging to his nation must, in any event, be deeper seated than that by which we recognize Goethe and Schiller as Germans, Rubens and Rembrandt as Netherlanders, even if we must consider that one or the other of them might be inspired for the same reason. To investigate this deeper reason might be as enticing as to thoroughly investigate the essence of music itself. What might have been hitherto considered as unattainable by means of dialectic treatment might, contrarily, open itself up all the easier to our judgment if we put to ourselves the more distinct task of investigating the connection of the great musician whose 100th birthday we are about to celebrate, with the German nation which now has entered such a serious text of its worth.
If we raise this question in this connection at first superficially, then it might already not be easy to escape an illusion due to this superficial approach. If it is already that difficult for a poet to make himself understood that we have to endure the most idiotic statements of a famous German literary historian with respect to the development of Shakespeare’s genius, then we should not be surprised that we will stumble upon even greater errors if, in a similar manner, a musician like Beethoven is taken as the subject. With greater certainty is it possible for us to look at the development of Schiller and Goethe, since, from their own conscious communications to us there remain precise indications for us: these, too, however, only cover the aesthetic progress of their education and development , which more accompanied than guided their creative activities; with respect to the real background of the latter, particularly with respect to the selection of the material to their writings, we actually only learn that here, coincidence ruled over intention to a great extent; an actual tendency that is connected with outer world or national history can be discerned, in the least. Also with respect to the impact of quite personal life impressions (and experiences) on the selection and development of their topics, one can only draw the most cautious conclusions in the case of the two poets in order not to let disregard that this never found expression in an immediate, but rather always only in an indirect sense, which makes all certain proof of their influence on their actual creative processes impermissible. Contrary to this, from our investigations, we recognize this with certainty, that a course of development that can be discerned in this way, could only be specific to the great German poets of this noble period of German re-birth.
What conclusions could, however, be drawn from the letters of Beethoven
that have been left behind, with respect to the outer processes, or even with
respect to the inner relationships of the life of our great musician to his
great compositions and to the process of development that can be discerned in
them? Even if we had at our disposal
all possible data on the conscious processes in this respect in microscopic
detail, these could not provide us with anything more certain, than what (for
example) lies before us in the information that the master initially drafted
the “Sinfonia eroica” in homage to the young General Napoleon and that he wrote
the name of the title page but later crossed it out when he learned that
Bonaparte had made himself Emperor.
Never has one of our poets described one of his most important works
with such certainty with respect to the tendency connected with it; and what do
we derive from this with respect to the evaluation of one of the most wonderful
compositions ? Must it not appear as
pure insanity to us if we were to even attempt such an explanation?
I believe that the most certain information that we can learn about the human being Beethoven would, in the best of cases, stand in the same relationship to the musician Beethoven as, for example, General Bonaparte to the “Sinfonia eroica”. Seen from this vantage point of awareness, the great musician must remain a complete mystery to us. In order to solve this in its appropriate manner, there has to, at least, be taken quite a different path than that along which it is possible to follow at least to a certain degree the creative lives of Goethe and Schiller: also this point will be blurred at precisely that place at which these creative lives move from their conscious sides to their unconscious ones, that means where the poet no longer determines the aesthetic form of his work but where it is determined by the inner vision of its idea. However, precisely in this vision of the idea there lies the entire difference between the work of a poet and that of a musician, and in order to arrive at some clarity with respect to this, we have to, above all, turn to a more in-depth investigation of the problem at hand.--
Quite recognizably, the diversity referred to here, stands out in the work of the fine artist when we hold the musician closely next to him, in the middle of which stands the poet in his conscious creation’s tending towards the work of the fine artist, while he, on the bark basis of his unconsciousness touches the musician. With Goethe, his conscious tendency towards fine art was so strong that he, in an important phase of his life, felt quite predestined to it while he, in a certain sense, for all of his life, wanted to see his poetic activity as a kind of striving for information as a substitute for his declined fine arts career; with his consciousness, he was a mind that was explicitly tending towards the visible world. Contrary to this, Schiller was attracted to a quite stronger degree by the investigation of the unconscious basis of the inner consciousness that lies far from the contemplation and viewing of the outer world, in the “thing as such” of Kantian philosophy, the study of which he was very involved in during the main period of his higher development. The point of constant attraction between both great minds lay precisely there, where, from both extremes, the poet meets his self-awareness. Both also met in their respective abilities of discernment of the essence of music: and this ability was accompanied by greater insight in Schiller than in Goethe who, according to his entire tendency, grasped more of the pleasing, plastically-symmetrical element of art music in which music, analogously shows some similarity to architecture. Here, Schiller grasped the touched problem with his evaluative capabilities at a deeper level which Goethe agreed with and by which it was decided that the epos tends towards the plastic, while drama tends toward music. With our above-outlined view on both poets now also agrees that Schiller was more fortunate in actual drama than Goethe while the latter was undoubtedly more inclined towards epic writing.
However, it was only Schopenhauer who has recognized and described with
philosophical clarity the position of music to the other forms of art in his
ascribing to it an essence quite different from fine art and poetry. Here, he goes out from his amazement that
music speaks with a language that can be immediately understood by everybody,
since there is no need of mediation by means of the description of concepts,
whereby it, first of all, differentiates itself completely from poetry whose
only material are concepts by means of their application, for the purpose of
the illustration of ideas. According to
the very understandable definition of the philosopher, the ideas of the world
and of its essential phenomena are, in Plato’s sense, the objects of the
beautiful arts themselves; while the poet makes these ideas clear to the
awareness that is considering them by means of the application of actually
rational concepts in an application that is peculiar only to his art,
Schopenhauer, however, believes that he has to recognize an idea of the world
in music itself since he who would be able to entirely exemplify it in concepts
would, at the same time, have presented a philosophy that is explaining the
world. While Schopenhauer presents this
hypothetical explanation of music as paradox, since it can actually not be
explained in concepts, he provides, on the other hand, the only sufficient
material for a further shedding of light on the correctness of his profound
explanation to which he, himself, did not want to apply himself merely due to
the fact that, as a layman, he was not familiar enough with music, and,
moreover, due to the fact that his knowledge of it could not yet refer with
enough certainty to an understanding of that musician whose works only revealed
to the world that deepest secret of music, since, Beethoven in particular, can
not be sufficiently evaluated if the profound paradox that Schopenhauer
presented is not properly explained and resolved for by and in philosophical
reflection and realization.--
In the use of the material provided by the philosopher I believe to proceed most purposefully if I, at first, turn to one of his statement with which Schopenhauer does not yet want to have the idea that emerged out of the realization of relations considered as the essence of the thing as such, but merely as a revelation of the objective character of things, thus still always only of their appearance. “Und selbst diesen Charakter” – continues Schopenhauer in the relevant passage, “würden wir nicht verstehen, wenn uns nicht das innerste Wesen der Dinge, wenigstens undeutlich im Gefühl, anderweitig bekannt wäre. Dieses Wesen selbst nämlich kann nicht aus den Ideen und überhaupt nicht durch irgendeine bloß objective Erkenntnis verstanden werden, daher es ewig ein Geheimnis bleiben würde, wenn wir nicht von einer ganz anderen Seite Zugang dazu hätten. Nur sofern jades Erkennende zugleich Individuum und dadurch Teil der Natur ist, steht ihm der Zugang zum inner der Natur offen, in seinem eigenen Selbstbewußtsein, also wo dasselbe sich am unmittelbarsten und alsdann als Wille sich kundgibt.” (Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung [Insel-Ausg.] II, 1125.— And even this character we would not understand, if not the innermost essence, at least in a yet unclear form and based on our feelings, was known to us, otherwise. This essence itself can not be understood based on ideas and not at all by means of any merely objective realization and thus would eternally have to remain a secret to us if we would not have access to it from another side. Only insofar as every realizing entity is also an individual and thus part of nature, does it have access to the innermost side of nature in its self-awareness, where the same makes itself known most directly and then presents itself as will.)
If we then also consider what Schopenhauer demands as a condition or prerequisite for the entering of the idea into our consciousness or awareness, namely a “temporäres Überwiegen des Intellektes über den Willen, oder physiologisch betrachtet, eine starke Erregung der anschauenden Gehirntätigkeit, ohne alle Erregung der Neigungen oder Affekte” (Die Welt als Wille und Vostellung [Insel-Ausg.] II, 1127—temporary stimulation of the contemplating brain activity without any excitement or stimulation of the inclinations and affects.), then we only have to keenly grasp the following explanation of the fact that our awareness or consciousness has two sides: in part, this consciousness is, after all, a consciousness or awareness of our own selves which is the will, in part it is a consciousness or awareness of other things, and, as such, it is, at first, a contemplative realization of the outer world, a grasping of objects. “Je mehr nun die eine Seite des gesamten Bewußtseins hervortritt, desto mehr weicht die andere zurück” (Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung [Insel-Ausg.] II, 1127—the more the one side of the entire awareness or consciousness emerges, the more the other side retreats.)
From a thorough consideration of these statements that have been quoted from Schopenhauer’s main work, it must become evident to us now that musical conception, since it can not have anything in common with the perception of an idea (since it is certainly tied to the consideration of the evident word), it can only have its origin in that side of awareness or consciousness that Schopenhauer describes as being directed towards the introspective. If this should temporarily retreat into its functions of the realizing subject (meaning the conception of ideas) for the benefit of the emergence of the realizing subject, then, on the other hand, the result will be that only out of this inward-turned side of awareness or consciousness does the capability of the intellect’s grasping of the character of things become explainable. However, if this awareness or consciousness is also the awareness or consciousness of the self, thus of the will, then it has to be assumed that the holding-down of the same is certainly necessary for the purity of the outward-directed awareness that, however, the essence of the thing as such that is absolutely necessary for this considering awareness is only possible to be perceived by the inward-directed awareness when it is able to arrive at the ability to take an as enlightened or illumined look at the introspective as it is able to do in its outward perception of ideas.
Also for the continuance along this path, Schopenhauer provides us with the right guidance by means of his profound hypothesis regarding this physiological phenomenon of clairvoyance that is connected with it and with respect to his dream theory that is based on it. When the inward-turned consciousness arrives at real clairvoyance in this phenomenon, meaning to that capability of vision there, where our “awake” consciousness that is directed towards our daily lives, can only dimly or vaguely sense the powerful basis of the affects of our will, then also the tone breaks through this night into real, awake perception, as immediate expression of our will. As dreams confirm to every capacity of experiencing, next to the world that is viewed by means of the functions of the aware mind, stands a second world that is just as distinct as the first, and not any less perceptible which, as object, can also not lies outside uf us and, therefore, has to be brought before awareness for the purpose of realization by an inward-directed function of the brain according to the terms of forms of perception that are solely akin to it. A not any less certain experience is, however, this one that, next to the world that presents itself visibly in our state of awareness as well as in our deam state, a second world that is only perceptible to the ear, a world that is perceived through sound, thus actually a world of sound next to the world of light, that is available for the perception through our awareness and of which we can state that it behaves itself towards the world of light like the dream state towards the state of awareness, for it is quite as clearly perceptible to us as the world of light, although we have to recognize it as bein completely different from it. Just as the perceptible dream world can only be formed by a specific brain activity, music, too, only enters our awareness or consciousness by means of a similar brain activity, yet, this activity is as different from that of that seeing as the dream capability of the human brain differentiates itself from the function of the brain that is stimulated by conscious perception.
Since the capability for dreaming can not be stimulated into activity by external impressions against which it is completely closed off, this has to happen through internal processes that are only indicated as vague feelings to our conscious perception. It is this inner life, then, through which we are immediately related to all of nature, so that they are part of the essence of things in a manner that, in response to our relationships to it, the forms of external realization, time and space, can no longer be applied due to which Schopenhauer so convincingly points to the formation of prophetic and predicting dreams that relate the most remote facts, thus the dreams related to fate, or in rare, extreme cases, to the occurrence of somnambulistic clairvoyance. From the most frightening kinds of those dreams we awake with a cry in which our frightened will finds its immediate expression which, accordingly, certainly enters the world of sound in order to make itself known through it. If we, then, consider this cry in all its forms of intensity, including the more timid wailing of desire and as basic element of that indication to the (human) ear and if we have to find that it is the most immediate utterance of our will by means of which it turns most quickly towards the external world, then we should be less amazed about its immediate capability of being understood than about the formation of an art form out of this element since, on the other hand, it can be seen that articstic creativity as well as artistic perception can only emerge out of the turning-away of awareness from the impulses of the human will.
