Composers & Enlightenment

Started by nakulanb, September 23, 2022, 07:49:11 PM

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nakulanb

I have felt that artists like Beethoven and Chopin have a more realistic grasp of enlightenment than the Buddha.

To be a part of society, you have to defend yourself both emotionally and physically and cannot always be still in the mind.

I feel to have true love, which my favorite artists know about, you must be irrational in your actions with the loved one.

I tend to lean towards the Romantics and Impressionists these days and feel Baroque and Classical were more emotionally shallow.

relm1

Can you define "enlightenment" in how you are using it?  We know from the extant writings that Bach, Beethoven, Mahler, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, etc., also had to spend a considerable amount of their mental energy on mundane topics like getting paid, promotions, rehearsal issues, housekeeping topics too.  There is a romanticized idea that composers just created.

nakulanb

#2
Quote from: relm1 on September 24, 2022, 06:14:53 AM
Can you define "enlightenment" in how you are using it?  We know from the extant writings that Bach, Beethoven, Mahler, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, etc., also had to spend a considerable amount of their mental energy on mundane topics like getting paid, promotions, rehearsal issues, housekeeping topics too.  There is a romanticized idea that composers just created.

I'm going against the teachings of the Buddha.  I see enlightenment as the ability to survive in society with a beautiful mind.

LKB

Quote from: relm1 on September 24, 2022, 06:14:53 AM
Can you define "enlightenment" in how you are using it?  We know from the extant writings that Bach, Beethoven, Mahler, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, etc., also had to spend a considerable amount of their mental energy on mundane topics like getting paid, promotions, rehearsal issues, housekeeping topics too.  There is a romanticized idea that composers just created.

It's worth noting that for essentially his entire career, Mahler's prestige resulted from his reputation as a conductor. His composing was restricted primarily to the summers and had lower priority. It was only late in his life that his compositions began to become widely known to audiences.

So, he wasn't composing for a living a la Bach or Beethoven. He was composing because because it was a personal imperative.
Mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen...

nakulanb

Quote from: Florestan on September 24, 2022, 08:22:17 AM
Handel, Bach, D. Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Haydn, Mozart, Boccherini emotionally shallow?  :o

That's how I hear it.

Mandryka

Quote from: nakulanb on September 23, 2022, 07:49:11 PM


I feel to have true love, which my favorite artists know about, you must be irrational in your actions with the loved one.

I tend to lean towards the Romantics and Impressionists these days and feel Baroque and Classical were more emotionally shallow.


How about this for irrational love making?

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IEH8MPVAhGo
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Florestan

Quote from: nakulanb on September 24, 2022, 08:29:16 AM
That's how I hear it.

No offense meant, but your hearing seems impaired.  :D
"Art is no excuse for boring people." - Jules Renard

nakulanb

Quote from: Florestan on September 24, 2022, 09:09:22 AM
No offense meant, but your hearing seems impaired.  :D

It has more to do w the performer.  I like romantic baroque and classical takes.

Lisztianwagner

You know, your last sentence made me think fleetingly of Schopenhauer in The World as Will and Representation, about music being able to penetrate immediately the deepest essence of the world, the Will: he distinguished between "imitative" music, which for him was created by intellect and mathematical methods, but that so could express the Will only in a mediated way, and music composed without the mediation of reason, which on the contrary had no limits in expressing the Will, being its direct objectification.
"Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire." - Gustav Mahler

nakulanb

Quote from: Lisztianwagner on September 24, 2022, 03:09:12 PM
You know, your last sentence made me think fleetingly of Schopenhauer in The World as Will and Representation, about music being able to penetrate immediately the deepest essence of the world, the Will: he distinguished between "imitative" music, which for him was created by intellect and mathematical methods, but that so could express the Will only in a mediated way, and music composed without the mediation of reason, which on the contrary had no limits in expressing the Will, being its direct objectification.

That is interesting.

Florestan

Quote from: Lisztianwagner on September 24, 2022, 03:09:12 PM
You know, your last sentence made me think fleetingly of Schopenhauer in The World as Will and Representation, about music being able to penetrate immediately the deepest essence of the world, the Will: he distinguished between "imitative" music, which for him was created by intellect and mathematical methods, but that so could express the Will only in a mediated way, and music composed without the mediation of reason, which on the contrary had no limits in expressing the Will, being its direct objectification.

This distinction implies that the composers of "non-intellectual", ''non-rational' music are mere vessels through which the Will pours itself in musical forms and they write music in a trance-like state, simply transcribing what the Will dictates them. This is of course nonsense. Sure, composers can and do have moments of sudden inspiration in which they jot down some musical idea as if under the dictation of an external force, but from such a sketch to a finished score ready for performance and publication is a long way, one along which thought, ie reason, intervenes all throughout. The whole process is alluded to in Wordsworth's famous statement that "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeelings recollected in tranquility", in which the real stress is on the second part, not on the first, that is: tranquil recollection (iow, calm thought and reflection) is the essential ingredient which turns the spontaneous overflow of powerful  feelings (iow, the non-intellectual, non-mediated experiences) into poetry (iow, a definite and concrete form of art). And actually this much was known to Ovid already, for he wrote "Et quod nunc ratio est, impetus ante fuit."

That Schopenahuer offered as a paradigmatic example of the direct, immediate musical expression of the Will the music of Rossini is also nonsensical. A music less metaphysical and less transcendental than Rossini's is hard to find. Far from composing his operas in the abstract and disembodied way presupposed by the putative Will expressing itself objectively through Rossini's hand writing notes on paper on its non-mediated dictation, he actually worked on them under numerous practical constraints, each of them is tailored for different venues and performers and calculated (which is the very opposite of "not mediated by reason") to have an emotional effect on different audiences. Had Rossini, the jovial bon vivant and causeur, known that he, and not Wagner, was the musical hero of the austere and taciturn Schopenhauer, the irony of it all would not have been lost on him.

Now, that Schopenhauer preferred Rossini (and also Mozart) over Wagner (about whose music he wrote a devastating critique) attests to his impeccable musical taste --- but his philosophy of music is one of the most far-fetched and absurd ever penned. To his credit, though, it must be said that he formulated his absurd theories in a very clear, witty and stylish language which is a pleasure to read, as opposed to his arch-nemesis Hegel, whose prose, even when he is right, is convoluted, obscure and a torture to read.

"Art is no excuse for boring people." - Jules Renard

Florestan

#11
Quote from: nakulanb on September 24, 2022, 12:36:30 PM
It has more to do w the performer.  I like romantic baroque and classical takes.

I like them as well, but I contend that even the most romanticized take cannot make a certain piece of music sound emotional if it (the piece, that is) wasn't trying to convey emotions in the first place. And there is plenty of formal evidence in the statements of many a Baroque or Classical composer that that's exactly what they were doing.

Mandryka offered an excellent example above, with that Arioso of CPE Bach, one of the most explicitly emotional composers in the whole history of Western music, the indisputable champion of Empfindsamer style. Also, the Sturm-und-Drang music of the early 1770s is as emotionally gripping as anything Puccini ever wrote.
"Art is no excuse for boring people." - Jules Renard