Muriel Carlmark in Memoriam
The Mysterious Origin of Richard Wagner
The Disharmonists, by Gunnar Colding
Muriel Carlmark In Memoriam.
There is a Swedish expression which was Muriel's favourite, and which best characterizes her entire being: "full av skoj", which means 'full of fun'. Few knew Muriel from her humouristic sides, but that was in fact her main character. She was a light human being who saw everything in rays of joy and harmony, and she was always enjoying herself.
This might be refuted by those who knew her fate and the struggle with which she carried it; but it was her unquenchably bright sides which helped her to endure the unendurable. Her irrepressible optimism in union with those trials she was subject to, which would have broken anyone else from the beginning, resulted in an incredible valour and toughness, which never gave up until even her apparently inexhaustible body had to obey the laws of nature.
She was born in 1910 while Leo Tolstoy was still alive and King Edward VII ruled in England, when Elgar and Vaughan-Williams were accomplishing their greatest achievements and when the whole world basked in the light of order, welfare and peace. She came from a richly endowed and highly cultivated family, the Dugdills of Brixton; her father could have become a concert pianist but instead ended up one of England's formost ornitology experts; and also her brother followed the path of art becoming a photographer with poetry besides. She also went quite far in music and mastered pieces by Liszt and Rachmaninov before she was tempted out of England to marry a Swede from Åmål (pronounced Awe-maule).
Her life then became that of a house-wife with four children of her own, all musical with international outlooks, and her daughter married a Frenchman during a missionary journey in Peru together with Abbé Pierre, who is still alive and a definite candidate for the Nobel peace prize.
During her long life Muriel experienced both the world wars, and in London towards the end of the first one she outlived the first German bombings by air. She almost took it for a joke - "they were like paper aircrafts coming with flying dustbins which exploded full of rubbish and didn't even do any harm." As long as she lived she recalled vividly how she found protection against these bombings in the shelter of her neighbour's kitchen together with a German family, who couldn't understand what was going on. During the Second World War she was in Sweden and thus didn't have to endure how London was bombed for real.
She always remained quite English and could never really feel at home in Sweden or understand the Swedish society. She liked it best in Sweden when the family lived out at Marstrand by the sea, where it was closer to the outer archipelago of Gothenburg - the British Isles - than from Älvängen and Gothenburg.
A great and lovely smile and light has left us but still lingers on, with the glow of happier times from before the great world destruction of the two world wars, a glow which though always will remain as typically English as a cup of tea with muffins out on a sunny veranda in a neither too shadowy nor too sunny garden of incorruptible beauty with an entire universe outside it to discuss, a world which in spite of all the tragedies nevertheless to her always remained as incurably 'full of fun' as ever.
The Mysterious Origin of Richard Wagner
When Goethe acquainted himself with the ancient German myths of the Nibelungen, he was overwhelmed by the enormous possibilities he saw of developing them literarily. At the same time he realized his own limits - he could never do it himself, since the subject was too theatrical and dangerously nationalistic - he was allergic to all forms of nationalism and exaggerations. But his vision of the subject as full of power and scenic possibilities was definite.
One of his friends was the very talented actor and painter, the writer and poet Ludwig Geyer (1779-1821). Friedrich Nietzsche later asserted that Ludwig Geyer had been a Jew, but he was the only one to make this assertion. There was no proof, but neither was professor Nietzsche refuted. It should be difficult to find any reason why the in those days still extremely wise and brilliant professor Nietzsche should have asserted this without reason.
Ludwig Geyer was a very close friend of Johanne Wagner's, the wife of Carl Friedrich Wagner (1770-1813), a police officer in the city of Leipzig. The ninth child of this family was Richard Wagner, who was born in May 1813. Six months later the father died of a typhoid epidemic in the city. The mother (1774-1848) then remarried Ludwig Geyer, who took good care of the family.
If Richard Wagner did not look like Ludwig Geyer, he even less resembled his father. You can hardly imagine a pear falling farther away from the apple tree than this hypersensitive extravagant artist and rebel Richard Wagner as the son of a very correct police official. It doesn't make sense. All the more Richard had in common with his stepfather Ludwig Geyer, the fantasy man with great gestures, the colleague and friend of Goethe, the ardent actor and the warm-hearted bohemian. Richard always acknowledged his vast debts to Ludwig Geyer, although he lost his stepfather already at the age of eight.
Was Ludwig Geyer then the natural father? There is much in favour of it. He was a very close friend of the family, so close, that he often went in as soon as Friedrich Wagner went out, which was often enough, since the wife frequently complained of her husband's unreliability. In summer 1813, before Richard had been baptized and when the husband was still very much alive, the mother went on her own to Ludwig Geyer at Teplitz to be with him during his theatre season there. For this reason Richard Wagner was not baptized until much later. The motive for the mother's journey to Ludwig Geyer has never been explained. The husband was then 43, the wife 39 and Ludwig Geyer only 34 and a most attractive man. Unfortunately we have no portrait of the father, which is queer indeed, since there are portraits of his brother and the rest of the family, as if all possible portraits of Friedrich Wagner had been destroyed by Wagnerians to conceal the evident lack of kinship between Richard and his boring father - it could be a case of destroyed evidence. On the other hand, a blend between the complexions of the mother and Ludwig Geyer could very well result in a face like Richard Wagner's. Ludwig Geyer even presented his stepson in society at times as "Richard Geyer", and he seems to have taken a greater interest in this child than in Johanne Wagner's other children.
Richard Wagner could never be sure that Friedrich Wagner was his father, and when his own son grew up and got a face of his own, Richard had to confess that his son Siegfried looked like Ludwig Geyer.
So it seems probable that Richard was the natural son of Ludwig Geyer and that Ludwig Geyer at least to some extent was of Jewish origin. By chance Richard also happened to be born in the Jewish quarters of Leipzig. Another most influential Jewish person in Richard Wagner's life was the poet Heinrich Heine, who gave him the stories for both the Flying Dutchman and Tannhäuser.
The two most influential composers for the development of Wagner and his music were also both Jews: Giacomo Meyerbeer and Felix Mendelssohn. The Jewish complex in William Richard Wagner, which does not appear until he becomes famous and established, is easily explained logically and psychologically. He could never reach certainty about his origin. Since he probably wasn't his father's son, he was a bastard with doubtful Jewish ancestry. This psychologically fatal want of certainty had to result in a very peculiar relationship with things Jewish, which develops into open hostility when life later on offers him certainty in his career, since he had to regard everything Jewish as synonymous with all his previous lack of foothold in life.
To this liability was added his mother's reckless spoiling of him. He grew up as a perfect milksop, and his relationship with women were never normal. A psychologically upset and unstable boy is brought up in a motherly hothouse where he is allowed to cultivate all his grand airs - it is strange that he was not utterly ruined from the beginning or turned into a monster, which he in some ways definitely became.
It has been said by Jews about Jews that they are like ordinary human beings, only so much more. The same description would fit Richard Wagner perfectly but even more multiplied. His entire life consists only of exaggerations. He wrote ingenious music, but it never became more ingenious than in his smallest masterpiece "The Flying Dutchman". Instead of developing his musical mastery he is carried away by the idea of the 'universal work of art' and claims to be as much of a poet and an authority as a musician. The result is his music gets drowned in ostentatious effects and is ruined by miserably drivelling and exasperating texts. Everything Wagner wrote in letters is more or less absurd. He has no sense of logic and no human psychology, and he lives and works only for his self-indulgence in emotional exaggerations. "Tristan" is the one exception among his operas which is more music than preposterous effects. Parts of the "Ring" cycle have glorious moments of beauty especially in "Die Walküre"; and "Siegfried" in all its primitiveness must needs have an acknowledgement for opening up the gateway to modern music. ("Siegfried" made Leo Tolstoj so furious in 1896 that he became allergic to all things German for the rest of his life.) Not until in "Parsifal" the theatrical overstatements finally calm down in order to instead bring forth an almost ecclesiastical purity and peace - with a profoundly moving solemnity of unequalled grandeur, though - as the final overwhelming Wagnerian exaggeration.
(The great barytone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau has written a most valuable book about the relationship between Wagner and professor Nietzsche. They were great friends until 1876 when the professor decided to disagree with Wagner for the rest of his life.)
English translation from the Swedish original
by Christian Lanciai, May 2007.
COULD IT HAVE HAPPENED LIKE THIS?
HOW AN ARTISTS BORROWED FEATHERS ARE PRODUCED
THE FACE OF CULTURAL HYPOCRISY
DIANA DEUTSCH : PSYCHOLOGY AND MUSIC
In 1983 historians came to the conclusion that the Vatican hardly had told humanity the whole truth about spiritual things. Research proved that several important pieces in the puzzle probably are removed or twisted in the historical account. But it would take 20 years before any author (read Dan Brown) made a serious effort to make these new research results known to the public. As if by chance, other researchers happened the same year to publish at least equally inconvenient facts within the world of music. In the same way as religious history research did not reach the public, the results of musical research were not put on the agenda.
No, not even at the highest possible levels (read The Royal Academy of Music), since these two research breakthroughs had one thing in common. Too many persons in important positions both in the past and present would be found with their pants down and resulting awkwardness. Too much water had flowed under the bridges, the snowball had grown too large. The order of things (or the lack of it) had been allowed to go on for too long. In the same way as it previously hurt for some people to hear that the earth wasnt flat, in the same way it will be a pain to many, when it will show how the human brain works or doesnt work, whether it concerns love, eroticism or music. In the first part, however, well try to limit ourselves to observe how the self-appointed high priests of culture in our time are spreading another faked gospel. Fate arranged things so that vital analyses and conclusions also were not made available to the public until 20 years after scientific facts had turned up, that is around 2003. (See D. Deutschs research results from 1983 below.)
Could it have happened like this?
A nosing journalist whom we could call "Janne" has had a phone call from an older colleague in a high position. This former cultural boss of a large newspaper is 79 years old and has a malignant cancer developing. In this difficult situation he claims to have met with God and therefore wants to make a confession. They meet at Humlegården one early Sunday morning when there are still no people around. In his "confession" he produces an old document from the early 60s. "Janne" flushes crimson as he observes the signatures at the bottom of the document. He immediately senses a downright scoop. It could be likened with the prematurely arranged games of some sport. In a secret agreement with the union of artists and composers, all cultural journalists and referees agree to analyse only the contents of a work. One is allowed to describe the style and language of the art or music but not to question it.
By such a document it was desired to get green light to paint abstract art and compose atonal music. By this stratagem the public would not unnecessarily be alerted on "the wrong things" while at the same time lots of stable jobs would be ensured for both parties in the future! "The source" also informs "Janne" that the agreement was preceded by turbulent turns in the closed up conference closets. How the hell would we be able to "analyse and describe" all the rubbish that is produced without losing our faces? was one of the questions discussed. The union then suggested, that curators of music and art would be educated on an academic level as fast as possible. Academic status would namely make them unassailable and respectable in the eyes of common people. This settled it, and the agreement was signed. Everything was concluded down at the Artists Bar KB where all kinds of VIPs and people of the media mingled and mixed with the "elite" of Swedish contemporary cultural life.
"The source" says that he does not know who paid the fat bill that seems to have occurred but makes a wild guess at the "Monday Group" (an established group of modern composers specialising in atonal music). "Janne" wanted to know who was part of that group, but the source said he had to find that out for himself, but he should have one thing quite clear before he accused anybody. The Cuba crisis was a fact going on, and the cold war was at its worst. He shouldnt be naïve and think there were no political pressures, at least not from the left. As you know, things look the same in almost all Central Europe, so dont think we were alone in this, said "the source" and disappeared conveniently before the first dog walker appeared in the park. "Janne" is now thoroughly upset. In a few minutes he is aware of the situation. If I present this material now I will lose my job within a week. To betray and pull down the pants of ones own leftist colleagues is something that will not go unpunished.