In order to explain this miracle, at first, we recall here the above-noted profound statements of our philosopher that we would also not be able to understand the ideas that can be grasped according to their nature, by objective perception, if we did not have another kind of access open to us to the essence of things that lie at its basis, namely the immediate awareness of ourselves. By means of this awareness alone, we are after all, solely able to again understand the inner essence of things outside of ourselves, and that in such a manner that we recognize in them the same basic essence which manifests itself in our self-awareness as its own self-awareness. All misconception with respect to this originated, after all, only in our seeing an external world outside of us, which we, through light’s reflection, perceived as something completely different from us; only by means of mental perception of ideas, thus by remote connection, do we arrive at the next stage of our disappointment with respect to the fact that we now no longer recognize the single entities that are separated by space but their essence as such, and it speaks to us most distinctively in the works of fine art, the actual element of which it, therefore, is to use the misleading appearance of the world that is spread out in front of us through light reflection by means of a most sophisticated play with that appearance for the presentation of the essence of it that is veiled by it. It is also in keeping with this that the seeing of objects per se actually leaves us uninvolved, and only out of our perception of the relationships of the viewed objects to our will does it affect us, due to which, quite rightly, for this art, the first aesthetic principle has to be that in the depiction of works of fine art, one has to evade those relationships to our will in order to provide, to the contrary, for our viewing that calmness in which only pure contemplation of the object as to its own character becomes possible. However, the effect here will always remain the appearance of things in the viewing of which we engage during the moments of our aesthetic contemplation without the involvement of our personal will. This calming effect in the pure appreciation of appearance is therefore also what is transposed from the effect on us of fine art to all art forms as a demand for aesthetic satisfaction per se, and, by virtue of this, has brought forth the concept of beauty as it, accordingly, is, in our language, pursuant to the root of the word, distinctly related to the appearance (as object) and contemplation or viewing (as subject).--
The awareness or consciousness that alone made possible to us in our contemplation of its appearance the grasping of the idea that is manifesting itself through it, however, ultimately, sees itself forced to explaim with Faust: “Welch Schauspiel! Aber ach, ein Schauspiel nur! Wo faß ich dich, unendliche Natur?” (What a performance! However, oh, only a performance! Where can I grasp thee, infinite nature?).
This calling-out is now most certainly answered by music. Herein, the external world speaks so incomparably comprehensible to us since it conveys to our hearing, by means of the effect of sound, quite the same which we, ourselves, call out to it from our innermost. The object of the perceived tone immediately meets with the subject of the produced tone: we understand, without any (necessity for) the explanation of any concepts, what the perceived cry for help, of wailing, or of joy says and right away respond to it accordingly. While the cry of despair or that of joy that we release is the most direct expression of the affect of our will, we also understand the same sound that reaches our ears unmistakeably as an expression of the same affect, and no confusion as in the viewing of an appearance in light, is possible here with respect to the fact that the basic essence of the external world is not completely identical with our basic essence, whereby the gap that is created in the viewing of an appearance is immediately closed.
If we, then, see art (as art form) arising out of this direct awareness of the unity of our inner essence with the external world, then it becomes, above all, clear that it has to be subject to quite different laws than any art form. So far, heretofore, all aesthetics have objected to the idea that, from such a purely pathological element, a real art from should be derived and they wanted to grant validity to it only from that point on at which its products presented themselves to us in a cool appearance that is akin to that of works of fine art. That its very element, however, as an idea of the world, does no longer have to be viewed and contemplated but rather is senses by our deepest consciousness, we immediately learned to realize with such great success from Schopenhauer, and we understand this idea as a direct revelation of the unity of the will which irrefutably presents itself to our awareness or consciousness, going out from the unity of the essence of man, also as unity with nature that we also perceive through sound.
We believe that enlightenment with respect to the essence of music as art form, as difficult as it is, can most securely be gained by means of the examination of the works and the creative process of the inspired musician. In many respects, these have to be totally different from those of other artists. Of that latter creativity we had to acknowledge that it must have been preceded by the free and pure contemplation of objects as it has to be evoked again in the viewer by the presentation of the art work. Such an object, which he is supposed to elevate to an idea by pure contemplation, does, to the contrary, not present itself to the musician, at all, since his music itself is an idea of the world in which it presents its essence directly, while, in the other art forms, it has to be presented after it has first been contemplated and grasped. It can not be understood otherwise than that the individual will that has been silenced in the fine artist by pure contemplation, awakens as a universal will in the musician and that actually only self-consciously recognizes itself as such beyond all contemplation. From this arise also the different states of the conceptualizing musician and of the creative fine artist as well as the basically different effects of music and of fine art. Here, deepest consolation, there, highest stimulation and excitation of the will: However, this says nothing but that here, the will of the individual is conceptualized as such, in his (owner’s) perception of his different essence from the essence of things outside of him, that will that is just rising up in the pure, un-interested contemplation of objects beyond its boundaries, contrary to which now there, in the musician, his will feels unified beyond all individual boundaries: since, due his hearing, there is opened up to him the gate through which the world reaches him. The immense overflowing of all boundaries of appearance has to necessarily evoke in the musician a delight that can not be compared to any other: in it, will recognizes itself as omnipotent will and as such it does not have to silently refrain from contemplation; rather, it loudly proclaims itself as the conscious idea of the world.—Only one state can surpass this: that of the saint, and that also because it is permanent and unsurpassable, contrary to which the blissful clairvoyance of the musician has to be exchanged with a recurring state of the individual awareness of the musician, which has to be considered all the more wretched as the enthusiastic state transports him higher above and beyond all boundaries of individuality. Out of this latter reason, for the suffering(s) with which he has to pay for his bliss and enthusiasm, in which he delights us so unspeakably, the musician should, again, appear to us more venerable than any other artist, nay, even with a right to sanctity since the complexity of his art is related to the of all other art forms In a manner that is similar to the relationship of religion and church.
We saw that, if, in the other art forms, the will desires to completely turn into realization, this is only possible insofar, as it silently remains in the individual’s deepest introspective: it is as if it was awaiting a message of salvation with respect to itself from the outside; if that is not sufficient to it, it and its owner transfer themselves into a state of clairvoyance in which the will is recognized as one and all of the world beyond the boundaries of time and space. What it saw here, cannot be conveyed in any language, (just) as the dream of the deepest sleep can only be translated into the language of a second, allegorical dream, that immediately precedes the awakening in order to enter conscious human awareness; the will creates for itself for the direct image of its self-contemplation a second mode of communication that, while it is, with one side, turned towards its inner contemplation, it touches, with its other side, the direct sympathetic communication, utterance or emergence of sound with the awakening of the re-energizing outside world. It calls out, and is the response it recognizes itself, again, as well: thus, to it, calling-out and response develop into a comforting, ultimately also again delightful play with itself.
In a sleepless night, I once stepped onto the balcony outside my window at the great canal in Venice: like a deep dram, the fairy-tale lagoon city lay stretched out before me in the shadow. Out of the most noiseless silence arose the powerful, harsh cry of a gondolier who had just awoken on his bark, a cry with which he called out into the night in repreated intervals until, from the farthest distance, the same cry answered along the nightly canal. I recognized the age-old, melancholy phrase, to which, in times past, also the verses of Tasso were recited, which as such, however, is certainly as old as the canals of Venice with their inhabitants. After some solemn intervals, this widely audible dialogue became more lively and appeared to be melting in unison, until, from near and from afar, the cries died down in a renewed slumber of those who uttered them. What could the brightly-sunlit, people-crowded daytime Venice tell me about itself that this nocturnal dream could bring to my awareness infinitely deeper and infinitely more immediately?—Another time, I walked through the sublime solitude of a high Alpine valley of (the Swiss Canton) Uri. It was a bright day when I, on a high Alpine pasture, heard the shrill and exuberant call of an Alpine herdsman that he sent out across the wide valley; soon, the same exuberant call answered it from there amidst the incredible silence: here, the echo chimed in from the high mountain slopes, and in this competition, the silent valley joyfully resounded.—Thus, the child awakens from the night of the womb with its cry of yearning and thus it is answered by its mother’s soothing caress, thus the yearning young man understands the call of the birds in the woods, thus speaks the wailing cry of animals, of the airs, the angry shout of the organs to the pondering man whom now befalls that dream-like state in which he perceives by hearing that with which his vision held him captive by the illusion of distraction, namely that his innermost essence is one with the innermost essence of all that he perceives and that only in this perception also the essence of that which is outside of him is actually recognized.
The dream-like state into which these described effects transpose (one) by means of sympathetic hearing and in which, due to this, that other world opens itself up to us out of which the musician speaks to us, we immediately recognize out of the experience that is accessible to everyone that through the effect of music, our vision is de-potentialized in such a manner that we no longer see intensively with our open eyes. We experience this in the concert hall while we listen to a truly moving composition, where the most distracting and most ugly as such occurs before our very eyes which would distract us from the music and put us into a completely ridiculous mood, were we to see it intensively, namely, besides the very trivial appearance of the demeanour of the audience as such, the mechanical movements of the musicians, the entire peculiarity of the movement of the musical apparatus of an orchestral production. That this sight which solely occupies him who is not moved by the music, yet, does not bother him who is completely involved into listening to the music, clearly shows us that we are no longer consciously aware of it and, to the contrary, with our open eyes, have moved into that state to which that of the somnambulistic clairvoyant is very similar. And, in reality, is is also only this state in which we directly become part of the world of the musician. From this world that cannot be described by any other means, the musician, so-to-say, casts his net into our direction by his arrangement of sounds, or even he, too, sprinkles our perceptive capabilities with the miraculous drops of his sounds in such a manner, that he, as if by magic, renders these perceptive capabilities incapable of perceiving anything else but that which we have become involved in perceiving from our deepest introspective.
If we want to gain some clear understanding with respect to the musician’s process, then we can do this best again only by coming back to the analogy of the same with the inner process by means of which, according to Schopenhauer’s so enlightening assumption, the dream of the deepest sleep that is so removed from the conscious, cerebral awareness, is so-to-say, translated into the lighter, allegorical dream that immediately precedes awakening. For the musician, the analogously considered language capability stretches from the cry of horror to the exercise of the calming play of harmonious sounds. Since he, in the application of the here abundantly prevalent nuances is virtually directed by his urge to arrive at an understandable manner of conveying of the innermost dram image, he approaches, like the second, allegorical dream, the concepts of the consciously aware (human) brain by means of which the latter ultimately can take hold of this dream image for itself. However, in this approach he only touches, as an external momentum, the concepts of that time which it conveys, during which he receives those of space behind that impenetrable veil, the lifting of which would immediately make his viewed dream image unrecognizable. While the harmony of tones that neither belongs to space nor to time remains the actual element of music, the now creating and creative musician of the consciously aware world of appearances virtually extends his hand out for the purpose of understanding as to how the allegorical dream attaches itself to the prevalent and common concepts of the individual in such a way that the conscious awareness that is turned toward the external world, even though it, too, immediately recognizes the great difference between this dream image and the process of real life, can, nevertheless, take hold of it. Through the mythical arrangement of tones, the musician comes into contact with the visible, plastic world, namely by means of the similarity of laws pursuant to which the movements of visible bodies convey themselves to us comprehensibly. The human gesture that seeks to make itself understood in dance by means of its expressively-changing motions that follow (certain) principles, appears, thus, to be that for music what bodies, again, are to light which, without refracting in their appearance, would not shine up, while we can say that without rhythm, music would not be perceptible to us. Precisely here, at the point of congruence between plastic appearance and harmony, however, the essence of music that can only be grasped by the analogy of the dram, shows itself very clearly as an essence that is completely different from that of fine art and, just as the latter expresses the gesture that it only freezes in space, music expresses the innermost essence of gesture with such immediate comprehensibility that it, as soon as we are filled with music, even become immune against the intensive perception of the gesture, so that we finally understand it without seeing it. If music, thus, even pulls the aspects of the external world that are most related to it, into its dream realm, that we have thus defined as such, then this only occurs in order to turn the contemplating realization by means of a wonderful transformation that happens to it virtually inward, where it is now enabled to grasp the essence of things in its most immediate expression, and thus to virtually explain the dream image which the musician has perceived, himself, in his deepest sleep.--
About the behaviour of music towards the plastic forms of the external world as well as about the things, themselves, hardly anything more enlightened can be stated than what we can read in that part of Schopenhauer’s work on the basis of which we turn from a superfluous remaining with it to the actual tasks of the investigations herein, namely to the exploration of the essence of the musician, himself.
We only have to pause for a moment in order to consider an important decision with respect to the aesthetic evaluation of music as art form, since we find that, from the forms of music with which it appears to from a connection to the external appearance, there has been derived quite a senseless and erroneous demand of the character of its expressions and conveyances. As it has already been mentioned before, there have been transferred to music concepts and opinions that stem only from the evaluation of fine art. That this confusion could happen, we have, in any case, to ascribe to the just-mentioned coming-into contact with and approach of music of the visible side of the world and of its appearances. In this sense, musical art has really gone through a process of development which subjected it to the ambiguity of its true character to such an extent that one demanded of it an effect that should be similar to that of the works of fine art, namely the evoking of a delight in beautiful forms. Since here, at the same time, an increasing decline of the judgment of fine art itself occurred with this, it can be easily imagined how music has been demeaned by it, if, what was basically demanded of it, was that it should completely suppress its own essence in order to stimulate our excitement by its showing to us (only) its outward appearance.
Music, which only speaks to us by brining to life for us the most general concept of that actual dark feeling in the most varying degrees imaginable, can, actually only be judged by the category of the sublime , since it, as soon as it fills us up with itself, it stimulates the highest ecstasy of our awareness of boundlessness. What, contrary to this, only occurs to us as a consequence of our sinking into contemplation of a work of fine art, namely the finally-won temporary liberation of the intellect from the service of our will which happens through our letting-go of the relationship of the contemplated object to our individual will, thus the demanded effect of beauty on our “emotional” frame of mind; music has this effect immediately at the first moment of its being played, by immediately detracting our intellect from any grasping of relationships of things outside of us and by virtually closing us off against the external world and, to the contrary, solely letting us turn to our introspective, like into the innermost essence of all things. According to this, a judgment with respect to any music would have to be based on the recognition of those laws pursuant to which the most immediate progression occurs from the effect of beautiful appearance, which is the first effect of music at the very instant of it being played, to the revelation of its most inherent character by means of the effect of the sublime. To the contrary, the character of an actually expressionless music that says nothing to us would be that which remains hovering around the prismatic play with its effects after its first beginning and thus would constantly retain us in those relationships with which the most superficial aspect of music turns towards the visible world.
In reality, a lasting development of music was only afforded to it towards this side, namely by means of a systematic structure of the design of its rhythmic periods which has, on the one hand, brought it close to being compares with architecture, and, on the other hand, given it a comprehensibility which had to expose it to the false judgment according to the analogy with fine arts. Here, in its outer limitation, by trivial forms and conventions it appeared to, for example Goethe, to be so fortunately adequate for the forming of poetic concepts. To be able to solely play with these conventional forms with the incredible possibilities of music in such a manner, that its actual effect, that of the conveying of the inner essence of all things can be evaded—just like the danger of flooding—has, according to the opinion of musicians, been the true and only favourable result of the development of music. To have ventured forward through these forms towards the innermost essence of music in such a manner that he was able to again reflect the inner light of the clairvoyant towards the outside in order to also only show these forms according to their inner meaning, that was the work of our great Beethoven. Whom we, therefore, have to consider as the true embodiment of the musician.--
If we want to conceptualize music for ourselves by means of holding on to the (already) often-used analogy of the allegorical dream, stimulated by a contemplation of the innermost, then we have to pre-suppose that the actual organ for this, lie the dream organ there, possesses a cerebral capability through which the musician, at first, perceives the inner “per se” that is closed off from all recognition and realization, an eye that is turned inward, which, turned towards the outside, becomes hearing. If we want to imagine for ourselves the innermost (dream) image of the world that he has perceived, then we can do this in a most instructive manner if we listen to one of those famous sacred works of Palestrina. Here, rhythm is still only perceptible through the change of chord sequences while it, without these, as a symmetrical time sequence as such, does not exist, at all; according to this, time sequence is still bound so directly to the actually timeless and space-less essence of harmony in such a manner that the help of the laws of time cannot be utilized for the understanding of such music. The time sequence that is only expressed in the most subtle change of a basic colour which presents to us the manifold nuances in the establishment of the record of its remotest relations to us, without our being able to perceive a delineation in this change. However, since this colour, itself, does not appear in space, we receive an image that is as timeless as it is also space-less, a completely spiritual revelation by which we are moved due to the fact that it makes us realize the innermost essence of religion, free from all dogmatic fiction of concepts, more explicitly than anything else, at the same time.
If we now recall to our minds a piece of dance music or a movement of an orchestral symphony that is based on a dance motive, or finally even an actual opera piece, we immediately find our fantasy fascinated by the regular arrangement of the repetition of rhythmic periods by which, at first, the intensity of the melody is shaped through the plastic form that is given to it. Quite rightfully, the music that has been developed along this path, has been described as profane in contrast to sacred music. On the principle of this development, I have commented precisely enough, elsewhere (I did so briefly and generally in an essay entitled “Zukunftsmusik” (Music of the Future) which has been published in Leipzig about twelve years ago  without, however, having been noticed) and therefore only summarize its tendency in the analogy with the allegoribal dream already referred to , herein, according to which it appears that the now awakened eye of the musician is attached to the appearances of the outside world insofar, as these become immediately understandable to him from their inner essence. The outer laws according to which this holding-on to gesture, ultimately on any motion process of life, fulfills itself become, in his creative process, those of rhythmical repetition by means of which he constructs the intervals of contrast and recurrence. The more that these intervals are now filled with the actual spirit of music, the less they will distract our attention as architectural markings from the pure effect of music. Contrary to this, wherever this sufficiently explained inner spirit of music is weakened in favor of this regular arrangement of pillars, only this external regularity will fascinate us, and, necessarily, we will lower our demands on music, itself, in our now only relating it to this regularity.—Through this, music is leaving its state of sublime innocence, it loses the power of deliverance from the guilt of appearance, which means that it is no longer proclaiming the essence of things, but rather, is interwoven into the illusion of things outside of us, itself, since, tho this music, one now also wants to see something, and this viewing, then, becomes the main purpose, as “opera” shows quite clearly, where the specacle, the ballet, etc., comprise the fascinating and attractive, which evidently ehough points out the decadence of the music that is used for this purpose.--
What has been stated thus far, shall now be made clear to us here by our looking at the process of development of Beethoven’s genius, whereby we, at first, in order to leave the generality of our presentation, have to take a look at the practical process of the development of the peculiar style of the master.--
The talent of a musician for his art, his predestination for it, can certainly not become apparent in any other way than by the effect on him of music-making outside of him. In what manner his capability for inner self-observation, that clairvoyance into the deepest reaches of space, has been stimulated in this, we only learn from his completely attained goal of his self-development, since he, until then, obeyed the laws of the effect of outer impressions on him, and for the musician, these are, at first, derived from the tone masters of his time. Here, we find Beethoven to the least extent stimulated by oeratic works, contrary to which, sacred works of his time were closer to him. The musical genre of the pianist which he, in order to “be somebody” as a musician, had to pursue, constantly brought him into closest and most familiar contact with the pianistic compositions of the masters of his era. In it, the “sonata” had developed as the pattern to be followed. One can say that Beethoven was and remained a sonata composer, since, for most of his – preferably – instruments compositions, their basic form of the sonata remained the arrangement of veils through which he looked into the realm of tones or also that through which he, merging from this realm, made himself understood to us, while other musical forms, particularly the mixed forms of vocal music, despite his most incredible achievements in them, were only touched by him in passing, as if in a trial manner.
The musical laws of the sonata form had been developed, valid for all times, by Emanuel Bach, Haydn and Mozart. They were the achievement of a compromise which the German musical genius formed with the Italian musical genius. Their outer character has been provided by the tendency of their application: with the sonata, the pianist presented himself before the public which he was supposed to delight and pleasantly entertain with his virtuosity, per se. This was now, no longer, Sebastian Bach who gathered his congregation in church around his organ, or the connoisseur and fellow musician, for the purpose of a musical competition; a deep gap separated the wonderful master of the fugue from the master of the sonata. By the latter, the art of the fugue was learned for the purpose of the solidification of their musical studies; however, only used as an artificiality in the sonata: the rough consequences of pure counterpoint made room for the comfort of stable eurythmics, to fill their pre-determined pattern(s) in the spirit of Italian euphonics appeared to be the only manner in which music could be done justice to. In Haydn’s instrumental music, we seem to observe the tamed demon of music playing before us in the child-like spirit of a born old man. Not unjustifiedly, one considers that Beethoven, in his early works, followed Haydn’s example and even in his more mature development of his genius, one believed that one has to consider him to be closer related to Haydn than to Mozart. With respect to the peculiar nature of this relationship, a remarkable trait in Beethoven’s behavior towards Haydns is very revealing, whom he did not want to acknowledge as his teacher—which Haydn was considered to be—and against whom he also allowed himself a few hurtful remarks in his youthful insolence. It appears that he felt related to Haydn in the way in which a born man feels related to the childish old man. Far beyong the formal similarity to his teacher, he was driven by the unruly demon of his inner music that was constrained by this form, to an expression of his force that, as all behavior of this incredible musician, could only express itself with incomprehensible roughness.—Of his meeting with Mozart, when he was still a yough, we are told that he had jumped up angrily from the piano after he had played a sonata for the master in order to present himself favourably, contrary to which he then, in ordeer to show his true talent, asked to be allowed to improvise freely and which he then, as we learn, did by leaving such an important impression on Mozart that the latter said to his friends, “of this one, the world will still get to hear!” This would have been a statement by Mozart at a time at which the latter, himself, matured towards the unfolding of his inner genius with distinct self-assurance, the urge of which, until then, had been delayed by incredible hindrances and aberrations based on the constraints of his wretchedly cumbersome existence as a musician. We know how he looked towards and foresaw his own all too early death with the bitterness of his knowledge that only now, he had arrived at the point at which he would have shown the world that he was actually capable of in music.
Contrary to this, we see Beethoven confronting the world with his spirit and temperament of defiance which kept him, throughout his life, almost wildly independent from it: his immense feeling of self-worth that was supported by his pride and courage, provided to him, at all times, a shield against the frivolous demands on music by the pleasure-seeking world. Against the importunity of an effeminate taste, he had to protect a treasure of immense (musical) wealth. In the same forms in which music was only supposed to present itself as pleasant art, he had to convey the revelations of an innermost contemplation of the world of tone. Thus, at all times, he appears like being truly posssed since, with respect to him, it holds true what Schopenhauer says of the musician per se: that he proclaims the highest wisdom in a language that his reason does not understand.
He confronted the “reason” of his art only in the spirit in which it had pursued the formal development of its outer structure. That was, then, quite a meagre reason that spoke to him through this architectural periodic structure when he learned that even the great masters of his youth moved in it with trivial repetition of phrases and conventionalities, with the precisely dictated contrasts of strong and soft, with the obediently prescribed grave and solemn introductions of so and so many measures, through the unavoidable gate of so and so many half-closes to the only possible redemption in the noise of the final cadenza. That was the reason which had constructed the operatic aria, which had dictated the sequence of opera pieces, through which Haydn chained his genius to the counting of the pearls on his rosary. After all, with Palenstrina’s music, religion also vanished from church, contrary to which, now, the articial formalism of the Jesuit practice counter-reformed religion as well as music. Thus, the same Jesuit architectural style of the last two centuries also covers up, for the thoughtfully contemplating observer, the reverently noble Rome, thus the glorious Italian art of painting was effeminated and disgustingly sweetened, thus developed, under its guidance, the “classical” French poetry in the mind-numbing laws of which we can find a quit pronounced analogy to the laws of the construction of the operatic aria and of the sonata.
We know that is was the “German mind” that is so feared and hated “across the mountains”, that stood up as a saviour everywhere, thus also in the realm of art, against this artificially-directed demise of the spirit of European nations. While we have celebrated, in other realms, our Lessing, Goethe, Schiller and others as our saviours from our demise in that depravity, then now is the time to prove with this musician Beethoven that through him, since he spoke in the purest language of all nations, the German mind saved the human spirit from deep shame. Since, in his elevating of music that had been degraded to the status of mere entertainment for pleasure, out of its very own essence, to the heights of its sublime calling, he has opened up to us the understanding of that art out of which the world explains itself to every awareness with a certainty with which only the most profound philosophy could explain it to that thinker who knows its concepts. And in this alone is based the great Beethoven’s relationship to the German nation, which we now also want to try to make clearer in the special traits of his life and work that have become part of our knowledge. –
About the manner in which the artistic process behaves towards construction on the basis of the concepts of reason, nothing can provide more enlightenment than a faithful recording and following of the procedure and manner which Beethoven followed in the unfolding and development of his genius. It would have meant to proceed according to the concepts of reason were he to consciously have changed or even cast aside the prevailing outer forms of music; of this, however, we never see a trace. Certainly was there never an artist who had thought as much about his art as Beethoven. Contrary to this, the already mentioned intensity of his human temper would be an indication of the kind of personal suffering that these outer form and constraints put on his genius and subjected him to. His reaction, on the other hand, only consisted of the exuberantly free unfolding of his inner genius that could not even be held in by those forms and constraints. He never basically or principally changed the forms of instrumental music that he found; in his late sonatas, quartets, symphonies, etc., the same structure as in his first can irrefutably be shown. However, if one now compares these works with each other, as for example the Eighth Symphony in F major with the Second Symphony in D major, one will be amazed at the entirely new world that confronts us there in almost the same form!
Here, there shows itself again the uniqueness of the German nature that is so richly and profoundly endowed in its innermost that it is capable of impregnating its essence on every form in re-shaping it from the inside and in being thereby saved from having to discard it. Thus, the German is not revolutionary, but reformatory (in his nature), and thus he preserves for himself, for the communication of his inner essence to the outside, a wealth of forms that no other nation has at its disposal. This profound inner source appears to have dried up in the Frenchman, due to which he, being frightened by the outer form of the state of affairs in his country as well as in his art, believes that he has to immediately proceed with their entire destruction, so-to-say in the assumption that the new, more comfortable form must shape itself quite automatically. Due to this, peculiarly, his protest is always directed against his own nature which does not show itself more profoundly than as it expresses itself in its frightening form. Contrary to this, the development of the German mind was not harmed by the fact that our poetic medieval literature received its nourishment from the transposition of French medieval subjects: the inner depth of a Wolfram von Eschenbach formed and shaped eternal types of poetry out of the same material that, in its original form, has only been preserved as a curiosity. Thus we amalgamated the classical forms of ancient Roman and Greek culture into our culture, adapted their language, the style of their poetry, were able to adapt the antique view, however, only by expressing our own mind through them. Thus we also received music in all of its forms from the Italians and what we formed into them, we now have before us in the amazing works of Beethoven’s genius.