Damn, how could those very people he had so admired cultivate such an abscess in the cultural world? How could they fail to see that it would burst in the end, thought "Janne", who had chosen his journalists profession because he had believed in the honest purpose of the corps to always track down cover-ups and corruption. That the political left was the only possible home for this activity he had been obliged to learn already at school. He never imagined at that stage that he one day would be obliged to investigate his own leftist brothers. After one week of sleepless nights he reaches a decision. I have a family to support, why should it have to suffer for some cultural idiots of the 60s? Also, this is not about public security. I will keep the material for about ten years, and then Ill bring it out and see what happens. I will then be 60 and will afford to lose lose my job. At worst, I could always turn it over to some other colleague
How an artists borrowed feathers are produced
The law of enthropy (the second law of thermodynamics) says that everything in the universe is heading towards chaos. The only way to resist this is to build a system of rules and feedback. The system must also have a direction forward, a kind of evolution, which also must be subject to feedback. If rules and feedback in a system vanish, there will be no life potential by chance in the system, which instead will dissolve and head towards chaos.
For me there are no doubts whatever that these conditions to the highest degree also apply to a civilization. Within almost every field in a society you can still find some "prophet" ready to turn a blind eye to this truth. He/she almost always have a quicker and simpler result or salvation to tempt with, whether it's in politics, religion, economy, culture or as most recently terrorism. It's also known that most great scientific innovations have been reached through human teamwork. In order for them to lead to the development of the entire humanity, everything must also be founded on a smallest common denominator. Translated to the world of art and music it means a pictorial and tonal language which a qualified majority can adopt without needing interpreters, (cultural experts who with intellectually and linguistically abstract acrobatics explain what the eye and ear cannot grasp).
How the myth that painting, literature and advanced music is furthered by total linguistic freedom could rise, we shall analyse here (although 50 years too late, but still). Around the First World War strange things happen in the history of culture. Until then art and music have continuously developed for 3000 years within the natural laws of the said languages (system rules). Let it be, that the important feedback (the audience) so far had come from a very limited number of people. But now two protagonists enter who tell the world that art must be liberated from the straight-jacket which has constrained it for so long. The audience who no longer consisted of just kings and nobility but rather ordinary town people (generally of some higher class, so what) protested heavily.
I here ask the reader to continuously compare this with a totally different "happening" in the world of research (during the 60s and 70s) which shows some nasty analogies with what's been happening in the elevated culture during the entire 20th century. Researchers suddenly launched a theory that "the gender system" in humanity was neutral and elastic. A boy should then just by education be able to be remade into a girl and vice versa. The effort to prove this was not more honest than that the doctors first were obliged to castrate a boy in order for the idea to have a chance to succeed.
By such a rape of nature the desire was to prove that all manly and womanly behaviour was just socially taught and not biologically enforced by any predestined fixed programs in the brain! To be cheeky, the whole thing could be described as a vulgar surfing on the rising wave of feminism from the later 60s on. Not surprisingly, a number of marriages occurred between these researchers and those prophets of equality, who still today claim to have preference in interpreting all gender questions.
Then however the same thing happened as was the case with the first effort to introduce Atonal music "by force" and thereby ignore the system rules of music. Nature (the guinea pig boy since 1 year of age) cried and protested the more he grew. When puberty struck the experiment had to be interrupted since the guinea pig threatened to commit suicide. The boy had wanted to play with cars and be a boy during the whole experiment but had been forced to wear a skirt and have a girl's name. Here comes the point: precisely as in the world of culture it was already too late to stop the "movement" of willing disciples that had had time to rise, the feminist movement that still today does anything to hide the failure of the aforementioned gender theory and continues their propaganda of equality as if nothing had happened.
As late as in January 2005 you could read in the papers how a publication on the subject of manly and womanly was stopped just because it contained inconvenient research results for this movement. Today there are technical possibilities to prove biological differences in the brains of boys and girls. Basic research in music and psychology has also by new technical possibilities verified the naturalness of feeling musical resistance against Atonal music and other avant garde rebellious activity.
Remember however that neither gender nor music researchers have claimed that the brain does not have a certain elasticity. Just listen to the 9th symphony of Mahler where tonality constantly balances on the "highest branch". Regard the tonality as a rubber string which Mahler strained to the point of bursting in this symphony. One step further, and the string would have broken. When that happens, the string ceases to vibrate and the music fades out. Also remember, as you go on reading, that both Alban Berg and Schoenberg admit that they had the musical experience of their lives at the first performance of this symphony (in 1912 with Bruno Walter as the conductor). Listen more carefully to the last movement, and you might even tend to agree. And yet Schoenberg only ten years later strained the rubber string so hard that it broke for good, but more of that later.
Before we proceed in this reasoning it could be of some advantage to know about the following fact. Ph.D. L.E.Uneståhl in the music journal Intermezzo 2004: "when you learn that both nature and the human body in large parts are structured around the quota 1:1.618, many at first believe it cant be true. But after a great number of convincing examples, the doubt is replaced by strong surprise and fascination". Now Uneståhl, well known in the field of mental training, together with a Russian research team has also found evidence, that even the inner mental space of the brain strive both in quantity and quality towards a configuration according to the principle of the "Golden Section". When it has succeeded with this for example by means of meditation, it leads to information circuits and mental processes changing character in a direction towards beauty, harmony and balance. These are the values that the universal formula of the Golden Section has represented for millennia. I allow myself to speculate in a possible reservation, that this positive inclination of the brain is probably found only with people of mental soundness.
Although I took my degree in both scientific and humanistic subjects including aesthetics, there was never one word in all my schooldays about how important this mathematic formula is in both nature and culture. Still, no one less than Leonardo da Vinci and L.Firbonacci "rediscovered" this phenomenon in modern times. Together with Stradivarius they make out the "gurus" of the subject for anyone who wants to delve into it. The more you discover of the existence of this formula in nature at large, the more difficult it becomes to go on believing in chance as the only creator of nature and man. How many great artists, photographers and architects have by the way not reached their greatest success, when their works have been subjected to this formula? In other words, time does not work any more for the chance fundamentalists.
More and more, copying nature also becomes a success formula, even when medical or scientific problems are to be solved. To say the least, you get impressed by how superior nature is to man even in the technical field. I am now thinking of the breakthroughs within the Nano research, thanks to the very models of nature. The advantage of the said gentlemen Da Vinci and Stradivarius is, that they seem to have found a key which in the long run at best can link science and religion together. Its my sincere conviction that there can be an end to the fixed war between atheists and the religious only by such "keys", this war dividing humanity into two fractions in many fields which thereby makes the "installation" of culture and civilisation programs on our planet decidedly more difficult on our planet. No one seems to notice that no old or new Messiah has ever succeeeded in saving the world from war and evil, rather the contrary. Instead, their teachings have become a hot-bed for rivalry between different religious views. The war in the cultural world is very much about whether an objective concept of beauty at all exists and how in that case it should be defined.
Again, look for the answer in the building stones of nature and not in any philosophical charlatans, false prophets or dito artists, since these think and act as if man was a separate being in cosmos excluded from nature and its (sacred) codes. There have been anarchists at all times. Perhaps history can even tell us about good ones, who like a forest fire have cleansed the terrain from old corrupt structures and thereby created new bases of life. What should bring everyone to some after-thought is, that the "cultural forest fire", which we are to investigate here, broke out when art and music had reached their highest levels so far. Therefore there was no real need of humanity to break down all achieved positions, rather the contrary, now (after the First World War) as the broad public at last would have the same chances of cultural consumtion as previously had been reserved for the elite.
Nevertheless, by an artists "coup détat" the new European cultural prophets the artist Picasso and the composer Schoenberg declared the above-mentioned natural laws null and void. In America at the same time it was the photographer Stieglitz, strongly supported by his wife with the same "passions", who did everything to shoulder the same avant-gardistic mantle, and succeeded to a major degree. Thereby the non-figurative "modern" art and the Atonal music could be launched at large in the whole western world. The Tonal music system is founded since the beginning of history on melody, rhythm and harmony joining together. The Atonal music system is called twelve-tone music and is founded on anything but this joining! Schoenberg seems to consciously or unconsciously have borrowed from communist ideology, when he professed that all half tones in a scale (7 white + 5 black keys on the keyboard) and all intervals should be regarded as equal to each other.
The result was, that from now on it was not possible any more to memorize a melody in a natural way. In order to do so you need a relationship between the tones which only can occur with a defined key. The rhythms of the atonal music were from now on constantly irregular stressing the "wrong" part of the bar. This also contributed efficiently to the destruction of all possible efforts at melodies. When music no longer had a definable pulse, the rhythm was only a thing on the paper. Atonal harmonies actually dont exist either, since they only consist of clusterlike sounds, which practically mean many (and whatever) simultaneously ringing notes without any tonal connection.
Place your arm on a keyboard anywhere and press it. Then you have an actual atonal sound without key. In the same way, the artist Picasso and the US photographer Stieglitz abolished the laws of geometry, replacing them with a number of "isms" (cubism, dadaism, naivism, expressionism, surrealism etc.) But mind you, they were not as daft as their contemporary musical colleagues. As far as I know, they did not mix all colours together, since the blend of all colours would have been no colour at all
Here is some further explanation for those who need it: the hearing centre of most (but not all) people has a "computer program" which can differentiate between major and minor and between consonance and dissonance. The program can also identify a slower or faster consistent pulse in music. What happens then if the music does not contain these elements? The "computer program" of the ear cant work any more, since Atonal music normally consists of 95% dissonance, shows a complete lack of major/minor and any definable pulse. Out of FIVE tools/variables, FOUR are missing!
Only when all the mentioned variables work together in to the ear a definable language tonal music occurs which is completely superior to the atonal one, which 90% of the musicians and 90% of the audience have "discovered" long ago but never have been able to explain scientifically. It can also be expressed like this. In order to experience dissonance there has to be consonance. In order to experience major there must also be minor etc. Theoretically and on paper the atonal musician might appear to have access to more variables of expression, but the sounding end result is to the ear everything and nothing.
Computers work in many ways like the human brain. In order to organize all data flows, the brain must have a definable basic architecture. All observations indicate that this was geometrically structured for pictures and according to the tonal system for music. Logically enough eyes and ears have been configurated accordingly. Imagine further the oil painting and the violin concert to be the programs (the software). We cant remake the computer, we also shouldnt manipulate its architecture by for instance drugs, but we can use whatever "programs" we want in art, music, literature and architecture. There is only one snag: the architecture of the brain (the hardware) limits the freedom of the programmer, fortunately. Only that artist or composer whose language respects the architecture will become "readable" to other people when we "connect" in the salons of art and the concert halls. Or else we will hear the sound but not the music. We can see the flicker on the screen but not the picture. Then it could be like in this small anecdote from real life. Daniel, 14 years, to daddy during a concert with an atonal work as the first item: "Daddy, it sounds exactly as when the orchestra tunes their instruments" He meant just before they start tuning, when the musicians "test" different parts in their music, none being in the same place. This cacophony constitutes the antithesis of a symphony, which actually (translated from Greek) means concord.
Yes, its actually possible both directly (by basic research, see below) and indirectly (by measurable stress reactions) to prove that our brain has the above-mentioned architecture which only can organize and understand pictures or music that obey 3000 year old natural laws. Everything else will probably end up in spiritual anorexia. Whether this architecture has been constructed by evolution or by some God would of course be interesting to know, but it is not necessary. Research within musical therapy shouldnt be forgotten either, where among other things it has been found that schizophrenic people answer "positively" the more chaotic and atonal the music is. Reversedly it is a fact, that to psychically sound people who still need therapy, only tonal music is valid, and preferrably classical music.
In one of the most important Swedish papers you could some time ago read about another musical research which by all means needs to be repeated on a large scale to achieve scientific weight. Dorothy Retallack at the Colorado Womans College in USA made different experiments with music and plants. The results were published already in 1973. Plants were exposed to one constant tone in one room, in another to a tone with regular interruptions and in a third room to silence. The constant tone killed them after 14 days. They grew best in both the other rooms. In the next experiment she played "soft favourites" and rock music respectively for three hours a day. The plants with the soft music thrived immensely, while the rock plants almost made no progress. Jimi Hendrix turned them down completely. The musician Don Robertson later repeated Retallacks experiment and played Schoenberg and Palestrina respectively three hours every day for a month to his plants and claims that Palestrina made them flourish, while Schoenberg killed them instantly.
In any case I wouldnt be shocked if future researchers verified the above experiment. My reason for quoting these experiments here is, that I hope researchers will find more common "formulas" or "natural codes" than the "Golden Section" which when violated rather will damage life than support and create it. I want them to find the answer if a human beings soul/personality also can be positively influenced when also art, music and literature is based on such (sacred) formulas. I also want to know if the reverse works as well. Those who think this sounds flimsy have probably not read a single line about where the charting started by Einstein of the tiniest elements of life stands today. Quite recently the so called "string theory" has forced researchers to decide whether life not only exists on other planets but rather if it even exists parallelly in 11 different dimensions. Back to order for the sake of security
One language for pictures and one language for music transcending race, religion and all political limits had been given man for communication and common experiences, where the words end and music starts. Thats not a bad idea, I must say, considering the inherent limitations of other languages. Religious and national "languages" have hardly favoured peace and understanding between people. By the language of pictures and music, souls could meet beyond all boundaries. By the hormonal "language of feelings", bodies could meet over boundaries. These universal languages constituting tools for "cross conception" had been introduced into the evolution program of humanity to obstruct inbreeding in both a physical and spiritual sense.
Imagine further that we have one language that everyone can read, for instance English. Then I write the following, still in our own alphabet and language:
Kbvndy wvfk tgdsok bnmadug sllkat mda kkoshyar mvves glyd hgtrak.
This is exactly what atonal composers do in the world of music, but with notes instead of letters! Another way to reach about the same results is to do like the first female composer of Sweden trained at the Royal Musical Academy in Stockholm. Our largest paper DN, concerning a composers festival, writes in April 2006 the following of her:
"Karin Rehnquist was 25 years and had recorded a song on a tape-recorder and happened to turn the tape backwards and was so fascinated by the sound that she made variations of it for three female voices on note paper."
DN writes in May 2007 concerning the same festival:
"Marie Samuelsson has made the composition class at the high school for music, made music programs in the radio and been editor for the journal contemporary music. The sounds which Samuelsson "musicalize" can be anything from the howling of wolves to how it sounds when you beat empty tin cans, or drop a plate. In the new work Singla which is given a first performance during the composers weekend at the Concert Hall, Marie Samuelsson dropped a plate on the floor, which instead of breaking wobbled away, started vibrating and accelerated until it finally slowed down its rotation."
The following definition, taken from thin air, is usually delivered by the atonal mob:
"All sounds are music and all sounds and tones joining together can be described as a melody."
If we return to my language example above, it would sound like this:
"Any letters placed together can be identified as a word, and more such words constitute a sentence, and many such sentences is a book."
Any difficulties with reading the book? No problem, since there will instantly be a paid curator from the cultural mob to translate to you every word of what "the author" wants to say. And just because no one has seen these words before, he has created something original which hasnt existed before, so he is an artist. Of course, no one in the audience experiences it like this, but you who are now initiated in the jingo language and been served the intellectual analysis, now "know" that thats kind of what it is like. Historically the timing is a little too good to be quite by chance. One almost wonders whether Lenin himself, by an early kind of "privatization" commissioned Schoenberg and Picasso to start the cultural revolution of the century long before his communist brother China. (Here I might have been somewhat inspired by the American David Icke, the world champion in conspiracy theories.)
The new prophets and their disciples at least excused themselves that they wanted to save humanity from kitsch and trashy art. What they probably didnt know then was that they would also make way for a large crowd of untalented "wannabees" and some so called mad geniuses. These could now hide behind a jingo lingo which no one could read. The musical "coup détat" was carried through by a home-made musical lingo which no audience had authorized or accepted. In the same way Picasso started to educate the world by claiming there was nothing non-figurative. All lines and blotches are somehow figurative, even if you cant see it!
Both "prophets" ignored the important feedback from the audience, and the co-operation between the inventor and the user was thus clean forgotten. According to scientific system rules there will then no more be any real development! But instead it became quite possible for a monkey or a three-year old to hold an exhibition, which also in fact has happened. We are just waiting for the first night of an atonal symphony which on scrutiny (and after the applause) proves to be the same monkey who just splashed some ink on a note paper.
Just like communism, the twelve-tone music has theoretical ideas about the equality of all (tones and intervals). The worst thing is however, that this musical language lacks the necessary feedback from a knowledgeable musical audience, the task of which is to warrant the compatibility of the music with the architecture of the human brain. Now someone objects that communism got this vital feedback from their "audience". This is a total misunderstanding. The masses suffered from hunger and misery. The peoples "feedback" is rather then the overthrow of the Czars almost private dictatorship than an appraisal of communism, since no one really knew how this would work practically. In addition to that, it would take ten-twenty years to test a political system before the people would realize that again just a few had gained something at the cost of the majority.
The music audience though would just after a test of ten-twenty minutes observe, that a few had a ball at the cost of the multitude, and this in an age when the audience never before has had access to so much "spiritual bread" in the form of elevated art and music! The music audience then performed their civil duty and protested at large, unfortunately without results. That this "feedback" could be ignored reminds me of another circumstance. Public concerts with symphony orchestras aimed at the public were at this time (1915-25) a novelty. This activity gets really started about at the same time as classical music leaves courts and kings behind as financiers. Now the symphony orchestra gets financed by the state from taxes and the audience therefore no longer exclusively consists of kings, nobility and upper class. They would never ever have paid or even allowed the new "anti music" to go on.
In other words, one can conclude that the (starting) audience of this age had the least knowledge and influence compared to all earlier audiences. More simply one could say that the lower cultural education of the people made for the first time the markets of adventurers and illusionists possible in the world of both art and music. The civil courage that still remains in the audience of today does unfortunately not exceed some dutiful applause of all works like some empty ritual. Or as someone tried to excuse himself: to at least thank brave soloists and musicians for their technical (show) performance
Those composers who really master our tonal music language and have something to tell us, have either been marginalized or frozen out by the atonal mob. In Sweden their core used to consist of the so called "Monday Group". The front figures of this unmusical sect were Bäck, Blomdahl, Lidholm and Hambraeus, renamed "the gang of four" by me. During their time it was enough to compose something only half tonal, like for instance Bo Linde did during those days, to be frozen out. It was considered like swearing in "their church". Suddenly there was no more any question of artistic freedom for all, since that already had been established by the first prophet Schoenberg in his thousand rules, unless you "qualified" to the inner circle of the mafia, which always grants itself the privilege to break their own sacred laws as soon as it promises an advantage. Therefore its little surprising that the most substantial works composed for symphony orchestras since the 50s we find on the threshold of or within the world of entertainment music. Within that genre musicals and film music have completely driven the operetta out of business. Four successful composer examples of this are Richard Rodgers and John Williams (USA), Andrew Lloyd Webber (England) and Benny Andersson (Sweden).
Are atonal compositions music or just organized sound effects? The post war typical flimsy philosopher and "synth nird" Edgar Varése answers like this: "after all, what is music but organized noise?" He suggested that all music was organized noise! Maybe Varese at that time was already influenced by his brain tumour, which later on killed him. His "synth colleague" and predecessor F. Busoni had long since prepared the way in the same direction. This resulted in the following childish art romanticism:
"the creative artists task is to create laws, not to follow them! Lets liberate music from architectural, acoustic and aesthetic dogma. Let it become pure nature, reflected from within the human breast."
Anyone besides me having any difficulty understanding these self-contradicting words? So Busoni preaches that 300 years of musical development is to be scrapped! Then new laws are to be created (by atonalists) to be followed by whom? Evidently he has missed the whole point and kicks the ball powerfully into his own goal. As long as the proper natural laws of music is the foundation, you are already in touch with nature! For the rest, there are few great names in music who have dared to take a public position in that matter. Then we dont count all those who just "like it" and pat each others backs. Something more is needed than just to make politically correct statements in the media, to be regarded as having taken stands in a controversial issue. Therefore the gentlemen below deserve an extra acknowledgement for their civil courage. The Finnish conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen says in the Evening Post 12.12 2001:
"The Darmstadt school robbed music of the pulse and the orchestra of sonority. It wasnt fun, it was damned boring. It was said that it was the fault of society and the media that the music was not appreciated. I rather think it was the fault of the material, since it sounded so damned bad."
One of the greatest cellists of Europe during the 20th century Paul Tortellier has showed the same civil courage by publicly confessing in television that pop music has more in common with classical music than even contemporary (atonal) so called art music! Pop and entertainment music namely consists like classical tonal music of a system with the components melody, rhythm and harmony in concord!
When the atonal guru Schoenberg in his latter days discovered that he had not succeeded in liberating art by his twelve-tone music, he returned to the tonal language. But the "Monday Group" pretended not to notice. Still less had they heard Bela Bartoks confession on his death bed in 1945: "there is still much to write in C major" The world famous Polish pianist Artur Rubinstein in his last days also found a way to express his musical testament diplomatically by the words: "I dont understand you" (adressing the "new" music).
Among Swedish composers and musical personalities its above all Hugo Alfvén and Kurt Atterberg who have dared to speak their minds. A rather sophisticated way to express it you find in Atterbergs ninth symphony "Visionaria". Strange enough he would here be rather alone in his knack to let atonal music play the part of "evil", which enters the world. ("Atterberg introduces a twelve-tone row when the text speaks of Evil coming into the world, which add a hair-raising, chilly quality to this frightening tale") The quote is from a British record review of a CD-recording by the Malmö symphony orchestra.
Sixten Eckerberg, conductor, pianist, composer and leader of the Gothenburg symphony orchestra 1939-60, writes in his autobiography:
" then we have arrived at something I would call sound manufacturers. Here the earlier composer, who used notes and largely founded his works on traditional harmonics, has been replaced by a "maker" who works with effects of different kinds, mostly sound and noise. Most of the makers use no notes but suggestions and graphic designs instead to express their intentions. Tapes of sound-electronic kind and producing natural, personal sounds is a major part of it. These manufacturers have nothing to offer me, and I find no message in their sound industry. Only shallowness and emptiness." End of quote.