An attempt at explaining these works, themselves, would be a foolish undertaking. In our successive examination of them, we have to become aware of an ever-increasing clarity of the musical genius with which they are endowed. It is as if we, in the works of his predecessors, have seen the painted transparent image in daylight and here, in delineation and colour were confronted with a pseudo-work-of-art that can obviously not be compared with the works of the real painter, belonging to a quite low art form; this was presented for the decoration of festivals, at princely dining tables, for entertainment in large company and the like, and the virtuoso put his artistry in front of it as the image that should be illuminated, instead of behind it. Now, Beethoven, however, places this image into the silence of the night, between the world of appearance and the deeply innermost one of the essence of all things, out of which now, after all, shines the light of the clairvoyant behind the image: now this comes to life before us in such a wonderful manner, and a second world stands before us of which even the greatest masterwork of a Raffael could not give us an idea.
Here, the power of the musician can not be grasped in any other way than by the imagination of magic. It is certainly a magical state into which we are transferred when we, in listening to a truly Beethovenish work of music, in which we, in a sober state, can only recognize a kind of technical suitability of the arrangement of form, now become aware of and sense a spiritual liveliness, sometimes tender, sometimes frightening activity, a pulsating swinging, rejoicing, yearning, fearing, moaning and delight which, again, only seems to be set in motion from the deepest recesses of your own innermost. For, the moment that is so important for art history in the musical creative process of Beethoven is this, that here, every technical accent of art by means of which the artist puts himself outside of any conventional behaviour towards the world, becomes elevated, itself, to the highest meaning as immediate outpouring. As I already expressed it elsewhere, there is no longer any addition, no framing of the melodic, rather, everything becomes melody, every voice of the accompaniment, every rhythmic note, nay, even every pause.
Since it is quite impossible to discuss the actual essence of Beethoven’s music without immediately falling into a state of entrancement and delight, and since we have already tried to educate ourselves more thoroughly with respect to the true essence of music as such [by which was to be understood Beethoven’s music in particular] through the guidance of the philosopher, then the personal Beethoven will have to fascinate us again (as our next step) as the focus of the beams of light of the world of wonders that emanate from him (if we want to refrain from pursuing the impossible).—
Let us, therefore, investigate where Beethoven gained this strength from or rather, since the secret of natural talent must remain hidden and veiled from us and since we have to assume this strength unquestioningly from the affect of its presence, we try to make it clear to ourselves through which peculiarity of his personal character and through which moral motivations of the same the great musician made the concentration of this strength towards this one incredible effort—that makes up his artistic achievement—possible. We realized that we have to rule out in this any assumption of a realization of reason through which, perhaps, the development of his artistic motivation might have been guided. Contrary to this, we will have to merely consider the manly strength of his character, the influence on the unfolding of the inner genius of the master of which we came to touch, very soon, in this.
Here, we immediately began to compare Beethoven with Haydn and Mozart. If we observe the lives of these two, then the result will be—if we, again, hold these against each other—a transition from Haydn through Mozart to Beethoven. Haydn was and remained the servant of a prince who had to provide entertainment for his glamour-loving lord, as a musician; temporary interruptions, such as his visits to London, did not change the character of his music to a great extent, since even there, he was always only the musician that was recommended to and paid by noble patrons. Submissive and devoted, the peace of his well-meaning, serene personality remained undisturbed into his old age; only his eyes that look at us from his portraits, are filled with soft melancholy.—Mozart’s life, however, was a constant fright for a peacefully-secured existence, as it would, peculiarly enough, remain difficult for him to attain. Hugged, kissed and spoiled as a child by half of Europe, as a youth, he finds every satisfaction of his vividly excited inclination agonizingly difficult to achieve, in order for him to merely drift towards his early death as a man. Immediately, his service for a princely master was unbearable to him: he seeks to make a living on the basis of the applause of the public-at-large, gives concerts and “academies”, that which he gained in hast was immediately sacrificed to his thirst for enjoyment of life. While Haydn’s princely master demanded ever-ready new entertainment, Mozart had to, not to any lesser degree, provide something new every day in order to attract the public, haste in the conceptualization and in the execution based on his acquired routine becomes a main source of explanation for the character of these works. Haydn wrote his truly noble masterworks as an old man, in the enjoyment of a comfort that had also been secured by his success abroad. Mozart, however, never attained that state: his most beautiful works were written in a state between the exuberance of the moment and the fear of the next hour. Thus, time and again, only a well-paying position with a noble patron would be a prospect for him with regards to the possibility of leading a life that would facilitate his artistic production. What his emperor withholds from him, a King of Prussia offes to him: he remains faithful to “his” emperor and, in turn, ends in squalor.
If Beethoven had made his lifestyle choice on the basis of mere reational decision-aming, this thus-arrived-at decision could not have guided him any more securely than his having, in actuality, the naïve expression of his inherent character. It is amazing to see how everything was decided here by a strong natural instinct. It speaks quite clearly in Beethoven’s shying-away from a life-tendency like that of Haydn. One look at the young Beethoven would also suffice, indeed, to distract every noble or princely patron from thinking of hiring him as a kapellmeister. More peculiarly, the complexity of his character traits shows itself in his features, chracter traits that saved him from falling prey to the same fate as Mozart. Quite like the latter, exposed to the world without any possessions of his own, a world in which the beautiful is only rewarded when it caters to enjoyment, in which, however, the sublime will not receive any reciprocation in kind, Beethoven found himself immediately excluded from it by his being unable to gain the world’s favor by means of mere beauty. That beauty and softness had to be synonymous to him, is immediately expressed in his physical constitution with amazing clarity. The world of appearances barely had access to him. His almost sinisterly piercing eyes did not notice in the outside world anything else but disturbances to his inner world, the fending-off of which seemed to comprise his only rapport with it. Thus tension becomes the main expression in his face, the tension of resistance holds his nose, his mouth, in check, a tension that could never be loosened in a smile, but only in enormous laughter. While there prevailed the physical axiom that such a highly intellectual talent, such a great brain, should be closed in by a tenderly thin skull, in order to quasi facilitate the immediate recognition of external things, several years ago, on the occasion of an investigation of the remains of Beethoven we could, to the contrary, observe that, in keeping with the extraordinary strength of his entire bone structure, the skull was also of unusual thickness and sturdiness. Thus, nature protected his brain from an extreme delicacy so that it was capable of only looking to the inside and that it could carry out a contemplation of the world by a great heart in undisturbed calm. What this terribly sturdy strength enclosed and contained was an inner world of such glowing tenderness that it would have softly melted away it if would have been exposed to the outside world without protection—like the delicate genius of light and love of Mozart.
Now one should consider how such a being, locked into the world from such a sturdy, protective shell! – Certainly, the inner affects of the will of this human being could never determine his concept of the outside world; they were too intense and too delicate at the same time in order from them to cling to any of these outside appearances, which his look could only pass by in shy haste and ultimately with the mistrust of the constant dissatisfaction. Here, nothing captivated him with that fleeting misconception or illusion which Mozart could still summon from his inner world after his enjoyment of outside distractions; a childish delight or pleasure in the distractions of a lively big city could hardly touch Beethoven since the impulses of his will were too strong in order for them to find the least satisfaction in such superficial, lively goings-on. While, out of these strong impulses, his tendency towards solitude took nourishment, then again the latter coincided with his destiny for independence. An admirably sure instinct guided him precisely in this and became his main motivation for the displayed tendencies of his character. No capability for realization at the level of his rreason could have guided him more clearly in this, than the irrefutable tendency of his instinct. What guided Spinoza’s consciousness or awareness to make a living as a glass polisher, what filled our Schopenhauer with the inexplicable traits of his character that were guided by his sorrow to ensure that he maintained his msall in heritance undiminishedly, namely, ultimately with the realization that the truthfulness and honesty of every philosophical investigation is seriously in danger by dependence on any activity towards the necessary acquisition of money: the same strengthened Beethoven in his resistance against the world, in his tendency towards solitude as well as in his almost rough tendencies that he displayed in the carrying out of his lifestyle choice.
In reality, Beethoven, too, had to earn a living by means of the profits of his musical work. Since he was, however, not enticed into developing for himself comfortable surroundings and a general state of comfort, the result of this was a lesser need for a quick, superficial working style as well as a lesser need for making allowances for public taste that could only be satisfied with the “leasing”. The more he thus lost his connection to the outside world, the clearer his focus was directed towards his inner world. The more confident he feels in the management of his inner wealth, the more consciously he makes his demands to the outside world and actually asks his patrons that they no longer merely pay him for his actually completed work, but rather that they make it possible for him that he can work, for himself without any considerations of the outside world. This truly happened here, for the first time in the life of a musician that a few well-disposed nobles obligated themselves to keep Beethoven independent in the manner that he demanded. At a similar turning point in his life, Mozart, exhausted too soon, had perished. The great and fortunate act, even if not uninterruptedly and undiminished, nevertheless, laid the foundation for the peculiar harmony that unfolded in the master’s peculiar life. He felt himself as a victor and knew that he would only have to belong to the world as a free man. This world had to put up with him as he was. He treated his noble patrons like a despot, and nothing could be had from him than that towards which he was inclined at any given moment and to any given extent.
However, he was never inclined towards anything but that which captivated him now: the play of a magician with the creations of his inner world, since the outer world became entirely dark for him now, not because blindness robbed him of the sight of it, but because deafness finally kept it from his ears. The ear had still been the only organ through which the world reached and disturbed him; for his eyes, it had long been dead. What did the delighted dreamer see when he walked through the hustle and bustle of the streets of Vienna and stared ahead with open eyes, only alive through the presence of the inner world of his tones?—The development and progression of his loss of hearing pained him terribly and evoked in him a melancholy; with respect to his completed, in particular with respect to his inability to listen to musical performances, we do not learn of complaints of any extent from him, only his communication with others became very difficult for him, which actually did not hold any attraction for him, and which he evaded with an ever-increasing decisiveness.
A deaf musician! -- Can one imagine a blind painter?
However, we know of a blind visionary. Like Teiresias to whom the world of appearances was closed off now and who, in turn, becomes aware of the essence of all appearance with his inner eye—the deaf musician is like him, now, who, undisturbed from the noise of life only listens to the harmonies of his innermost now, who speaks to this world only from his depth, from now on, a world that has nothing to say to him, anymore. Thus, the genius is freed from any outside influences, totally resting in himself, by himself. He who would have seen Beethoven with the “eyes” of Teiresias at that time, what miracle would have opened itself up to him: a world that was walking, by itself, among human beings: the ‘world as such’ as a walking human being!—
And now, the musician’s eye began to light up from inside. Now he also turned his eye on that appearance that, illumined by his inner light, in turn, again communicated with his innermost in wonderful reflex. Now, again only the essence of things speaks to him and shows him those in the calm light of beauty. Now he understands the forest, the brook, the meadow, the blue ether, the cheerful crowd, the loving couple, the singing of the birds, the drifting of the clouds, the raging of the storm, the delight of blissfully moved calm. There, all of his vision and creativity is filled with a wonderful serenity that only came into its own in music through him. Even the wailing, so intensely innate to all sounds, is calmed down to a smile: the world regains its childlike innocence. “You shall be in paradise with me, today!”—who would not hear this word of the saviour when he is listening to the “Pastoral Symphony”?
Now, his creative force of the incomprehensible, never-seen, never-experienced is growing which, however, through it, turns into the most immediate experience of visible comprehension. His joy of exercising this force turns into humour: all pain of existence breaks away in this incredible pleasure of his play with it, the world-creator Brahma laughs about himself since he realizes his own self-deception; his re-gained innocence jestingly plays with the sting of redeemed guilt, freed conscience teases itself with its overcome pain.
Never has art created something as delightful and serene for this world as these symphonies in A major and F major, with all those so closely related works of the master from this divine period of his complete deafness. The effect of these on the listener is this very liberation from all guilt, as much as the after-effect is the feeling of the knowledge of a lost paradise, with which we return to the world of appearances. Thus, these wonderful works preach remorse and repentance in the deepest sense of a divine revelation.
Here alone can be applied the concept of the sublime: since, after all, the effect of the serene, immediately goes far beyond all satisfaction through beauty. Every stubbornness of reason that is proud of its own realization immediately breaks up before the magic of the overwhelming force of our entire nature; realization flees with the confession of its error, and the incredible joy of this confession is that out of which we rejoice from the bottom of our souls, regardless of how serious the completely captivated countenance of the listener reveals to us his amazement in the face of this true world.—
What of the human nature of this world-removed genius could be retained for the contemplation of this world? What could the eye of the everyday person who would encounter him, still discern in him? Certainly only causes for misunderstandings, as much as he, himself, only communicated through misunderstandings with this world, with respect to which he, due to his naïve generosity, found himself in constant contradiction to and conflict with himself, a conflict which could only again be resolved on the most sublime plain of art, since, as far as his reason tried to understand the world, his mind and his personality that was associated with it felt, at first, reassured by optimistic views, in which he was raised in the enthusiastic humanistic tendencies of the last century as a genrally accepted concept of the bourgeois-religious world. Every emotional doubt out of his own life experience that he encountered against the veracity of these tendencies, he fought against with ostensible documentation of basic religious maxims. His innermost told him: love is God, and thus he decreed: God is Love. Only what touched those dogmas emphatically out of the works of our poets, received his applause; while Faust always strongly fascinated him, Klopstock and many a shallower troubadour of humanity actually appeared particularly venerable to him. His morality was of the strictest bourgeois exclusiveness; a frivolous mood had him fume with anger. Certainly, in this way, he did not offer even to the most considerate contact any trace of wit, and Goethe, in his conversations with him, in spite of Beetina’s soulful fantasies, must have had a difficult time with him. However, in the same manner as he, without any demands for luxury, anxiously watched his income with an intensity bordering on miserliness, the surest instinct is expressed in his religious morality, through the strength of which he preserved his most noble (possession), the freedom of his genius, against the enslaving influence of the outside world.