Erland von Koch is a real Nestor among Swedish composers. 2007 (97 years old) he is interviewed in the new musical magazine OPUS. Asked what he thinks about modern music he delivers the following answer with a rather "cloven tongue":
"I dont agree with Hugo Alfvén, who in his credo says he doesnt believe in the modern music, since it violates those natural laws which have formed and guide the human psyche" "I want both the old and the very modern to be heard"
Later on von Koch states contradictorily that he is glad that the MELODY at last begins to return, since according to him its one of the ground pillars of music. Thats why his own music also is firmly anchored in folk music, which he has in common with Hugo Alfvén
von Koch: "then entered the composers of the 40s. They formed the "monday group" and seized all the important positions in musical society Still they were all pupils of Hilding Rosenberg of the 20s whom they said they respected, in spite of his warning stated in the radio in 1950: " Yes, our Swedish musical history has never before had so stubborn deniers. Not much is accepted by their ears. This care for the ego which marks many of them can become a danger which I hope they will overcome " (meaning the "monday group" and others of the same sort).
von Koch: "I dont want to accuse anyone now, but it was terrible while it lasted. You shouldnt control composers. Everyone should be able to express himself without becoming persecuted If you try to force others to stop composing, if you boycott them and crush them, I get mad. We were many who wanted to move abroad. Our works were no longer performed. In spite of hard resistance from the mafia-like monday group, Lars Erik Larsson became teacher in composition 1947, just because H. Rosenberg was too old. L.E.Larsson was then constantly attacked in the press by supporters of that group "
The world famous conductor Bruno Walter (1876-1962) wrote in his old age a number of autobiographical works. His testament from 1955 is titled "Music and musicians" from which I quote the following:
"That composer who consciously breaks the elementary and original laws of music writes only Unmusic. The said elementary laws have through all ages been accepted as natural by musical people, that is, founded in the entity of music, and the revolt of the atonalists against them is as absurd as a rebellion would be against the fundamental laws of physics."
Bruno Walter also makes a pedagogic difference between external and internal musicality:
"The external musicality can be manifested in technical brilliance, faultless prima vista execution and having the whole music clearly booming in the head just by reading the score. This external technical musicality completely lacks the depth of the internal musicality. The internal musicality can be handicapped by flaws in the external but manages anyway, while only external musicality never can make it in the end."
Bruno Walter didnt then know that a completely new brain research at the Carolinian Institute published in SvD 17 november 2004 has found yet another important jig-saw piece in the problem of what kind of musicality a musician could have. At last it has been established that rhythm and tonality lie in different halves of the brain, rhythm in the left and tonality in the right. This is completely logical since almost all symphonic works by Atonal composers mainly consist of rhythmical excesses rather than melodic ones. The conclusion is, that by an atonal tone system everyone with just a rhythmic talent can still become a "composer"! Another musical author (in the journal The Free Thinker) has during the last ten yerars analysed a cross-section of all the great composers works and their souls and made the following observations worth remembering:
"Of all the great unsurpassed world conductors of the first half of the 20th century, Bruno Walter could have been not only the most human and sympathetic but also the wisest. The controversial traits of his colleagues, like Toscaninis fits of rage, Otto Klemperers radicalism, Karajans vanity and opportunism, Furtwänglers nervousness and lack of clarity, the dryness of Richard Strauss and the monkey and poseur manners of others, Bruno Walter lacked completely. In addition he was perhaps the only one among the great conductors who dared make a clear statement and stand against the atonal derailments of modern music." And further on:
"Today musicians more and more often are forced into a kind of self-torture by the unendurable rubbish produced by the 20th century charlatans of music. These thought themselves original by composing noise consisting of only disharmonies. Isnt it finally time to scrap all music that doesnt sound well? The problem of global audial environment destruction is at least as serious as all other global environment problems." End of quote.
Havent we all some time received the question which music one should bring to a desert island? If we limit the question to classical music, has the answer ever been, a modern atonal work? Have you ever wondered why? Most people I have met find the answer so obvious that the question is unnecessary. For the incurable avant-gardist there is one work that warmly could be recommended and which is so markedly different from all others that even yours truly would accept it on that island. I am thinking of the only good work in the atonal world so far: Cages piece of 4 minutes and 33 seconds consisting of silence
The face of cultural hypocrisy
If the avant-gardists had studied at the university of Upsala and learnt its fundamental axiom: "to think free is great, but to think right is greater" perhaps the cultural life would have been saved from ending up in a dark labyrinth of blind alleys with soon 100 years lost time as a consequence. Yes, you read quite correctly, I claim for sure for the western art music, the 20th century is a lost century! Why? Because all "new languages" have proved to be dry, dull, loveless, humourless, genderless non-communicative sound- and picture effects rather than music and art. In the field of art and music there is no right or wrong, is the cry of these self-sufficient navel-searchers! My answer: only little children have the right to such an arrogant attitude. When no one but the originator can grasp the language which he uses for painting or composing, something is wrong. When even educated and cultivated people need help from art curators with long laboured academical (un)explanations, there is something rotten.
The main purpose of art and music is that words should not be needed! All of us who work with art or music should ask ourselves instead: do we have anything relevant to tell the audience? If the answer is yes, why then not also use a pictorial or tonal language which most people understand, but on the better side of the kitsch border? Which doesnt at all need to be the same thing as to fawn on the audience. Everything else means failed communication with the audience! To "modern nirds" the originality of the language has become more important than the eventual contents or message. Its worse than that. Since their language isnt even "readable", there is no need for any substantial contents or message or story! Thats why it has suddenly become quite possible to compose a piece of music that consists only of silence, which we told you about above.
Desperately they defend themselves by irrelevant analogies, like "Beethovens Seventh", Schuberts string quintet and Tchaikovskys violin concerto were also in their day regarded as tokens of lunacy. Its 75% lies and myths! Most such tall stories came up 1830-1880 during the development of romanticism. Now it was no longer enough to just have musical basic knowledge as the only norm and reference. The tonal system proved to have a much vaster expressive potential than what many thought possible at first sight! Yes, even some of the famous musicians of that time had some prejudice and lack of experience of those things. BUT, as soon as it became clear that only the musical expression had been explored and that music in spite of all still was made within the frame of the musical natural laws, there was no problem any more with the above mentioned musical examples! Atonal works, on the other hand, have still after 100 years (!) not been able to produce a natural and positive feedback from an ordinary professional audience assembly.
A "pedagogic parallel" worth looking at is the development of mathematics from just the "four rules of arithmetic" to the gradual inclusion of the abstract high school mathematics. Here also the "expression possibilities" rose to heights that no one would have thought possible. But of course you didnt for that reason abolish the fundamental laws of mathematics or their basic means (the four rules of arithmetic). Until 1820 only Baroque and Viennese classicism is composed which can be likened with "the four rules of arithmetic" in difficulty. From then on music is successively more and more filled with sentimental and visionary contents until when during the late romanticism (about 1895-1915) it appears to many as too abstract to be "properly enjoyable".
For now music demands that you should be able to grasp and "decipher" much greater and more complex connections between the basic concepts rhythm, harmony and melody. Such music you find chiefly with Sibelius, R.Strauss, Mahler and Wagner among others. But, this so called decoding is still managed by the software of the ear by listening! Not so any longer, when atonalism is introduced shortly afterwards. Now the perception, decoding and understanding of the musical contents was only possible by the eye and the intellect, preferrably without the music even passing the ears! For they can now only perceive sound effects without any musicality or meaningful context. Thats why atonal music only is becoming on films, especially if the film contains much horror and violence.
Dont let yourselves be fooled by that the works of Picasso and other modernists are sold for big money. Its not their art that is selling but their names! Remove the name, and no one would pay one nickle for the rubbish! Today many pay a high price for this rebellious and destructive cultural fashion. In a Swedish high school in the 90s the improbability occurred, that a pupil showed a Rembrandt-like talent. The only encouragement he received from his teacher was: "you are passed but no more. You havent created anything new or original!" The far consequence of such an attitude must be that soon no one will be able to or want to paint like Rembrandt. Therefore I propose the art judges: Make a specification of demands for acceptance at art salons and exhibitions. Demand motives of a landscape, house and buildings, a portrait, all naturally in classical style, accepted? Very well, then its just to get going.
Atonal music doesnt sell the way modern art does, for the simple reason that there are no collectors and investors here who need to evade taxes and such things. Its also more difficult to "bluff" in music. Therefore the number of modern composers is just a fragment of the number of modern artists. A music piece does not live as easily on the name of the composer and cant be sold by auctions to investors. Instead a large concert audience is required of about 1000 people or more, who after the concert buy a CD record, which 99% never do. For that reason it does not stand economically on its own legs. With the help of tax money and artificial respiration you can still continue feeding the audience by force. Here the next misleading propaganda usually turns up. "The tonal music also lives by tax money. Hundreds of millions are every year pumped into musical institutions, so dont come here arguing!"
Item one, tonal music is not force-fed to the audience, and item two, the money does not go to Brahms and Beethoven but to premises and personnel, is my answer. That these stable resources are still mostly used to play Brahms and Beethoven and such is mainly because it would be meaningless and irresponsible towards audiences and tax players to play in almost empty salons. Its precisely to avoid this that symphony orchestras are compelled to place an atonal piece as the first item in an ordinary program to avoid that the audience leaves for home too soon! The same simple method is applied by television when they force-feed us with commercials in the middle of a program, so that the audience shall not be able to avoid it. Something that has no life must suck blood from what has. The word describing this we all know too well.
One could say that modern composers really have themselves to blame for that the orchestras still play Brahms and Beethoven to such an extent. As far as I know, orchestras have not retarded or censured the musical development the first 300 years (up till 1920). Only when the composers start "mooning" both qualified musicians and their today well educated audience, then you have started to show a certain symbolical resistance to limit a musically destructive activity.
Despite that 90% of these (because of fear and rather discreetly) resist atonal music, this music enhances its position and exposition everywhere, both in the media and the concert halls of the country. This is done at the cost of the tonal serious music, which already without this has great problems in maintaining their positions in the commercial media squall.
Do I then not grant this modern (anti)cultural movement to exist? Should I, when evidently their goal is to take every chance to break down the values of beauty which have been cultivated the last 300 years? Just because it was the upper classes that first got to know so called higher culture, the composers of those works (Brahms and Beethoven) and we along with them should evidently be punished. Why should Wagner be punished just because Hitler kidnapped his music? All classes of society are today represented among the listeners to classical music. That the majority of the lower classes still prefer to drink beer and watch soccer or vulgar soap operas is not the fault of the music. No upper class or dead tonal composer have in our time shut these people out into the cold. Its wholly a personal choice. On the contrary, ticket prices and drug costs at rock concerts are often higher than the fees at a regular state financed symphony concert.
Where by the way is the non-bourgeois audience, when atonal prophets keep court with their noise? I have myself been forced into this on many occasions. I have never seen others there than the club of mutual admiration, plus a few pseudo-intellectual nirds without any humour or joy. Concerning them I tend to believe that what they need is a private shrinker and not a lot of atonal music.
How can orchestral musicians stand this atonal sound terror? There is no objective investigation answering that question. Until then the majority will have to continue their spiritual survival course with the help of some grim humour and invectives like "psychic ward", "institutional care"
By the way, can psychologists tell me what personality disorder an artist or composer suffers from who wants to force both musicians and audiences to applaud and admire him? Until then well have to satisfy ourselves with the author Hjalmar Söderbergs wise words:
"A human being wants to be loved. If she isnt, she wants to be admired. If she isnt, she wants to be feared. If she isnt she wants to be loathed and despised "
This is what the "force" usually looks like. In the corridors of power you lob (by offering ultimatums to civil servants) on the condition that Sweden will be without live composers (in advanced music) unless they order fresh works by us and then force music institutions and symphony orchestras to use our works in their programs! Why then has no civil servant come upon the idea to ask the obvious question and also demand a relevant answer: Why does the fresh composition have to be atonal? Cant you manage to compose tonal music? Then it is demanded that the work is documented on CD to then be played on radio and television. All this despite that no one else than the composers themselves and their kin are interested in such proceedings.