He lived in Vienna and only knew Vienna: that says enough.
The Austrian who, after the eradication of every trace of German Protestantism, was raised and educated in the school of Romanic Jesuits, had, himself, lost the right accent for his language which was presented to him now, like the classical names of the antique world, only in an un-German, strange pronunciation. German mind, German names and customs were explained to him out of the textbooks of Spanish and Italian origin; on the basis of a falsified history, a falsified science, a falsified religion, a population that was, actually good-natured, serene and cheerful, was educated to that scepticism that, since above all, was to undermine the holding-on to the true, genuine and free, which had to show itself as the actual frivolity.
This was actually the same spirit that had brought to the only art from that is practiced in Austria, the discussed training and, in actuality, debasing tendency that we had already discussed previously and rendered our opinion on. We saw how Beethoven saved himself from this tendency due to the powerful inclination of his nature, and now also recognize in him quite the same strengths and forces that are at work at saving him from a frivolous outlook on life and on the development of his mind. Having been baptized in the Catholic faith, through this attitude, there lived in him the entire spirit of German Protestantism. And this spirit also guided him again as artist on that path, on which he would meet the only companion in his art before whom he would bough reverently, whom he could integrate into his own nature as the revelation of the deepest secret. While Haydn is considered to have been the teacher of the young artist, the great Sebastian Bach was the guide of the powerfully unfolding artistry of Beethoven as a man.
Bach’s miraculous oeuvre became to him the Bible of his faith; in it, he read and forgot over it the world of sound that he no longer perceived, now. There it was written, the clue to the puzzle of his innermost dream, that the poor Leipzig Cantor had once written as eternal symbol of the new, other world. These were the same mysteriously intertwined lines with which, to the great Albrecht Dürer, the secret of the world and its figures that are illuminated by light was revealed, the book of magic of the necromancer who lets the light of macrocosm shine over microcosm. What only the eye of the German mind can see, only its ear could hear, what drove it, out of listening to its innermost, to the unavoidable protestation against all outer traits forced upon it, Beethoven now read clear and distinctly recognizable in his most sacred book and—was a saint, himself. –
However, how could this saint, again, behave towards his own sanctity, for life, since he was certainly enlightened “to pronounce the most profound wisdom, but in a language that his reason did not understand”? Did not his contact with the world have to only express the state of him who had awoken out of the deepest sleep who is desperately trying to remember his blissful dream? We may assume a similar state to be prevalent in the religious saint when he, driven by the dire needs of life, turns again towards performing those tasks of ordinary life: it is just that he takes up the dire needs of life distinctly as his chastisement and punishment for his own sinful existence and, in his patient suffering through them, enthusiastically sees his means for redemption, while the other holy visionary considers the meaning of this chastisement as a pain and bears the guilt of his existence merely as a suffering individual. The error of the optimist is now taking revenge by the increase of these sufferings and by his sensitivity towards them. Every insensitivity that he encounters, every trace of selfishness or hardness that he perceives again and again, outrages him as an incomprehensible debasement of the original goodness of man that he is holding on to in his beliefs religiously. Thus he constantly falls out of the paradise of his inner harmony into the hell of the terribly disharmonious existence, which he ultimately also only knows how to harmoniously dissolve as an artist.
If we want to let the image of a day in the life of our saint pass by before our eyes, then one of those miraculous tone works of the master, itself, might provide us the best mirror image for this, whereby we, in order not to deceive ourselves, only have to constantly hold on to the procedure with which we analogously applied to art the phenomenon of the dream, yet, did not identify it with it. Thus I choose, in order to really bring to life such a true Beethovenish day ot of its innermost processes, the great quartet in C-sharp minor which would hardly be possible while listening to it, since we, then, would instantly be forced to let go every distinct comparison in order to only perceive the immediate revelation of another world; however, this becomes possible to a certain extent if we only call this tonal work back to us from our memories. Even here, I have to leave it up to the fantasy of the reader alone to fill this image with life in its closer particulars, wherefore I shall only rely on a very general outline, here.
The longer introductory Adagio, probably the most melancholy musical statement that has ever been made, I want to compare with the awakening in the morning of this day “which, during its long course, shall not fulfill one wish, not even one!” Yet, at the same time, it is a prayer of repentance, a consulting with God in the belief in the eternally good. -- Here, the inward-directed eye only sees the comforting appearance that is recognizable to it (Allegro 6/8), in which the yearning turns into the sadly delightful play with itself; the innermost dream image comes to life in a most lovely memory. And now it is as if (with the transitional, short Allegro moderato, the master, aware of his artistry, prepares for his magical task; the re-livened strength of this magic of his own, he now exercises (Andante 2/4) in his drawing the image of a delicate figure in order to delight himself with it incessantly in a blissful witnessing of the deepest innocence in a constantly new, incredible metamorphosis, by means of the refractions of the eternal light that he sheds on it.
We believe to see this profoundly self-delighted artist to direct his delighted gaze towards the outside world (Presto 2/2): there, it is standing before him, again, like in the Pastoral Symphony; everything is illumined by his inner happiness; it is as if he is listening to the inherent sound of the appearances that move before him merrily and also roughly, in rhythmic dance. He observes life and appears to consider (short Adagio ¾) how he could begin to play his own dance tune to this life: a brief, yet serious pondering as if he was retreating into the deppest dream of his soul. Again, one glance has shown him the world’s innermost: now, he awakens and plucks the strings for a dance tune such as the world has never heard, before (Allegro, finale). That is the dance of the world, itself: wild longing, painful wailing and moaning, love’s delight, highest bliss, agony, raging, lust and suffering, lighting, flashes, thunders roll, and above it all that incredible musician who forces and contains everything, proud and secure, from whirl to whirl, towards the abyss:--he smiles about himself, since this magic-making was only a game to him, after all.—Thus, night beckons to him. His day’s work is done.—
It is not possible to hold on to the human being Beethoven for any contemplation without immediately referring to the wonderful musician Beethoven, again.
We saw that his instinctive life tendency coincided with the emancipatory tendency of his art, how he, himself, could not be a servant of luxury, thus also his music had to be freed of all characteristics of subordination to a frivolous taste. How, moreover, his religiously optimistic belief went hand in hand with an instinctive tendency towards the expansion of the sphere of his art, of this we have evidence of the most sublime naivete in his Ninth Symphony with its choral ending, the genesis of which we have to examine more closely here, in order to make clear to ourselves the miraculous cross-connections and interrelationships between the described basic tendencies of the nature of our saint.—
The same urge that guided Beethoven’s realization of reason towards constructing for himself the good human being led him to the creation of the melody of this good human being. To this melody, which had lost its innocence in the course of its being used by professional art musicians, he wanted to return this purest innocence. One just call to one’s mind the Italian opera melody of the last century in order to realize what entirely servile creature that catered to the fashion of the day and its purposes this peculiarly empty tone phenomenon was: through it and its applcation, this very music had been debased to such an extent, that the lustful taste always demanded something new of it, since yesterday’s melody was unbearable to listen to today. At first, however, also our instrumental music lived off this melody, the use of which for the not in the least noble societal purposes we already mentioned above.
Here, it was Haydn who soon resorted to the rough and endearing folk dance tune which he derived, often easily recognizable, from Hungarian peasant dances; with this, he remained in a lower sphere that was determined by its local character. Out of which sphere should this natural melody be taken, however, if it was to attain a nobler, eternal character? After all, this Haydnesque peasant dance tune fascinated more as a spicy peculiarity than as a purely human art type that could retain validity for all times. These melodies could, however, hardly be derived from the higher spheres of our society, since at these heights, there ruled the distortingly refined, richly ornamented melody of the opera singer and ballet dancer that was burdened with every guilt. Beethoven, too, took Haydn’s path, only, he no longer used the folk dance tune for entertainment at a princely dining table; rather, he played it in an ideal sense to the people, themselves. Here it is a Scottish, there a Russian, elsewhere an old French folk tune in which he recognized the dreamed-up nobility of innocence and at the feet of which he reverently laid his entire art. However, with a Hungarian peasant dance (in the final movement of his Symphony in A major), he played for all of nature so that, whoever would be able to dance to it, would have to believe that a new planet is being born before his very eyes, in whirlwind fashion.
However, the aim was to find the archetype of innocence, the ideal “good human being” of his faith in order to wed it to his “God is Love”. One might almost think that one already sees the master on this path in his “Sinfonia eroica”: the incredibly simple theme of its last movement which he also used elsewhere in other variations, appeared to have been intended to serve him as a basic structure for this, however, what he develops here in form of an enchanting melos still belongs too much to the peculiar Cantabile that he developed and expanded out of Mozart’s sentimental cantabile, in order for it to be considered an achievement in the sense as we just described it.—A more distinct trace of it can be heard in the joyful final movement of his C minor Symphony where the so simple march tune, almost only based on tonica and dominant, in the natural scale of the horns and trumpets, speaks to us all the more through its naivete, so that the preceding symphony now appears to us like a suspenseful preparation for it, just like the clouds that are moved by storm here, by soft winds there, and out of which now break forth sun’s mighty rays.
At the same time (here, we interject this apparent digression from the main topic as being of importance in its relationship to the object of our investigation), this C minor Sympony also fascinates us as one of the rarer conceptions of the master, in which painfully excited passion, as the basic mood at the outset of the word, swings itself up on the ladder of consolation, of elevation, to the outbreak of victorious joy. Here, the lyrical pathos almost steps onto the soil of ideal dramatics in a more definite sense, and, as it would appear doubtful as to whether, along this path, the musical conception would not already be spoilt in its purity since it would have to mislead us to the calling-up of concepts that would , as such, appear alien to the spirit of music, it can, on the other hand, not be denied that the master was not guided by a straying aesthetical speculation, but merely by an altogether ideal instinct that arose out of music, itself. This coincided, as we had shown at the outset of this last investigation, with his striving to perhaps save or re-gain, for man’s consiousness/awareness, faith in the original goodness of human nature against all objections of life experience that would merely have to be attributed to illusions and appearance.
The master’s conceptions, nearly all of which have been created in a spirit of most sublime serenity belonged, as we already saw here, predominantly to the period of his blissful solitude which appeared to have removed him from the world of suffering after the completion of his deafness. Perhaps we do not need to base the recurring painful mood in certain particular conceptions of Beethoven on our assumption that his serenity had left him, since we would be quite wrong if we wanted to believe that the artist was capable of conceptualizing anything in any other state than that of innermost serenity. The mood that is expressed in that conception must therefore belong to the idea of the world as such which the artist grasps and exemplifies in his work of art. While we, after all, assumed with certainty that the idea of the world reveals itself in music, then the conceptualizing musician is, above all, also contained in this idea and what he expresses is not his view of the world but the world itself in which pain and joy, well-being and pain change. Also the conscious doubt of the human being Beethoven was contained in this world, and thus he speaks out of it immediately, not as an object of reflection, when he, for example, expresses the world in a manner such as in his Ninth Symphony, the first movement of which, indeed, shows us the idea of the world in its most cruel light. Undeniably, however, on the other hand, precisely in this work reigns the deliberately organizing will of its creator, we encounter its expression directly, when he calls out the really spoken word, the real meaning of which is none other than “man is good, after all!”, to the raging of the despair that returns after every attempt at placating it, just like to him who wakes up from a frightening dream with a cry of fear.
From the outset, not only criticism, but also uninhibited observation had taken offence at the master’s, so-to-say, suddenly “falling out of his music”, his virtual stepping out of the magic circle that he had drawn in order to appeal to a capability of imagination that is entirely different than that of musical conception. In reality, this outrageous artistic process is like the sudden awakening from a dream; at the same time, however, we therefore sense the placating effect of it on him who had been utterly frightened by this dream, since never before did a musician allow his listeners allow to experience the pain of the world so cruelly and endlessly. Thus it was really a desperate leap with which the divinely-naïve master who was only filled with his magic thus entered into the new world of light from the soil of which the long searched-for, divinely-sweet, innocently-pure melody of humanity blossomed towards him.
Also with his above-described organizing will, that led him to this melody, we thus see the master constantly contained in music as the idea of the world, since, in reality, it is not the meaning of the words that captures us at the entrance of the human voice, but the character of this human voice, itself. It is also not the thoughts that Schiller expressed in his verses that captivate us from then on, but the familiar sound of the chorus which we feel invited to join in order to—as it actually happened in the great passion music works of S. Bach at the entrance of the chorale, with the congregation’s actually participating in the service. It is quite obvious that Schiller’s words, particularly in the main melody, have been inserted with little finesse, since, all by itself, carried only by the instruments, the melody developed before us in full breadth at first, and has filled us there with the nameless joy in the gained paradise.
Never has highest art brought forth something artistically simpler than this tune, the child-like innocence of which fills us with holy shudders when we, at first, perceive the theme in the most balanced whispering from the wind instruments to the strings. Now, it becomes the cantus firmus, the chorale of the new congregation, around which, like around the sacred chorale of S. Bach, the added voices are grouped contrapuntally: nothing is like this blissful intensity with which every added voice fills this archetypical tune of purest innocence up, until every adornment, every glory of heightened sensation is unified around it and in it, like the breathing world and a finally pronounced dogma of purest love.—
If we take a look at the art-historical progress that music has made through Beethoven, then we can sum him up as the gaining of a capability which one had to previously deny art: by means of this capability, it has stepped far beyond the realm of the aesthetically beautiful into the sphere of the truly sublime, in which it is really freed from every constraint by traditional or conventional forms by means of complete penetration and enlivenment of these forms with music’s very own spirit. And this gain or achievement shows itself immediately to every human mind by the character with which the main form of all music, melody, has been endowed by Beethoven, as which now, the highest natural simplicity has been regained as the source out of which, at any time, and for every need, melody renews itself and nourishes itself up to the highest, richest diversity. And this we may summarize by one term that is understandable to all: through Beethoven, melody has been emancipated from the influence of fashion and changing tastes, and elevated to the eternally valid, pure human type. Beethoven’s music will be understood at any time, in all eras, while the music of his predecessors will, to a large extent, remain understandable only through the help of the medium of art-historical reflection.—
However, also another progress will become evident along the path on which Beethoven has achieved the decisive ennoblement of melody, namely the significance which vocal music now receives in its relationship to instrumental music.
This significance was alien to the previous mixed vocal and instrumental music, which we heretofore mainly found in sacred musical works, we may, at first, without hesitation, consider a debased vocal music, inasmuch as here, the orchestra is only used as fortification or also as accompaniment to the singing voices. The sacred compositions of the great S. Bach can only be understood by considering the chorus, only that here, it is already treated with the freedom and flexibility of the instrumental orchestra, which automatically and naturally resulted in the inclusion of it for fortification and support. Nest to this combination we find, in the course of an ever-increasing demise of the spirit of sacred music, the inclusion of Italian operatic vocal music with orchestra accompaniment in the styles that were in favour at any given time. It was left up to Beethoven’s genius to use this artificial complex that was formed out of these combinations, purely in the sense of an orchestra of heightened capability. In his great Missa Solemnis, we have before us a purely symphonic work of the purest Beethovenian spirit. Here, the human voices are, quite in this spirit, treated like human instruments, a role which Schopenhauer quite correctly wanted to have solely ascribed to them: the inserted text, particularly in these sacred works, is not considered from its literal meaning; rather, it serves, in the sense of a musical work of art, only as material for the voices and, due to this, does not act as a distraction to our musically-oriented perception, since it does not stimulate any concepts of reason in us, but rather, as this is also caused by its church character, touches us only with the impression of well-known formulas of faith.
Through the experience that music loses nothing of its character when different texts are used with it, on the other hand, the relationship of music to poetry becomes clearer as an entirely illusory one: after all, it is confirmed that, when it is sung to music, not the poetical thought which, in choral pieces, will not even be heard in clear articulation, but, at the most, that of it will be perceived what it stimulated in the musician as music, to music. A unification of music and poetry must therefore, necessarily, lead to a putting into a lower place of the latter so that it is, again, amazing when we see that our great German poets pondered or even challenged the problem of unification of both art forms. In this, they ware apparently guided by the effect of music in opera: and, indeed, only here appeared to be an area in which this had to lead to a solution of the problem. While the expectations of our poets might have been related, on the one hand, to the formal balance of its structure, on the other hand, more to the deep emotional stimulation of music, it always remains evident that they could only think of using the powerful support offered here, in order to furnish the poetic intention with both a more precise and deeper-reaching expression. They might have thought that music would be able to gladly perform this service for them if they were to provide it with a seriously meant poetic conception instead of a trivial opera subject and text. What always prevented them from pursuing serious attempts in this direction might have been an unclear, yet correctly guided doubt as to whether poetry as such will still be paid attention to in its connection with music. By carefully considering this it could not escape them that, in opera, next to music, only the scenic procedure, but not the explanatory thought process behind it, will captivate the attention, and that opera actually only attracts either one’s hearing or one’s viewing interest. That there could not be gained a perfect aesthetic satisfaction for either the one or the other receptive capability, is obviously explained by what I already referred to above, namely that opera music did not put listeners into the attentive mood that was singularly adequate for music in which vision is depotentialized to such a degree that they eye no longer perceives objects with the usual intensity, contrary to which we just had to find that we here, only superficially touched by music, are more agitated by it than filled with it, now also demand to see something—however, not in the least, anything to think about, since, for this, we were—due to the interaction between these two demands for entertainment, as a consequence of a distraction that was actually only fighting boredom—robbed of this capability.
With the above considerations and deliberations, we have become familiar enough with Beethoven’s specific nature, in order to immediately understand the master with respect to his behaviour and attitude towards opera when he most decidedly refused to ever compose an opera the libretto of which was based on a frivolous tendency. Ballet, stage spectacles, fire works, lustful love intrigues—to write music to that, he refused with disdain. His music should be able to totally penetrate an entire, nobly passionate plot. What poet would have been able to lend him a hand in this? A once-started attempt brought him in contact with a dramatic situation that did, at least, not have anything frivolous about it, and above that, really suited the master’s guiding humanitarian dogma well with its glorification of womanly virtue and faith. And yet, this opera subject also entailed so much that was alien to music and could not easily be assimilated with it so that, actually, only the great Leonore overture really makes it clear how Beethoven wanted this drama to be understood. Who will listen to this captivating tonal work without becoming convinced that the music also contained within it the most perfect drama? What else but an almost stubborn weakening of the drama experienced in the overture is the text of the opera “Leonore”, just as, for example, a boring explanatory comment by Gervinus on a scene by Shakespeare?
This perception that forces itself onto every feeling, however, can become a completely clear realization to us when we go back to the philosophical explanation of music, itself.
Music that does not depict the ideas that are contained in the appearance of the world but rather is itself, and, at that, a comprehensive idea of the world, includes drama as a matter of course, since drama, again, itself, expresses the only idea of the world that is adequate to music. Drama surpasses the boundaries of poetry quite in that manner as music those of every other (art form), in particular those of fine art in that its effect lies solely in the sublime. As (much as) drama does not describe human characters but rather lets them directly portray themselves, in the same manner, music, in its motives, presents to us the character of all appearances of the world as to their innermost “as such” (per se). The movement, arrangement and change(s) of these motives are not only, analogously, solely related to drama; rather, drama that presents the idea can, in reality only be completely and clearly understood through these thus-moving, forming and changing motives. Therefore, we should not be wrong if we wanted to recognize in music the “aprioristic” capability of man for the creation of drama, as such. As we construct for ourselves the world of appearances through the application of the laws of space and time, which are “aprioristically” pre-formed in our brains, this again conscious presentation of the idea of the world in drama would, gain, be pre-formed by those inner laws of music which make themselves known as unconsciously in the dramatic writer as those also unconsciously applied laws of causality for the apperception of the world of appearances.
The sensing of this was, after all, what captured our great German poets, and, perhaps they also expressed in this hunch, at the same time, the mysterious reason of the inexplicability of Shakespeare that prevails, otherwise. This incredible dramatic writer could really not be understood by any analogy or comparison with any other poet, due to which any aesthetic judgment with respect to him has remained without any basis, to this date. His dramas appear as such an immediate image of the world that its artistic conveyance by means of the presentation of the idea can not be perceived and particularly not critically proven, due to which they, as products of a super-human genius, are received with amazement and thus, to our great poets, almost in the same manner as natural laws, became their course of study for the finding of the laws of their production.
How far Shakespeare was at his own level, far above the actual poet, expresses itself in the incredible truth of very trait of his character depictions, strikingly enough, every ofeten, when the poet as, for example, in the scene of the argument between Brutus and Cassius (in “Julius Cesar”) is almost treated like something trivial, contrary to which we meet the actual “poet” Shakespeare mowhere else than in the very character of the persons that move before us in his dramas.—Therefore, Shakespeare remained completely incomparable until the German genius brought forth a being that can only be explained in an analogous comparison to him, in Beethoven.—Let us sum up the complex of the world of Shakespeare’s characters with the incredible clarity of the dramatis personae contained in them and touching each other, in an overall impression on our innermost sensations and feelings, and let us hold next to this the same complex of the world of Beethoven’s motives with their irrefutable clarity and certainty, then we must realize that one of these worlds is completely identical with the other, even though they certainly appear to be moving in two different spheres.
In order to make this concept easy for us to understand, we call to our minds the example of the Coriolan overture in which Beethoven and Shakespeare treat the same subject. Let us recollect our memory of the impression that the figure of Coriolan made on us in Shakespeare’s drama, and let us, of the details of the complicated plot, only call to our minds that which should remain impressive to us with respect to its being related to the main character, so that we, out of the confusion, see the figure of the defiant Coriolan in his conflict with his innermost voice emerge, which, again, speaks more impressive and luder to his pride out of his own mother, and let us only hold on to his overcoming of his pride through that voice, to the breaking of the defiance of a nature that was over-abundantly endowed with strength, as dramatic development. For his drama, Beethoven only chooses these two main motives, which lets us sense the inner essence of these two characters with greater certainty than any explanation by means of concepts. Now, let us follow attentively the motion that develops out of this only confrontation of these motives that only belongs to its own musical character and let, again, only the purely musical detail that includes the nuances, interrelationships, tangents, moving-apart and accelerations of these motives, impress upon us, and thereby, at the same time, we follow a drama which, in its peculiar expression, contains all that captivated us in the stage drama as a complicated plot and frictions(s) of also its minor character. What moved us there as an immediately presented course of action that we almost experienced directly, ourselves, we grasp here as the innermost core of this plot or course of action, since there, it was determined by the characters that impressed us like natural forces as here, we are impressed by the motives of the musician that work in the characters and are identical with them as to their innermost essence, only that in that sphere, those and in this sphere, these laws of expansion and movement prevail.
When we called music the revelation of the innermost dream image of the essence of the world, then we should consider Shakespeare as the Beethoven who continues his dream in an awake state. What keeps their spheres apart are the formal pre0considitons of the laws of apperception that work in them. According to this, the most perfect form of art would have to be formed at that borderline at which those laws can touch each other. What makes Shakespeare as incomprehensible and as incomparable as he his is that the forms of drama that still determined the plays of the great Calderon with a conventional stiffness as veritable artist’s works, have been filled with so much life that they appear to be completely removed from nature to us; no longer do we believe to see artificially formed, but rather real human beings before us, whereas they, on the other hand, also appear so miraculously distant from us that we have to consider an actual, real contact with them as impossible as if we had ghostly apparitions before us.—When Beethoven now is completely equal to Shakespeare in his behaviour towards the formal laws of his art and in the liberating penetration of the same, then we should hope to be able to describe the hinted-at borderline and transition point between those mentioned spheres most clearly when we, once again, summon our philosopher as our immediate guidance, and that in such a manner that we return to the aim of his hypothetical dream theory, the explanation of the ghostly appearances.
Here, the essential point would, at first, not be the metaphysical but rather, the physiological explanation of the so-called “second vision”. There, the dream organ was considered as working in that part of the brain that is, analogously, stimulated by the impressions that are occupying the activity of the organism during the deep-sleep phase of the individual, as the now completely resting, outward-directed part of the brain that is directly connected to the sensory organs by impressions received from the outer world, received in the awake state of the individual. The dram message that has been conceptualized by this inner organ could only be transmitted by a second dram that immediately preceded the individual’s awakening, which would only convey the true content of the first dream, in allegorical form, since here, in the prepared and finally occurring complete awakening of the brain, towards the outside, the forms of realization of the world of appearances as to time and space had to be applied, already, and that, thus, an image that is certainly related to general life experiences, had to be constructed.—Now we compared the work of the musician to the vision of the clairvoyant somnambulist, as the immediate image of his innermost dram of truth viewed by him and now, in his excited state of clairvoyance, turned to the outside, and found the channel to this, his communication and conveyance, on the path of the development and formation of the world of tones.—To this phenomenon of somnambulistic clairvoyance that is attracted physiologically here, we now hold the other phenomenon of ghostly visions and apparitions and, in this, we use again Schopenhauer’s hypothetical explanation according to which this is supposed to be a clairvoyance that occurs in the awakened state of the brain, namely in such a manner that this occurs on account of a depotentialization of one’s clear vision of the awakened state, the now clouded or veiled state of which the inner drive uses for the conveyance and communication to the awareness and consciousness that is right next to the awakened state in order to clearly present to it the form that had appeared to it in its innermost dream of truth. The form that has thus been projected from the innermost to the eye does, in no way, belong to the real world of appearances, and yet, to him who perceives this ghostly vision or form, it is alive with all the characteristics of a real being. Next to this extraordinary and only seldom occurring projecting of the image that is only viewed by him, we now hold the of Shakespeare in order to explain the latter to ourselves as the ghost-seer and conjurer who knows how to project the images of human beings of all times out of his innermost contemplation before his own and our awakened eyes so that they really appear to be alive to us.