But WHY are there no counter demands that the composer at least confirms that he masters the common musical language of the world? First ask that fellow to present a traditionally tonal work, which is the only test to confirm his ability! Dont be surprised if 90% fall away in the first run. But as it is they are all accepted by themselves according to the principles of "the club of mutual admiration", with the resulting formidable stench of inbreeding with all the consequences. Such demands have at all times been required of professional musicians. If you cant play Mozarts and Brahms violin concertos youll get no seat in a symphony orchestra, no matter how clever you are in other musical forms! Another example of how it may happen:
An atonal composer writes for example a violin concerto which he dedicates (and gives as present) to a great well-known soloist. As thanks for the "present" the soloist has to perform the piece. If he is famous enough there will even be a live broadcast in some media. The audience keep their faces (or else it would be awkward) and applaud almost as much as if it had been Beethovens violin concerto. And behold, what a fine present the composer has given himself in the end! Every time the program committee is assembled there is talk about the duty of having fresh (atonal) pieces on the repertoire. I write "talk" since no one can explain why and make it credible. To even raise the question of who has any need of these works and what the demand looks like, is regarded as culturally politically incorrect and just creates a tense atmosphere in the conference rooms. Strangely enough, you could at the same occasion without problems question tonal works with low or no demand.
Its time to stop closing your eyes to whats obvious. The composers of tonal works are almost all dead since 75 years and have no lobbyists or corrupt nepotist relationships with people in the business, which the atonal composers of today hardly can absolve themselves from. But because of the low independent demand from the audience, the real sales of CDs usually end up with figures corresponding to the club of mutual admiration plus a few curious "newbees". Then of course you should really count all those out who buy the CD just to listen to the great known soloist. Back to the Concert Hall, the applause has just died away, and its time for the cultural journalists. At the press reception there are some predictable harmless questions which known musicians always answer culturally politically correctly. The answers can sound like this:
"The work is interesting and innovative I like new challenges all the time its developing to test new things I have even found a few bars which are almost more than I can manage, real thrilling we musicians also have to take our responsibility in bringing forth the culture of our age, and this music is better than most things written in modern times" (which really doesnt say very much, in my opinion).
An uncensored and culturally politically incorrect answer by the same (famous) soloist could sound something like this:
" I have played the violin concertos of Brahms and Beethoven many hundreds of times and with all important conductors and symphony orchestras I have the concerts up to my neck maybe even the audience wants to hear something out of the ordinary at least the composer wants it and he has contacts enough to get what he wants even if almost no one will buy the CD for the sake of the music but its not my problem, I have been paid if he is a friend of mine I could of course play it for nothing since I can manage anyway also its fun to have something new to study for a change "
But to abandon "protocol" so brutally would create an awkward mood which few could handle in front of microphones and cameras, even if the soloist only has told the truth, and maybe just because of that! The strategy of conductors and soloists is easy to understand, if you sail with the wind its easy to "like it". Why then risk any counter blast? Why cut off the branch you are sitting on? Isnt the whole musical/cultural life a giant tree with a thousand branches on which the chosen are sitting? For those who already fight against the wind its just to keep quiet, or else they wont sail at all when the "wind lulls". No, its always possible to get something to the cultural mob that they want to hear, without directly lying. Remember, classical musicians are very well behaving in front of the audience. Its part of the professional necessity. So one thing is certain, you "always play with the music" in the performance/press conference, its just a continuation of the recently finished concert and is understatedly included in the contract. No, it will take very long before some Janne Josefsson (journalist) "tricks" a cultural person into believing that the camera and microphone are shut off, if you see what I mean.
I can only remember one glorious exception from these rituals. Greta Eriksson has in her latter days just finished a concert with a contemporary Swedish piano work far away in America, when a journalist asks the as predictable as harmless kitsch question: well, how does it feel now? "yes, but going so far for so little" was the somewhat unexpected answer. The journalist, who probably was most unprepared for this small breach of etiquette quickly changed the subject. Had it been a young Swedish pianist who as yet hadnt made it, you may be sure he would have had a sound thrashing by Jan Lennart Höglund on the Music radio. At worst the young pianists career could already have been finished in Sweden. The cultural mafia is really that intolerant. Now it was found convenient to leave the grand old lady in peace for good, as far as I know.
All probably agree that it would feel unnatural for a homosexual to have sex with a woman. In spite of this it has been whispered in my ear that many queers, in order to fit into society, have felt compelled to marry heterosexually and then, with some effort one may assume, beget children. In the same way as a homosexual then is able to have sex with a woman but hardly to enjoy it, many musicians have "sex" with atonal music. According to my observations it is done to more easily fit into the present cultural climate and avoid clashes with live "important" culture personalities. To profess to be interested or at least to accept contemporary culture also gives some culturally political status. Therefore not surprisingly youll find professional musicians who would eagerly rush to the defence of the atonal music, many even make some (extra) money on it. They will hardly thereby escape a suspicion of artistic bias. Many audience people would be shocked if they by accident once could hear the tape from a hidden recorder from backstage in our concert halls. But its not always the great gestures that speak the most. Here is a small episode from the musical everyday life:
During a recording of a new atonal composition, the composer exclaims his great contentment when the last chords have faded out. At last they had managed to get everything in the right place! A few musicians look inquiringly at each other and observe that they still have a number of bars left to play! Which means that they practically had been in the wrong place in the notes during quite a long time without the record producer or they themselves had noticed anything. To a professional musician this is a quite absurd incident which for certain never ever has happened during recordings of tonal music and never can happen
Three string musicians are still on stage after a rehearsal of Brahms Requiem. The first cellist quite spontaneously to his colleague: "One can always get religious from playing this music" A viola player happening to be near by reacted with equal spontaneity and with a twinkle in his eye: "What then do you get from atonal music?" Both cellists turn to the viola player with eyes you only give a fellow who has said something forbidden In corridors its slightly more allowed to weather ones sincere feelings. "Damn what fucking shit " is just an example of what could be heard on the same occasion. There was on the same program a work by Schoenberg
But it doesnt have to be a conscious dishonesty on the part of the musician. Read once more the paragraph about Bruno Walter, and especially the piece about two different kinds of musicians, those with internal and external musicality respectively. My conclusion: the lower the internal musicality factor is and the worse the tone musicality is in the right half of the brain, the greater the "patience" with tones and sounds without definable contents and context. In other words, you get more interested/fascinated by what the tools/musical instruments can accomplish "materially" in sound effects. Therefore you shouldnt be surprised by all the noise and rattling in the atonal world. And suddenly there is a new occasion to bring forth the old saying: "empty barrels rattle most"
In reality I think it goes like this: for "pragmatic" reasons you first confess to the mentioned outer music religion, so no one can accuse you of (musical) prostitution! Whatever then is played or composed is to be reckoned as the real thing. A known Swedish atonal composer has also on several occasions "revealed" what helps a man to accept this religion. Stop listening with the ears! They only limit you to what is recognizable! Instead you should "listen" with the intellect, which would be medically impossible! But that doesnt bother a self-appointed tone artist. Through such "intellectual magic tricks" they try to fool the whole world and at length also themselves. Fool? How else would it be possible to get new money all the time for atonal productions? Then the program committees more or less force musicians and audiences to accept a world of musical illusions consisting of external sound effects, to later on quite insolently file this as that the audience "keeps quiet and agrees" even if only passively.
At the same time as this is written, almost, one could listen to prof. Töres Theorell, when he quite simply observed that pictures and music have a kind of privilege to enter straight into the sentimental centre of the brain, without being obliged to pass the intellect of the cerebral cortex! Exactly here we find an important reason why we need culture at all. A modern man has heavy intellectual "burdens" on his cerebral cortex. Two known efficient ways of reducing this encumberment is by meditation or by experiences of nature or culture! Without it being said clearly, its still obvious from this, that all culture, which has to be taken in by the intellect, has disqualified itself. Then you can easily find out that the atonal art and music tend rather to increase the stress burden in the cerebral cortex than reduce it!
A fresh example from reality of the above pragmatic attitude is given by "Gaggego", a ten-year old contemporary ensemble from Gothenburg. The spokesman of the group on the radio in april 2005:
"Sometimes we dont even like what we play. To go through with a concert you first have to convince yourself to do your best in spite of all. Therefore we convince ourselves that the music is OK before a concert. After the concert you might think something else"
Another fresh example of a pragmatic attitude is the young world famous American violinist Hilary Hahn. When asked how she looks upon her role as a musician and soloist the answer was: "Paper with a lot of notes and a lot of job!" It could have been a humorous-sarcastic answer. When it wasnt followed by any complimentary answer, it remained just an indication of how young soloists during the making of their career have no time to get any deeper philosophical perspective on the role of music. A strong contributing cause would be that these soloists are taken care of for professional purposes already around the age of 10. Already before their teens they have to learn what juries, concert associations and media demand. Therefore its rather a rule than an exception that these talents always repeat the same acquired phrases in interviews.
Every musical journalist sooner or later arrives at the same question: "and how do you regard the music of our time?" A fresh quotation from a young female soloist on the radio: "Oh, I just love contemporary music!" Do you think you at such interviews get any explanation why? You never do. It sounds like a well taught lesson as clear as can be. Hilary Hahn also received the somewhat more advanced question: "if as a violin soloist you had to choose three composers, which ones would you choose?" Answer: "Bach, Shostakovich and Samuel Barber!" How you can place these three before all other "greats", no one mentioned and no one forgotten, must be a riddle to more than just myself. Lets play with some musical "mathematics". Bachs purely harmonic music and Shostakovichs contrary take out each other and reduce each other to zero. Then remains S. Barber who is to surpass all great romantic concerts that have been loved and asked for by the audiences since the beginning of time. Its no longer a question of serving the audience or humanity. Its a question of boosting the ego by appearing original and different, in other words just the same approach as atonal composers always have had
Other musicians have no choice. I am thinking of the permanent opera singers who in order to get enough parts cant leave out the atonal music. To a free-lance singer or musician, money comes first, the musical idiom comes second. It could be somewhat awkward to be obliged to admit to something like that, so dont interview musicians about it. There are too many (but I havent said all) who then must adjust their answers to what would seem fit for the moment. In several cases I think it would be a question of consciously or unconsciously telling lies to bear with surviving 30 years compulsory service in such an environment, they seem to call it white lies nowadays. Consequently its also logical if it proves that most of those who claim to be positive about atonal music are found in those institutions which have the most commissions to perform such music.
A Swedish model example of successful marketing of atonal music must be told here. During all the 90s a "great famous" trombonist went touring on a "motorbike". In leather dress and boots he takes concert hall after concert hall, radio and TV, and the CD industry hangs on. No one knows if its a joke or for serious. Consequently most (musically grown-up) people take a middle stand. The said "motorbike" was a trombonist who at any cost wanted to look like and sound like a motorbike. Everything would have been a success if it were not for one thing: the show had very little to do with music. It wasnt entertainment, it wasnt serious music. The happening could only be described as a sound/instrument spectacle or occasion fit for the circus ring.
Though the music was completely atonal, it was a greater public success than such occasions usually are. Here was an old concept from the 60s dusted off, and by also making the soloist voice a "show to the eye", the audience got the chance to rather focus on the visual than the (non-existent) musical contents. To thus "by force catch" the publics relative appreciation brought paradoxically enough out envy in certain atonal circles. Sour commentaries was the price to pay for the composer, according to the famous soloists own words in a radio interview. On the other hand, few atonal compositions would have made such a box-office success as this work did. Maybe that was the very thing that most irritated his composer colleagues.
After stealthily having listened to the "insider talk" of the symphony orchestras for 25 years, I appreciate that the musicians with atonal acceptance are at the most 10% of the permanent about 700 chamber musicians in Sweden. If you would listen to what their employers say, the percentage would be the opposite. Why almost every musical employer never refuses to produce modern works because of their atonalism must have purely culture-political reasons. Why would then the musicians guild be completely free from cowardly people or careerists who for opportunist reasons profess the "right" views and thus fail the majority of both colleagues and the audience? Its not stranger than that there is a minority of doctors who consider their career more important than their patients health, or that there are lawyers who against payment protect villains.