As soon as we take hold of this analogy with all of its consequences to the fullest, we may desribe Beethoven, whom we compared to the clairvoyant somnambulist, as the working “underground” or basis of the ghost-seeing Shakespeare: what Beethoven’s melody brings forth also projects the Shakespearean ghost images, and together, they will move on to expressing the same essence if we let the musician, in his stepping into the world of sound, also step into the world of light. This would happen analogously to that physical process which, on the one hand, becomes the basis for the ability to see ghostly images and, on the other hand, brings forth somnambulistic clairvoyance and of which it has to be assumed that an inner stimulation penetrates the brain in a reverse manner that the outer impression does in the awakened state, thus from the inside to the outside, where it ultimately meets and determines respectively influences the sensual organs to perceive that on the outside which has come forth as object from the inside. However, now we confirm the irrefutable fact that, in the concentrated listening to music, vision is depotentialized in such a manner that it would no longer perceive objects intensively: thus, this would be the state that has been stimulated by the innermost dream world that made possible the appearance of ghostly visions and apparitions due to the depotentializing of vision.
We can apply this hypothetical explanation of an otherwise inexplicable physiological process from the most varying sides to the explanation of the artistic problem that lies before us now in order to arrive at the same result. The ghostly apparitions of Shakespeare would be turned into sound by the complete awakening of the inner musical organ, or also: Beethoven’s motives would spurn the de-potentialized vision on to the clear perception of those apparitions in the form of which these now move before our clairvoyant eyes. In the one as well as in the other of the actually identical cases, the incredible force that moved here against the order of the laws of nature in the described manner of the formation of the appearance from the inside to the outside, would have to be brought forth out of a deepest need, and this need would probably be the same that, in ordinary life, brings forth the cry of fear out of the beleaguered dream vision of him who just awakens from deep sleep, only that here, in the extraordinary, incredible case of the formation of the life of mankind’s genius, this need leads to the awakening in a new world of the brightest realization and the highest capability that can only be unveiled through this awakening.
However, we experience this awakening in the peculiar transition from instrumental to vocal music that has remained so objectionable to common aesthetical criticism, from the explanation of which we went out, in the discussion of the Ninth Symphony as well as to this extensive investigation. What we feel here is a certain abundance, a being forced to an emptying-out towards the outside, quite comparable to the urge after our awakening from a deeply frightening dream, and the important factor for mankind’s enjoyment of art is that here, this urge evoked an artistic act through which to this genius is led a new capability, the capability of producing the highest form of art.
Of this work of art we have to assume that it must be the most perfect drama, thus one that lies far beyond the actual art of poetry. With respect to this we may conclude that we recognized the identity of the Shakespearean and the Beethovenian drama, of which we, on the other hand, have to assume that it is related to “opera” in the same way as a play of Shakespeare is related to an ordinary literary drama and a Beethovenian symphony to opera music.
That Beethoven, during the course of his Ninth Symphony, simply returns to the formal choral cantata with orchestra, should not confuse us in our evaluation of that peculiar transition from instrumental to vocal music; we have evaluated the importance of this choral part of the symphony before and have recognized it as belonging to music’s very won realm: in it lies, besides an initially treated refinement of the melody, nothing formally outrageous for us, it is a cantata with text to which the music enters into no other relationship than to any other text for vocal music. We know that it is not the words of the poet, and be this Goethe’s and Schiller’s words, that can determine music; drama alone can do that, and, at that, not the dramatic poem, but the drama that really moves before our eyes, where word and speech belong to the action alone, but no longer to the poet’s thoughts or concepts.
Thus, not the work of Beethoven, but the incredible artistic act of the musician that is contained in it, is what we have to note as the zenith of the unfolding of his genius in that we declare that the work of art that is inspired by this act would also have to offer the most perfect art form, namely that form in which both for the drama and, especially also for music, every conventionality would have to be eliminated. This would then, at the same time, also be the only art form that would be entirely equivalent to the so strongly individualized German spirit that has found expression in our great Beethoven and that has also been created by him as a purely human and yet also very much his own new art form that has, heretofore, been missing in our newer times as opposed to the antique world.
He who will be persuaded by the views that I expressed here, with respect to Beethoven’s music, will not be spared from being considered a fantastic and eccentric individual, and this criticism will not only be made of him by today’s educated and uneducated musicians who have experienced the dream image we referred to mostly only in form of Zettel’s dream in the Midsummernight’s dream, but particularly also by our literary poets and even by fine artists insofar as these are even concerned with questions that do not touch their own spheres. However, it should be easy for us to resolve to bear this criticism calmly, even if it is made with disdain, nay even with a kind of disregard and disrespect, bordering on insult, since we can understand that these (critics) can, at first, not see what we have realized, whereas they, in the best of cases, can only realize as much of its as should be necessary in order to explain to them their own un-productivity, that they, however, shrug back from their realization, must, on the other hand, not remain incomprehensible to us.
If we consider the character of our present literary and artistic scene, then we discern a remarkable change that has taken place within one generation. There does not only prevail “hope” but a high degree of certainty that the great period of German re-birth with its Goethe and Schiller, is viewed with a certain “well-tempered” disregard. One generation ago, this was quite different: that time professed to be far more critical, called its “Zeitgeist” (spirit) to be quite “bookish” and believed that it could accord even to fine arts a reproductive effect in the combination and use of traditional forms that were devoid of any originality. We have to assume that in those days, one saw things with more honesty and also expressed oneself more honestly than is the case today. However, in those who, in spite of the confident behaviour of our literates and literary creators and other artists who share this official “Zeitgeist”, would share the views of the past generation even today, we could hope to find more understanding if we want to put the incorprable importance that music has gained for the development of our art, into the right light, for which purpose we have to turn from a predominant contemplation of the inner world as it was occasioned by our investigation up to this point, to our considering the outer world in which we live and under the pressure of which this inner essence empowered itself to the acquisition of its own force that is reacting to the outside.
In order for us not to become trapped in the labyrinth of a widely-spun net of cultural history, we immediately take note of a characteristic trait of the spirit of our times.--
While German armed forces are advancing victoriously towards the center of French civilization, suddenly, there arises here a feeling of shame with respect to our dependency on this civilization and steps forward as a public demand to take off or discard Parisian fashions. Thus, that which our sense of aesthetic propriety not only suffered and tolerated for so long without any protest but which our public opinion has also emulated hastily and eagerly finally appears objectionable to our patriotic feeling. What did a glance at our public life, indeed, tell the creative mind, a public life that, on the one hand, only provided material for the cartoons of our satirical appears while, on the other hand, our poets continued unperturbedly to congratulate and praise the “German woman”?—We are of the opinion that no word of enlightenment has to be said with respect to these peculiarly complicated phenomena.—However, perhaps these can be seen as a passing evil: one could expect that the blood of our sons, brothers and husbands, shed on the most murderous battlefields of history for the most sublime ideas of the German mind, should at least redden the cheeks of our daughters, sisters and wives with shame, and suddenly, the most noble need would have to awaken their pride not to present themselves to their men as the most ridiculous caricatures, any more. In honor of our German women we now also want to gladly believe that they will be moved by noble motivations in this respect, and yet, everybody will have had to laugh when he took note of the initial requests put to them to adopt a new style of clothing. Who did not sense that this could only refer to a new and presumably very clumsy kind of masquerade? After all, it is not a coincidental caprice of our public life that we are subject to the rule of fashion, as much as it is very well founded in the history of modern civilization that the whims of Parisian taste dictate the laws of fashion. In reality, French taste, i.e. the spirit of Paris and Versailles, has been the only productive ferment of European education for two hundred years; while the spirit of no other nation was capable of developing forms of art, the French spirit, at least, produced the outer form of society and, to this day, also fashion(s).
While these may be undignified phenomena, they do, at least, reflect the French mind adequately, they express it as distinctly and as immediately recognizable as the Italians of the Renaissance era, the ancient Romans and Greeks, Egyptians and Assyrians expressed themselves in their forms of art; through nothing do the French show us more clearly that they are the ruling nation of today’s civilization than by the fact that our fantasy immediately stumbles upon the ridiculous when we imagine (for ourselves) that we could merely emancipate ourselves from them by emancipating ourselves from their fashion(s). We immediately realize that “German fashions” that we would hold up against French fashions would be something utterly absurd and, since our feelings will again revolt against such a supremacy, we have to ultimately realize that we are subject to a true curse from which only a profound re-birth would save us. Our very essence and nature would, therefore, have to change to such a degree that the concept of fashion itself would have to become totally meaningless for the development and formation of our outer lives.
With respect to the question as to what this re-birth would have to be comprised of, we can only draw the most careful conclusions after we will, first, have investigated the reasons for the deep decline of the public taste in art. Since the application of analogy already guided us with some luck with respect to the main topic of our investigations in the reaching of conclusions that would have been difficult to arrive at, otherwise, we will again attempt to move into a seemingly remote area of investigation en route which we might, at least, gain a rounding-off of our views with respect to the plastic character of our public life.—
If we want to imagine a true paradise of productivity of the human mind then we have to think ourselves back into the days before the invention of writing and of its use in recordings on parchment and apper. We will have to find that here, all of cultural life as such, was born that now is only preserved as an object of reflection or of adequate application. Here, poetry was nothing else but the invention of myths, i.e. of ideal processes in which human life was reflected according to its varying character with objective reflections. We see this capability as having existed in every noble-minded people until the use of writing reached these people. From then on, its respective poetic power vanishes, its hitherto lively development of its language in a natural process moves into the crystallization process and becomes fixed, the art of poetry is transformed into the art of the adornment and illustration of the old myths that no longer have to be invented now and ends up as rhetoric and dialectics.—Now, let us consider the transition from writing to printing. The precious, hand-written book, the head of the family read to his family, to his guests; now, however, everyone reads by themselves, for themselves, out of the printed book, and the writer writes for the readers now. One has to call back to one’s mind the religious sects of the reformation period, their disputes and their treatises and pamphlets in order to gain insight into the raging of insanity that had taken hold of the minds of the humans that became obsessed by letters and the printed word. One can assume that only Luther’s wonderful chorale saved the healthy spirit of reformation since it shaped people’s feelings and thereby healed the letter-sickness of the brain(s). However, at this time there was still an opportunity for the genius of the people to communicate with the printers, no matter how awkward and inadequate this conversation might have appeared to it; however, with the invention of the newspapers, ever since the complete development of journalism, this good spirit of the people had to retreat from public life, entirely, since from then on, only opinions ruled, namely “public opinions”; these can be had for money just like public whores: whoever keeps a newspaper, had, next to the paper and the printed ink on it, also bought himself an opinion; he does not have to think for himself, anymore, let alone ponder or contemplate; on black and white, everything has been thought out for him, already what he should think of God and the world. Thus also the Parisian fashion journal tells the “German woman” how she should dress, since the Frenchman has completely earned the right to tell us what we should think of such matters, since he has elevated himself to the actual illustrator of our journal and newspaper world.
If we hold on to the transformation of the poetic world into a world of journalism next to that transformation that the world has experienced with respect to form and colour, we look at an identical result.
Who would be as presumptuous as stating of himself that he would really be capable of gaining or having gained a realistic idea of the greatness and divinely sublime character of the plastic world of ancient Greece? Every glance at a single fragment of its preserved remnants lets us sense with awe that we stand before a life here for the judgment of which we can not even find the least kind of an approach. That world has earned itself the privilege of teaching us how the remainder of earthly life could be somewhat bearably designed, even out of its fragments and remnants, for all times. We have to thank the great Italians for having put new life into this lseeon by nobly guiding it over into our newer world. This highly talented nation that is so richly endowed with fantasy we see being completely consumed by its passionate fostering and preservation of this classical ideal; after a wonderful century it steps out of history like in a dream which is now taken hold of by an apparently related people by mistake as if it wanted to see what could be extracted out of it with respect to form and colour. A clever statesman and Prince of the church tried to inoculate the French mind with Italian art and education, after the Protestant spirit had been completely eradicated in this nation; it had seen its noblest heads roll and what was spared from the “bloody wedding of Paris” was finally carefully burnt out, down to its last roots. With the rest of the nation, one proceeded in an “artistic” manner now; however, since it was lacking or robbed of every fantasy, productivity never wanted to show itself and they literally remained incapable of crating even one work of art. What turned out better was the attempt of turning the Frenchman into an artificial human being, himself; the artistic imagination that his fantasy could not be enriched with could be turned into an artificial presentation of man, himself. This could even be considered “antique”, namely when one assumed that man as such has to be an artist, himself, before he would bring forth works of art. If now an adored, gallant King set the right example with his incredibly delicate posture in each and everything, then it was easy to bring the entire nation to the acceptance of gallant manners on the descending climax via the courtiers, in the observance and practice of which the Frenchman, once they had become second nature to him, could deign himself justified to elevate himself above the Renaissance Italian insofar as the latter had only created works of art while, to the contrary, the Frenchman had become a work of art, himself.