Is it then not possible for a highly educated musician to honestly like atonal music? Before answering that question one should ask another. How is it possible that some young girls who feel bad want to cut their bodies with sharp things? There appears to be a common psychological explanation which looks like this. A human being in psychic balance feels agony when he sees blood gush forth from a wound cut by glass in a living body. A human being out of psychic balance who already before such an action is full of agony, can feel some "relief" from the experience. Not least the film director Ingmar Bergman has himself used this "artistic" means of expression to visualize the anguished actions in one of his well-known films. I admit these are so far just speculations, but I cant fail to see the possible analogy with the respective influence of atonal cutting musical violence on a soul out of balance. The conclusion must be, that the human psyche is so complex, that even the grossest perversions can paradoxically have a softening and therefore positive effect on certain people. As long as such a therapy stays with the person in question (and his shrinker) and is not forced on others, that person, if he so desires, is of course entitled to such a relief.
Is it by chance that the perversions of our day are expressed both by soul and body? The sex market for instance seems to have ended up in a war about "vaginal" and "anal" respectively, just like the music market competes in tonal or "anal" output. The war in these worlds seems funnily enough to be about the same thing: right way or wrong way! What does perverse stuff have to do with culture? I have also been wondering about that for a long time, especially now as Raoul Wallenberg is being honoured by a contemporary artist with an (anal) monument consisting of items like dog's excrements dispersed on the pavement. The suspicious thing is not that we have freedom of expression and that there are people with perverse inclinations who take advantage of this freedom.
The scandal is that there are civil servants of culture handling many millions of state money who subsidize this and thereby almost force the public to eat the "shit". By the way, why is not the owner required to pick up the dog's shit he has left? I can't help finding another variation on civil disobedience. You are hereby encouraged to walk your dog by the monument. The artist will surely only be keyed up by the new "interactive moment" which turns the work of art alive (only on a bacteriological level but all the same) and grows and changes in rhythm with the tooth of time
Some time ago some local politicians stopped at an art exhibition in the foyer of the public place and exclaimed: "How good they are, aren't they!" We who happened to see and hear this looked at each other with the same opened and questioning mouths. The "works of art" consisted mainly of unorganized and unspecified cancerlike blotches in the ugliest possible colours. Behaviourists, get in touch as soon as possible and tell us more about the supplementary studies in the workings of flock behaviour and the reptile brain
A number of documentaries have been made about great artists. Two such persons' behaviour about 100 years ago awake my curiosity, Pablo Picasso and Richard Wagner. What do they have in common? Both were masters within their fields and both have a reputation of insolence, falseness, egoism, manipulation and even criminality. And why this total want of any gentlemanly manners? There was however an important difference between the gentlemen. One created heavenly art and the other diabolical. Why? Institute a Nobel prize in culture at once, and let the solver of this problem be the first winner!
Another group where many people have plenty on their conscience is the culture experts educated by the state and who often have an academic education. This category most often shows up in all kinds of media. These professional opiners debaters critics "write up" or "write down" an originator. To the public it seems they are doing their job as consumer ombudsmen for the public, who are to protect us against bad taste and unmask the con men of culture. Do they? Hardly, considering at least what here has been told. Today it rather feels as if the culture experts would say: when will you also join the religion of our time? If you are not a faithful member there, there is not a penny for you to fetch regardless of artistic or musical talent. Not to join implies starvation and that you are considered culturally politically dead.
It's not the musical earthquake (the atonal concert) which does the greatest harm. It's rather the on-rushing Tsunami wave of all the media where both "guilty and innocent" fall victims to the one-sided propaganda of the "culture-political bureaucrats". It's this tsunami which at length also sweeps away the civil servants of culture who sit on all the tax money and are to decide what should be "bought in"! Thereby the circle is closed, if you see what I mean. And what made it all possible was the collective decision of the public to quite simply stop thinking and only like whatever came by and thereby add to the hypocrisy set into a system.
For pedagogic reasons I can't help comparing with another field where the disposition towards hypocrisy is at least as great. Several times during the last 30 years researchers have with scientific methods succeeded in showing that sex stimuli (porn films) affects all sane people of both genders. The intriguing thing about this is, that even here culture and religion have marched on so ferociously for 2000 years, that it no longer was possible to get at the natural truth in other ways than by direct measuring of "genital reactions" in connection with erotic exposure (without romance). Researchers had namely good reasons to believe, that the majority of women during all this time had been lying about everything connected with sexual excitement and erotic truths, at least if these were disconnected from love and romance.
While men have been allowed to get excited by sexual stimuli without any demands that love or romance first should make it "legitimate", women have until our day been said not to even react on similar stimuli. Even famous and educated sex advisers have maintained the myth until Internet by a new kind of "civil disobedience" has made further myth-making in the field impossible. For the first time in history everyone, even "orderly" girls, can both see and hear everything. From now on young women can already from the start of life completely without inhibitions and censure examine the sexuality of both themselves and others, protected by anonymity even with alien men and women, without risking health or status! To put it simply, the lie/myth has looked like this: Men get a hard one on sex and porn films while women turn on by love and romance. If women would turn on the same as men, they have not been counted as real women, but their status has immediately been devaluated to the level of pornography or prostitution, they became whores and thereby also shut out from the community of the warm and serious cottages. The stench from double standards and erotical hypocrisy in these warm cottages no one pretended to know anything about. Just to concur in the political correct choir, or to just simply keep quiet doesnt really need any civil courage
Both the church and the "social pressure" have thus brainwashed women (and men) that a woman does not have a physical sexuality of her own, before this first has been raised/initiated by a legitimate man. And exactly like in Africa, women (mother, grandmother) are the most eager in maintaining the lie and tradition! Just as much as women in Africa have suffered physically (from sexual mutilation), just as much have women in Europe suffered from "violation" on nature. When in underdeveloped countries they thought themselves able to operate "the erotic problem" away by physical circumcision of woman, the church of our civilisation took care of the same problem by a "mental circumcision" of women mostly. Catholic (male) priests have also as is well known become "mentally circumcised" with as notorious as repulsive "results" Perhaps history even will show that certain fields like sex, eroticism, love and morals have stood for the most far-reaching hypocrisies ever between human beings.
All this has led to the same problem of hypocrisy which the western 20th century culture is seized by. The only difference is that within modern art and music the corresponding musical "mutilation" has only been going for about 100 years, counting from the First World War. The new cultural religion says: all natural and symmetrical art and music shall be "cut out" and exiled into the closets of museums, to be replaced by anarchistic and agonizing rebellious activity. The mutilated art and music works "mirror and communicate better with our time", as the pseudo-intellectual jargon tells. Any real HOW or WHY we are never supposed to know. The hypocrisy which then pervades the audience in for instance the Berwald Hall consists of empty but still superficially enthusiastic applause, which doesnt correspond at all with the same "spiritual excitement" which can spellbind the audience after the "ninth" of Beethoven or Verdis Requiem. You see, its politically culturally correct to share the rite of self-suggestion, in the same way as it is politically correct to claim not to be excited by porno filnms, especially if you are a woman. Have we then encircled the two greatest (?) areas of human hypocrisy, one concerning the body (sex) and one concerning the soul (culture)? No, religion is not included here, since the individual really cant know whether God exists or not, and still less which church is the right one. To believe is not to be a hypocrite, its a human right. But the other two things he/she does know about deep inside
Many of us have quietly seen through the "mutilation of culture" though. The composers and artists are no longer to exist for the benefit of the audience. The audience (the tax payers) are instead to exist for them, preferrably within all cultural disciplines. Isnt the pattern familiar in some ways? Freedom is to be granted to a few freaked out egoistic rebels, whom then all the others are to suffer for and also finance! And for Gods sake, dont listen to the ridiculous counter arguments of these rebels like: Beethoven was also a freedom rebel but was still "financed" and appreciated
Beethoven and others used this "artistic freedom" for the benefit of man and the audience. This is by "natural method" long since scientifically verified (millions of sold records and millions of voluntary concert visitors across the whole world). Hundreds of millions of people all over the world have spontaneously not only sought but actually received comfort and solace to the soul by the music of tonal composers. Is it even one percent of these millions of listeners who have had a corresponding "human benefit" through their atonal equivalents? Probably not, and still this one percent absorbs almost all state subsidies!
Also dont listen to their equally irrelevant questions like: "who has forbidden tonal composers to write? If they are so good and interesting for the people as you claim, surely they can manage by themselves (economically)" The tonal works do manage on their own by "the care of the market". On this market there is a collection of successful musicals and film music, all tonal. This whole production consists of the category "serious entertainment music". Such music is obviously possible to produce without first having been accepted to a composition class at one of the music high schools of the country. But anyone who would venture to enter the "symphonic elite team" on tonal grounds has no chance to enter the market without first having passed the needles eye of the education organs run by the state and their scholarship foundations. Add to this that no composer gets published unpunished with a tonal opera or symphony. If this should happen anyway, even only symbolically, cultural critics will immediately be there to cut him down to his heels, while at the same time puristic avant-gardists are extolled to the guru level. See further and not least what has been reported in the chapter about the role of the media in this context.
To the music audience I would now like to say the following: in the Middle Ages people believed the earth was flat. No person could possibly by himself see that was not the case. He who openly speculated in anything else took a serious risk of getting burnt at the stake for witchcraft. The majority of todays audience can hear by themselves, though, that atonal music is not compatible with the "software" of the ear. Therefore the audience of today have their share in the responsibility for the possible hypocrisy which arises. To put it bluntly: as long as one part in a relationship, from cowardice or by politeness fakes an orgasm, nothing will get better!
How then if both parties (musicians and audience) "fake it", you may wonder? Everybody knows that a real musical "orgasm" only can be produced in the audience by music of high quality performed on an equally high level. Standing ovations followed by many thousand records sold is the normal receipt on such a common feeling. Remember next time, when after an atonal work you perform a ritual as if you just has listened to Verdis Requiem. When you actually stand up applauding a work that consists solely of sound effects and disharmonies, ask yourselves why you do it! Yes, I know that sex is not only about orgasms, that music is not only about romantic melodies. But whatever it is about, the language at least must be readable, so that both parties can have something out of the encounter, whether its music or sex or anything else.
The chroniclers of the evening post more often find the right words which often are missing in heavier debates. Or what about these words of wisdom by Johan Hakelius, March 16th 2005 (even if this quote was about another subject)
"Everybody knows how it should work. Something nasty stares into your eyes. No one wants to know about it. Then we become hypocrites. And suddenly we feel better but it so happens, that hypocrisy is a team sport. Everybody must partake, if it is to work. We who listen must believe in the obvious lie, as much as the liar himself wants to believe it. Or else it shatters " End of quote.
Nathan Shachar in DN Nov. 2005 has made an almost equally interesting statement concerning the high nonsense factor in humanistic research:
"Half educated incompetent researchers are swarming who only have ideological loyalties and connections to thank for their titles and positions. The open door cries for the thief, says Talmud. If those who are to protect the heritage retire and suggest that method and stringency now can be replaced by battle cries, slogans and downright noise, then its only a question of time before con men will appear on the arena trying their luck."
After having read these words its hardly possible to evade the question: why couldnt these words also apply to the "humanistic" musical research of the Royal Musical Academy?