One can say that the Frenchman is the product of a special art of expressing himself, of moving and of dressing. His law for this is “taste”—a word that has been directed towards an intellectual tendency from the lowest sensual function, and with this taste, he tastes himself, namely in the manner in which he has prepared himself, as a tasty gravy. Undoubtedly he has achieved virtuosity in this: he is “modern” through and through, and when he presents himself in such a manner for imitation, it is not his fault that he is imitated clumsily; contrary to which it will always be c compliment to him that he is only original in that in which others feel urged to imitate him.—Accordingly, this man is completely “journal”, to him, fine arts as well as music are a subject of “feuilleton”. The first he, as a completely modern man, has arranged for himself in the same style as his clothes in, which he purely goes by the craving for novelty, i.e. constant change. In this, furniture is the main aspect, to which the architect constructes the building surrounding it. The tendency according to which this occurred was, at least up to the great revolution, still original in the sense that it adapted itself to the character of the ruling class in the same manner as the clothing to the bodies and the hairstyle to the heads of the same. Ever since, this tendency has seen a decline insofar was the nobler classes shyly refrain from setting the tone in fashions and has left the initiative to the broader segments of the population (here, we are always looking at Paris). Here, the so-called “demi-monde” with his fans has become the trendsetter: the Parisian lady seeks to make herself attractive to her husband by imitating the customs and the style of the same, since here, on the other hand, everything is at least as original in that sense that customs and styles belong to each other and compliment each other. From this side, every influence over fine art is given up, which ultimately became the domain of the art (fashion) dealer, as quincaillerie and tapestry—almost like in the very beginnings of the nomadic people. The only source of information that is available to fashion in its constant desire for the new—since it can not produce anything really new, itself—is the change between extremes: it is truly this tendency which our peculiarly advised fine artist adhere to in order to also bring forth noble forms of art that have, of course, not been invented by them. Thus the antique, rococo, gothic and renaissance take their turns, factories deliver Laokoon groups, Chinese porcellaine, copies Raffaels and Murillos, Etrurian Vases, medieval tapestries, to that “meubles a la Pompadour”, stucco forms a la Louis XIV, the architect encloses all of this in a Florentime style and tops it with an Ariadne group.
Now, “modern” art also becomes a new principle for the aesthetic: its originality is its utter lack of originality, and its immeasurable gain consists of the turnover of all styles which now become recognizable to the most common perception and thus useable by everybody.—However, also a new principle of humanity is attributed to it, namely the democratization of taste in art. They say that one should be hopeful with respect to this phenomenon for the education of the population, since now, art and its products do not only exist for the enjoyment by the privileged classes but even the lowest commoner now has the opportunity to put on his mantelpiece the most noble art forms right before his eyes, what even the beggar can still do by looking into the store windows. In any event, one should be satisfied with this, for how could, after all, since everything lies before us now in confusion, even the most talented mind still invent a new style for fine arts as well as for literature; this would have to be almost impossible and unfathomable.--
This verdict we have to completely agree with, since we are faced here with a result of history of the same consequence as with that of our civilization, as such. It would be conceivable that these consequences would fade out, namely in the decline of our civilization; what could approximately be expected if all of history would be turned upside down, as this would, for example, lie in the consequences of social communism if it would take hold of the world in form of a practical religion. In any event, with respect to our civilization, we have arrived at the end of all true productivity with respect to plastic form and would do well to get used to not expect anything, anymore, that would be like that in which the antique world served us as unattainable ideal, contrary to which we would have to be satisfied with the sometimes even apparently amazing achievements of modern civilization, and that with the same awareness with which we must now recognize the creation of a new German “fashion” for us, particularly for our women, as a futile attempt at reacting to the spirit of our civilization. After all, as far as we can see, fashion rules us.—
However, in addition to these fashions, a new world has opened itself up for us. As under the Roman universal civilization, Christianity emerged, thus, music now breaks out of the chaos of modern civilization. Both tell us: “Our kingdom is not of this world.” That actually means: we come from within, you from without, we are derived from the essence, you from the appearance of things.
Everyone experience for himself how the entire modern world which to his despair surrounds him like an impenetrable wall from all sides, suddenly vanishes into thin air before him as soon as he only hears a few measures of one of those divine symphonies. How would it be possible, in a concert hall of our time (in which, however, Turks and Zuaves would feel comfortable) to listen to this music with some attention and devotion if, to our optical perception—as we already discussed this phenomenon above—the visible environment would not vanish by becoming imperceptible? This, however, is, considered in the most serious sense, the same effect of music on our entire modern civilization; music eradicates it, just like daylight makes lamplight superfluous.--
It is difficult to imagine in what manner music has always exercised its special power over the world of appearances. And we would have to think that the music of the ancient Greeks penetrated the world of appearances thoroughly and virtually melted into the laws of its appearance. The figures of Pythagoras can surely only be actually understood on the basis of music; the architect built according to the laws of eurythmics, the sculptor formed the human shape according to the laws of harmony, the rules of melody turned the poet into a singer, and out of the chorus, the drama projected itself onto the stage. Everywhere, we see that only the inner law that has to be understood out of the spirit of music determines the outer law that constitutes the forming law of the visible: the truly antique Dorian State that Plato wanted to develop as a concept out of philosophy, even the order of war, of battle, were guided by the laws of music with the same certainty as dance.—This paradise was lost, however: the original source of the motion of a world dried up. It moved like the ball moves after it has received a push, in the whirl of radial motion; however, no driving force dwelled in it, anymore, and thus this motion had to finally come to an end, until the soul of the world would be newly discovered.
It was the spirit of Christianity that brought new life to the soul of music. It transformed the eye of the Italian painter and inspired his power of vision, so that he could, through the appearance of things, arrive at the soul of Christianity in an otherwise declining spirit of the church. Almost all of the great painters were also musicians and it is the spirit of music that lets us—at the sight of their saints and martyrs, forget that we are seeing here.—However, the rule of fashion arrived: as much as the spirit of the church fell prey to Jesuit chastisement, thus also fine arts and music turned into something artificial without a soul. In our great Beethoven we could observe the wonderful process of emancipation of the melody out of the bondage of fashion and can confirm that he, due to his incomparable use of all of the material which his marvellous predecessors cumbersomely wrested from the influence of fashion, returned to melody its eternally valid form, to music itself, its immortal soul. With the divine naivete that was his alone, our master put onto his victory the stamp of his full awareness of how he had achieved this. In Schiller’s poem which he puts at the basis of the wonderful last movement of his Ninth Symphony, he recognized, above all, the joy of nature that was freed from the rule of fashion. Let us look at the peculiar meaning which he gives to the words of the poet:
“Deine Zauber binden wieder (thy magic re-unites)
Was die Mode streng geteilt (what custom/fashion has strictly divided).”
As we already found, Beethoven merely added the words to the melody as a text to be sung, in the sense of a general congruence of the character of the poem and the spirit of the melody. That which one understands by proper declamation, namely in a dramatic sense, he left almost entirely disregarded: thus he also lets the words “was die Mode streng geteilt (what custom/fashion has strictly divided)” pass before us without particular emphasis during the singing of the first three verses. However, then, after an incredible heightening of the dithrambic enthusiasm, he ultimately takes up these words of the verse with full dramatic affect, and when he has them repeated in an almost angry unisono, the word “streng (strict)” does not appear to be sufficient for the expression of his rage. It is peculiar that this epitheton arose only out of a later, milder version of the original text by the poet who, in his first edition of his Ode to Joy still had this printed:
“Was der Mode Schwert geteilt (what custom’s/fashion’s sword has divided).”
Now, this “sword” appeared to Beethoven not to be the right word, either; it appeared to him, applied to custom/fashion to be too noble and too heroic. Thus he replaced it by his own deliberation with
“Was die Mode frech geteilt! (What custom/fashion has brazenly divided!)”
(*In the otherwise so valuable complete Härtel edition of Beethoven’s works, there has been crossed out by a member of the musical “Mäßigkeitsverein (Temperance Society)” that has been characterized by me elsewhere and which provided the “criticism” of this edition, on page 260 ff. of the score of the Ninth Symphony this so characteristic passage, and for the “frech” (brazen) of Schott’s original edition the morally strict “streng” has been inserted deliverately. A coincidence had me recently discover this falsification that, if we think about its motives, might well serve to fill us with misgivings with respect to the fate of the works of our great Beethoven if we would have to consider them falling prey to progressively developing criticism.--)
Can anything be more telling than this peculiar artistic process that is almost executed with great passion? Here, we believe to see Luther before us in his anger against the pope!--
It might certainly appear to us that our civilization, as far as it also expressively forms the artistic individual, could only be given a new soul or life out of the spirit of music, the music which Beethoven liberated from the bondage of custom or fashion. And the task of leading the civilization to the new religion by the penetration through which it might, perhaps, become more soulful, can only be that of the German mind which we, ourselves, only now learn to truly understand if we let go of every false tendency that has been attributed to it.
How difficult, however, self-realization is, particularly for an entire nation, we now experience, to our dismay, in our hitherto so powerful neighbouring nation of France, and from this we may take a serious incentive for our own self-investigation, whereby we, fortunately, only have to follow the example of our great German poets whose basic striving, consciously as well as unconsciously, was this self-investigation.
To them it had to appear questionable or doubtful how the so clumsy and awkwardly formed German nature could hold its own to some success next to the assured and easily-moving form of our neighbours of Romanic descent. Since, on the other hand, the German mind had always been endowed with the undeniable advantage of its inherent profundity and intensity of its grasping of the world and its appearances, there always existed the question as to how this advantage could be guided into the development of a national character and from there to a positive influence on the spirit and the character of its neighbouring nations while, heretofore, very recognisably, attempts at influences of this kind had always worked more harmfully from there on us.
If we, now, correctly understand the two basic poetic designs that run through the life of our greatest poet like main arteries, then we receive from this the most excellent instruction for the evaluation of the problem that, from the very outset of his incomparable career as a poet, presented itself to this most liberated German.--
We know that the concepts of “Faust” and of “Wilhelm Meister” fell entirely into the period of the first abundant blossoming of Goethe’s poetic genius. The fervent nature of the thoughts he was filled with led him, at first, to an execution of the first beginnings of “Faust”; as if frightened by the magnitude of his own concept, he turned from this gigantic project to the calming form of the evaluation of this problem in “Wilhelm Meister”. In the maturity of his years as a man he completed this easily-flowing novel. His hero is the German son of a bourgeois in search of the secure and pleasing form who is led, via the theatre and the world of nobility, inito an existence of a useful citizen of the world; he is endowed with a genius that he only understands superficially; almost in the same manner as Goethe, at that time, understood music, “Mignon” is recognized by Wilhelm Meister. The poet lets us become aware of the fact that an outrageous crime is committed on “Mignon”; however, he leads his hero beyond the same emotional perception in order to know hum securely arrived in a sphere of beautiful education that is free from all intensity and tragic eccentricity. He has him look at paintings in a gallery. Music is played on the occasion of Mignon’s death, and Robert Schumann has actually composed it later.—It appears that Schiller was outraged by the last book of “Wilhelm Meister”, and yet, he could hot help his friend out of his peculiar aberration, particularly since he had to assume that Goethe who had just written Mignon and brought to life a wonderful new world with this creation, would have fallen into a deep distraction out of which his friend would not be able to awaken him. Only Goethe, himself, could awaken himself out of it,--and he awoke: since, in his very old age, he completed his “Faust”. Whatever had distracted him, he now combined in an archetypical image of beauty: Helena herself, the entire, complete classical ideal is what he brings to life out of the realm of shadows and weds her to his Faust. However, the shadow can not be held onto, it vanishes like a beautiful, once-hovering cloud which Faust follows with painless, thoughtful reflection. Only Gretchen could save him: out of the world of the blessed souls, the hand of her who had been sacrificed early, is extended to him in whose memory she, nevertheless, remained in its deepest recesses. Nad if we, who have, in the course of our investigation, used analogous comparisons from philosophy and physiology, many now also try to bestow a certain interpretation for us upon the post profound poetic work, then we understand by the “Alles Vergängliche ist nur eiin Gleichnis (all that passes is only a metaphor)”, the spirit of fine art that Goethe wanted to strive for predominantly for such a long time, by the “Das ewig Weibliche zieht uns hinan (the eternally feminine lifts us upward)”, however, the spirit of music that lifted itself up from the poet’s innermost awareness, that hovers now above him and lead him to the path of salvation.
And along this path out of the innermost experience is the path long which the German mind has to lead its people if it wants to enrich the nations as would be its destiny. May anyone whom it pleases to do so scorn and ridicule us if we accredit this immeasurable importance to music, and we will not let ourselves be perturbed by it as the German people let themselves be perturbed when their enemies believed to be allowed to insult them with respect to a well-calculated doubt as to their unanimous capabilities. Our great poet also knew this when he searched for comfort at the idea that to him, the Germans appeared so soft-brained and inane in their bearing that they derived from their bad imitation of manners and gestures that were alien to them, and this comfort was: “The German is brave”. And that is something!--
Be the German people now also brave in peace, may they foster and nurture their true worth and may they cast false appearances far away, may they never want to appear as something that they are not and, on the contrary, recognize in themselves that in which they are unique. The pleasing is denied to them; on the other hand, their true poetry and actions are profound and sublime. And nothing can stand besides the victories of their braveness of the year with more dignity than the memory of our great Beethoven who had been born into the German people one hundred years ago. There, where our weapons are advancing now, at the seat of the “freche Mode” (brazen fashion), his genius had already begun the most noble act of conquering: what our thinkers and our poets can only convey there with great difficulty and only touch in an unclear manner with incomprehensible words, that had already been evoked by Beethoven’s symphony from its innermost: the new religion, the world-redeeming gospel of the most sublime innocence had already been understood there—as here.
Thus, let us celebrate the great reformer and way-shower in the wilderness of the lost paradise! Let us celebrate him with dignity, however—not with any less dignity than the victories of German bravery: since he who showers the world with his gifts of beauty still ranks above him who conquers it!