Another great problem is that commercial record companies seldom or never choose small or medium sized orchestras when they are to record the most demanded (tonal) repertoire. Practically it means these orchestras are dependent on the state record company Caprice of National Concerts for economic support. Their employees decide in their turn which works should be sponsored. For some reason that means almost all contemporary music or odd classical music with low or no demand! Their motivation sounds as lovely as ever:
"there must be other music than the commercial one or else we risk a black hole in history concerning our culture " Pardon me, but Brahms and Beethoven is not commercial music, and the same applies to all classics. Also several 20th century composers "held out" all the way up to the Second World War, like Sibelius, L.E.Larsson, R.Strauss, O.Respighi, H.Alfvén, K.Atterberg and others. The survival of all that music has always been subsidized in some way. But here is also the great difference: it has only been after the consent of the audience!
The worst thing is that so far all statistics point at the avant-gardists themselves being the cause of this black hole of culture. Almost nothing of the newly produced has any demand or has found an anchor in any audience representative of humanity at large. That is, when the lobbyists of these works disappear, their works will also disappear with them, forced out by the new lobbyists etc It should be beyond any doubt, that the music of the 18th and 19th centuries has survived only because of great and continuous demand from audiences all over the world. The ground condition has of course been that the chief part of all professional musicians also have maintained the motivation to acquire the difficult classical repertoire. In it there is namely no chance of any shortcuts or fake performances. Such efforts are immediately seen through by the audience the feedback.
Naturally the atonal composers make efforts to write as technically difficult scores as possible, but no one in the audience, not even themselves, can hear if anyone fakes it! Here I would like to remind the reader of something that no one seems to have remarked. As long as I have lived I have never heard of any great international soloist contest where a competitor even has taken part and still less won with a fresh work. This is not because soloists dont have fresh works on their repertoire. There is only one explanation, namely the one you already have guessed. In new music its not possible to decide what is a good or bad performance! For a jury to even have a theoretical chance to agree there has to be a musical substance where even very small differences in both technique and interpretation can be judged with a common measure! When new music as said before is not founded on a common language, there can neither be any common measure! If a jury cant even evaluate such a performance, then how on earth is the audience supposed to do it?
I would like to add, that nowhere in the higher education of music there is a complete analysis made of what should be counted as music and what should be counted as noise and sound effects. Still less the question is touched on what effects the different languages have on man/the audience. That means, that a musicians employer can force him to play anything, even ink blotches splashed on note paper. The subject seems to be as controversial as if you started to analyse what God and the devil have and dont have in common. What used to be called the aesthetics of music has obviously (out of respect of living composers) been eliminated from musical education. Instead, musicians are taught not to take any stand in such questions. They instead become pure instrumentalists who are expected to play everything placed before them on the note stand without even wondering if its music or sewer sounds.
That RMA in Stockholm for many years had a headmaster with deep roots in the atonal world would hardly have made the problems easier. All teachers except in composition have themselves been educated and made their careers on chiefly tonal music. They dont have any academic training though with all kinds of research in the luggage but rather a professionally directed high school education followed by a great number of "working hours". Therefore they have only professors titles. Imagine an atheist as the Pope! Imagine also that the Vatican would train cardinals consisting of 90% believers and 10% atheists under the same roof! Thats what the situation looks like at RMA in Stockholm.
On the other hand, in 1995 the RMA took a praiseworthy initiative concerning our entire modern sound environment. RMA:s "manifest for a sounder world of sounds" is published unabridged on their home page. A few short quotes from there:
" The mass impact of sounds, especially in town, is so destructive that particular sounds no longer can be interpreted the masking effect contributes to that certain sounds appear unintelligible "
"The last 100 years the sound environment has changed radically. We now live in an immensely condensed sound world where we sometimes dont even understand if its the wrong sound in the wrong place "
"To radically change the sound world leaves traces. The sounds carry feelings. Bad sounds abuse our feelings. The deepest feelings are important to our lives "
"Above all the so called effect research lags behind, that is, how we really experience sounds and how we feel about them." End of quote.
My comment: All the above quotes could be a relevant description of what has happened inside the concert halls during the last 100 years, that is concerning the performances of new atonal music. Read the above four quotes once more! Imagine at the same time that you are now inside a concert hall In spite of this extremely pretentious sound manifesto, which really should fall under the environment department, the same Academy paradoxically awarded the Nobel prize of music (the Polar prize 2001) to a "maniac" within the field of electronic music, who preaches this gospel with the following head mantra:
"All sound is music and all sounds or tones that are together could be described as a melody".
My question: Shouldnt RMA first clean up their own doorstep? Shouldnt you first take a stand as to what both science and audience have to say concerning mans perception ability of music, noise and sound chaos? The Academy also appears to have forgotten, that from a historical point of view, the much romanticized persons who have been labelled "mad geniuses" almost never invented anything of any consequence for humanity. Therefore its almost comical when you try to imagine how a jury has argued in order to reach its handsome but strained academic formulations. Of course, you can explain how this "composer" has meant something great for humanity and not just for a pro mille of agonized sound rebels. This means, that on that day when music contra sound/noise is entered on the agenda with the RMA and is to be defined, there will probably be a great "religious war" (civil war) breaking out. Who is interested in that?
At a radio recording of a new atonal piece a long time ago I had enough of the "lunacy". In the pause I approached the producer to ask why the hell money and time is wasted on such rubbish. I shouldnt have done that, because I was quickly informed that only amateurs ask such questions. Naturally there was no answer to the objective question. From a legal point of view, I had nothing to do with what the radio of Sweden chooses to document. Correct, but it feels insulting each time someone forces you to use your instrument to what is totally opposite to what you have been educated for (by the state). Under the appearance that it is for serious, to publicly be forced to make a parody of music and of your own instrumental competence should be forbidden. No one who hasnt been on stage in front of a large audience can imagine how humiliating it really is.
The only "defence" which a musician can apply in such a situation is "civil disobedience". It can be executed by wilfully playing the wrong notes. Then the awkward paradox occurs that neither conductor, composer or audience notice anything, in most cases! If the same should be done to a tonal piece, the disaster would be a fact immediately and you would probably be fired. Chamber musicians, dont worry. In the Vienna Philharmonics a rumour says that by tradition there has been practised a variation of "civil disobedience" all since the 40s. This so called civil disobedience is really the professional musicians only possibility of a "feedback" on a modern piece. What a wonderful contempt is not here concealed to all highly educated musicians capacity of understanding, delivered by the atonal composer himself! Let me finish with a quotation which the Swedish composer Torstensson recently so honestly let off in the radio:
"I am not a musician, but rather the one who invents what musicians are to play "
How do you do then to publish all these atonal works? You can do for instance the following: Under cover of a commissioned "investigation" you ask for 40 new millions every year (autumn 2003) to, as they put it so beautifully, "stop the bleeding of the Swedish musical life". Behind the handsome formulation there is hidden the modern mafia, who here has decided that Swedish musical life equals Swedish atonal composers and their works. To give it an air of a broader base, they smartly went together with another group with economic difficulties, namely the musicians of modern jazz. What counts is the knowledge of which formulations are politically correct and applicable.
That Swedish musical life just as well could be represented by a new international outdoor festival scene for classic opera is not to be mentioned. Nevertheless, no forces in Sweden would have greater consequences for Swedish musical life than 25 new millions annually in state subsidies to the new cultural tourist potential called Dalhalla, marked for the opera, whether in concert or on stage. If per chance there would be an independent cultural accountant who dared to examine the laundry, he would soon notice that civil servants of culture, avant-gardists and media live in a kind of symbiosis together. Thereby they have launched the whole cultural sector into a vicious circle which hardly one single "accountant" would be able to break.
Since "all sounds or tones lying together" including flushing toilets nowadays is to be regarded as music, since pedophilia, rubbish and dogs shit is to be counted as art, it becomes impossible for such an accountant to perform the examination according to "good revision standards". So the millions continue rolling around in this dark labyrinth while the serious cultural life indeed is bleeding to death from all the rising costs. Many serious and urgent projects live on the margin, where for instance one default of subsidies of 100,000 could imply bankruptcy. You can also describe it like this. From a historical and statistical perspective, the whole cultural world consists today of persons in a high position with deviating disposition, who apply advanced triangular relationships according to the following:
ATONAL COMPOSERS + COMMISSIONERS + MEDIA = TRUE
Therefore its about time to start scrutinizing the purchasing cultural civil servants games with millions annually. Normally the purchase of a product should contain term specifics. Number one on that list should be which language should be used. That there might be some problems with defining borders in art, even I must realize, but concerning music its not so difficult. Those composers who master our common language should get the tax money subsidies and commissions. As it is now, instead the atonal unauthorized tone language gets all the commissions. How has that become possible? The whole subject has become so infected and controversial that not even the book publishers (so far) have dared to print this "cultural trial"! No, not even the "Wordfront" publishers, who boast that their policy is to print what no one else dares to print.
If I sum up all the statements from contemporary artists and composers that I have been collecting during a lifetime, I find one common denominator shining through, sometimes openly and sometimes between the lines. All seem to principally desire some kind (of attention?) instead of giving something (a positive experience) to humanity. It wasnt like that during the first 300 years of higher culture (1625-1925), especially not in Beethovens and Schuberts days. Although they both went through the worst possible hells, they gave immortal masterpieces to their audience of both depth and beauty. But how does it work today? When the composer Allan Pettersson or Shostakovich suffer, then the intent seems to be that the audience also shall suffer. Or else they are seized with megalomania and believe themselves to be chosen by higher powers to mediate the appearance of life "on the other side".
In order to succeed with this in 1991, the French composer O. Messiaen needed an orchestra of 130 men playing 11 movements for an hour consisting mainly of flimsiness and díssonances! Imagine what it would cost to assemble 130 surgeons for a week to fake an operation of a patient, record everything and then transmit the illusion by radio all over the world. Only one year later the composer went across to "the other side". Just think if he only had waited one year with telling humanity about what life over there would be. How much more credibility would then not the music have been ascribed
A hundred years after the first cultural rebels started their revolution I ask the following questions: Isnt it about time for a counter revolution? It would firstly then concern the music, since there has been so much bad music imposed on the audience "by force" according to what I have been telling you, and these bad manners constantly are escalating. If/when western art music gradually perishes because of this, just look at how all the society experts will then make haste to express horror and wonder at how all this at all could happen. You are to pretend that no one could understand and imagine the width of what went on. In books without end many sympathizers will hurry to exculpate themselves with that the "issue" was not on their desk. They didnt have enough information on the subject either, etc. In that case, why did they get on the train, and why did they have so much to preach on the issue earlier?
As a curiosity I insert another chance "web catch" from Internet (spring 2005), which indicates that the same problem also exists on the other side of the Atlantic. The American Gary North has the following to say:
"Classical music companies made a pact with the devil: the state. That pact, as always, has now gone sour. This is good. The pact was immoral from day one. It was based on theft. The suppliers orchestras were on the take politically. Classical music has a future, but only if the present economic arrangement dies. The state has long controlled the production of classical music. The fact that cacophony has reigned almost supreme since 1900 is a testimony to Mises' original observation. Atonal music is to music what socialism is to economics: planned chaos. We could use less of it".
End of quote.
No, I am not at all a reactionary moralist from the "Christian right". Possibly I would rather like to be a cultural environment activist, with an alternative information for consumers. Are then the above described "audial environment discharges" so much to fight about? No, perhaps not in individual cases, but there is an evident tendency that constantly keeps rolling in the wrong direction, like a snowball growing bigger and bigger.
One "environment effect" achieved so far (in 2005) is at least that the very expensive channel P2 on the Swedish radio is threatened to life as an art music channel. In a position where P2 already traditionally has the lowest rate of listeners (about 1-2%), each one can figure out by himself what will happen, when the atonal output is constantly increased on this channel. It will quite simply kill itself!
In spite of this, a society must have freedom of expression, so let the avant-gardists be. But dont allow them to sail under false colours! Organised sound effects can never be anything else than sound effects, even if they are written down on an ever so expensive sheet of note paper and is called a symphony in the program, its as simple as that.
I would like to propose the following: Start applying the same environment rules for cultural producers as the industries obey. Sell "discharge rights" to those musicians and artists who want to defile the environment. Let them pay instead of getting paid, and the problem will surely be solved by itself. If not all the above displayed conditions bring some afterthought, I dont know where society is heading. Avant-gardists, I want to change your name to illusionists. If it is humanity you want to salvage, I see no other possiblity than to go back to the times before the First World War. Why not do like the Polish composer Gorecki. Get up and get at least a place to stand in the last wagon of late Romanticism. Those who per chance find a place, go on developing from there and you are forgiven.
To all cultural Sweden I would for mentioned reasons like to ask the following questions: In whose service are the media and P2 of the radio? Do they serve the musical audience or are they hired by the "atonal lobby"? Who really has the burden of evidence in this symbolic trial and why? Who are the actual heretics in these questions of culture?
Is there anything else to validate the above reasonings than the opinions of the public and "philosophical evidence"? An excerpt from a serious research within music and psychology verifies unambiguously all the arguments of the basic question. Everyone who is not yet convinced is hereby offered a "last chance" for consideration down below. But first a few relevant quotations:
Churchill would for sure have stated that: never have so many (composers) produced so much (boring stuff) to so few (themselves)
Neither can I refrain from quoting the artist Pablo Picassos own words of wisdom:
"Art is a lie which makes us realize the truth." Does it sound cryptic? Here is the decoding: add the prefix modern before the word art
Finally I quote the winged words of the chronicler Johan Hakelius:
"The problem with pointing out a thing like this, which already everyone understands, is that few want to understand it. The important thing, you discover rather soon, is that the one who points that out which everyone understands is a deserter. Thats maybe how it is. But it doesnt make the truth pointed out less true." End of quote.
Henri T. Laurency: "The orchestration technique makes the greatest impression, when a certain instrument is allowed to lift out the melody, while the other instruments follow their own voices to weave a fine piece of chased work as a congenial pattern of sounds around the monogram."
In the original Swedish version there is an additional chapter which shows the corrupt status of media in the issue. This has been excluded just because it only refers to Swedish local conditions in the press, radio and television, which however probably not are as local as you would think
Gunnar Colding is a former professional cellist who for 25 years has been employed by chamber orchestras as well as symphony orchestras of Sweden. Educated by Professor Gunnar Norrby at the Royal Academy of Sweden in the early seventies. Of major significance was the long membership of the only professional boys choir at the Swedish Radio in the early sixties. He was even registered by his harmony teacher as one of very few pupils with absolute pitch.
Finally he has met music audiences all over Sweden, and with all kinds of music...
Here is a strongly abridged excerpt from the journal
"Music perception" from 1983
Psychology and Music
by Diana Deutsch
University of California, San Diego
Aristoxenus (ca. 320 B.C.), originally a pupil of the Pythagoreans and later of Aristotle, saw clearly that music cannot be understood by contemplation of mathematical relationships alone. He argued that the study of music should be considered an empirical science and that musical phenomena were basically perceptual and cognitive in nature. The order that distinguishes the melodious from the unmelodious resembles that which we find in the collocation of letters in language. For it is not every collocation but only certain collocations of any given letters that will produce a syllable. It is plain that the apprehension of a melody consists in noting with both the ear and intellect every distinction as it arises in the successive sounds-successive, for melody, like all branches of music, consists in a successive production. For the apprehension of music depends on these two faculties, sense-perception and memory; for we must perceive the sound that is present and remember that which is past. In no other way can we follow the phenomenon of music. Long before cognitive psychologists became seriously interested in hierachical structure, the music theorist Schenker proposed a hierarchical system for tonal music that has points of similarity with the system proposed by Chomsky for language (Chomsky, 1965).
Early in this century composers such as Schoenberg, Webern, Stravinsky, and particularly Varese frequently employed such highly individualized sound structures, termed by Varese "sound masses." Such experimentation led composers to explore the characteristics of sound that were conducive to perceptual fusion.
As the music theorist and composer Robert Erickson (1975) wrote:
The infinity of sounds in the universe may be objectively real to physics and measuring instruments; if it is unrealizable in music then the difficulty must be related to human limitations and to the limitations imposed by musical discourse. It does not make sense to assume that we will recognize a sound sequence when it is reversed in time or when its pitch relationships are turned upside-down, in our natural environment we are never required to do this
Conclusion by Diana Deutsch:
However, to dismiss the findings of psychology does not constitute a solution. If a music theory is to be scientifically justified, such justification must lie in its relationship to the processing mechanisms of the listener.
Diana Deutsch conducts research on perception and memory for sounds, particularly music. She has discovered a number of musical illusions and paradoxes, which include the octave illusion, the scale illusion, the glissando illusion, the tritone paradox, and the cambiata illusion, among others. She also explores ways in which we hold musical information in memory, and in which we relate the sounds of music and speech to each other. Much of her current research focuses on the question of absolute pitch why some people possess it, and why it is so rare. (See, for example, recent work comparing the prevelance of absolute pitch in speakers of tone language and non-tone language).
Deutsch obtained a First Class Honors B.A. in Psychology, Philosophy and Physiology from Oxford University, and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, San Diego. She has over 150 written publications, including books, book chapters, and articles. She is Editor of the book The Psychology of Music, Academic Press, 1982, 2nd Edition 1999, (see review), and author of the compact discs Musical Illusions and Paradoxes (1995) and Phantom Words and Other Curiosities (2003).
Deutsch has been elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Acoustical Society of America, the Audio Engineering Society, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the American Psychological Society, and the American Psychological Association. She has served as Governor of the Audio Engineering Society, as Chair of the Section on Psychology of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and as President of Division 10 of the American Psychological Association (Society for the Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts). She is Founding Editor of the journal Music Perception, and served as Founding President of the Society for Music Perception and Cognition. In 2004 she was awarded the Rudolf Arnheim Award for Outstanding Achievement in Psychology and the Arts by the American Psychological Association.
KURT ATTERBERG(1887-1974): Symphony No. 7, Op. 45 "Sinfonia Romantica", Symphony No. 8, Op. 48. Atterberg constructed his seventh symphony (1941-42) from music from his opera Fanal (like Prokofiev with his third symphony and The Fiery Angel or Vaughan Williams with his fifth symphony and The Pilgrim's Progress); with malice aforethought toward the composers and critics who championed atonal music to the exclusion of everything else, the composer gave it the title Sinfonia Romantica. Romantic it certainly is; its three movements (a long fourth movement was dropped by Atterberg when revising the work in 1972) are headed Drammatico, Semplice and Feroce, the latter an orgiastic dance-fantasy which brings a work seething with heart-on-sleeve melodies to a dizzying conclusion. This is its World Premiere Recording. The Eighth dates from 1944-45 and appears for the first time on CD here. Like the Fourth, all of the motivic material consists of Swedish folk motifs (which are listed in the notes). In the more traditional four movements, the work was composed with great care so as not to seem a rhapsodic collection of stitched-together folk tunes and its symphonic structure is amply appreciable. After its premiere in Helsinki in 1945, the following phone message was left at Atterberg's hotel: "Thank you for your wonderfully harmonious symphony. With warmest regards, Jean Sibelius." What better recommendation than this? Malmö Symphony Orchestra; Michail Jurowski. Sterling CDS 1026 (Sweden) 11A001 $15.98
Symphony No. 9 "Visionaria"
KURT ATTERBERG (1887-1974): Symphony No. 9 for Mezzo-Soprano, Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 54 "Visionaria", The River From the Mountains to the Sea, Op. 33. Under the influence of the rise of the Iron Curtain, the beginning of the cold war, the threat of nuclear catastrophe and the recent Korean War, Atterberg began his ninth symphony at the beginning of January 1955 after a gap of over ten years from the Symphony No. 8. Unlike that work and its 1942 predecessor expansive and expressive works imbued with folk-music the Ninth deals, quite simply, with the end of the Earth. Using a Swedish translation of the Old Norse apocalyptic poem Voluspå, which tells a tale similar in its basic aspects to the Ring, Atterberg composed what appears more like a cantata than a symphony. The music is still richly colorful and lushly orchestrated but there are unexpected touches (Atterberg introduces a twelve-tone row when the text speaks of Evil coming into the world) which add a hair-raising, chilly quality to this frightening tale. Listeners who grew up with nuclear war hanging over their heads can easily put themselves back in that time while listening to this and feel its effects better. After listening to the world hurtle to destruction for 40 minutes, the coupling, a 20-minute tone-poem from 1929 which is a love-letter to Atterberg's native land, seen through the course of a river from its source to the sea, is balm for edgy nerves! Swedish-English texts. Satu Vihavainen (mezzo), Gabriel Suovanen (baritone), Prague Chamber Choir, North German Radio Choir and Philharmonic Orchestra; Ari Rasilainen. CPO 999 913 (Germany) 07F001 $15.98
Appendix B: Diana Deutschs article unabridged
Psychology and Music
University of California, San Diego
Western music theory has a very old tradition, dating at least from the time of Pythagoras; and the philosophical underpinnings of this tradition that were established in ancient times still exist today However, another reason, which is still with us today, lies in the peculiar nature of music itself. There are no external criteria for distinguishing between music and nonmusic, or between good music and bad music. Pythagoras was concerned mostly with the study of musical intervals. He is credited with identifying the musical consonances of the octave, fifth, and fourth with the numerical ratios 1:2, 2:3, and 3:4. He is also credited with establishing by experiment that the pitch of a vibrating string varies inversely with its length. In general, the later Greek theorists adhered to the numerological approach of the Pythagoreans. There was, however, a notable exception.
Aristoxenus (ca. 320 B.C.), originally a pupil of the Pythagoreans and later of Aristotle, saw clearly that music cannot be understood by contemplation of mathematical relationships alone. He argued that the study of music should be considered an empirical science and that musical phenomena were basically perceptual and cognitive in nature.
For example, in the Harmonic Elements he wrote:
The order that distinguishes the melodious from the unmelodious resembles that which we find in the collocation of letters in language. For it is not every collocation but only certain collocations of any given letters that will produce a syllable. It is plain that the apprehension of a melody consists in noting with both the ear and intellect every distinction as it arises in the successive sounds-successive; for melody, like all branches of music, consists in a successive production. For the apprehension of music depends on these two faculties, sense-perception and memory; for we must perceive the sound that is present and remember that which is past. In no other way can we follow the phenomenon of music.
Long before cognitive psychologists became seriously interested in hierachical structure, the music theorist Schenker proposed a hierarchical system for tonal music that has points of similarity with the system proposed by Chomsky for language (Chomsky, 1965).
Perhaps the greatest music theorist of the nineteenth century was Hermann von Helmholtz (1831-1894), whose book On the Sensations of Tone (1885/1954) makes important reading even today. Helmholtz saw clearly that musical phenomena require explanation in terms of the processing mechanisms of the listener. He carried out important experimental work on issues such as the perception of pitch, combination tones, beats, and consonance and dissonance. He also speculated concerning the nature of high-level cognitive mechanisms underlying music perception, though he lacked the technical resources to investigate these mechanisms experimentally.
The twelve-tone system, originally developed by Schoenberg has inspired much theoretical work on equivalence relations between sets of pitches. However, twelve-tone theorists did not deem it appropriate to determine experimentally whether the equivalence relations of their system were perceptually relevant.
In the music of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries, the timbre or sound quality of an instrument was generally treated as a carrier of melodic motion, rather than as a primary compositional attribute in itself. However, the decline of tonality opened the way for new compositional uses of timbre. Composers began experimenting with complex sound structures that resulted from several instruments playing simultaneously, such that the individual instruments lost their identifiability and fused to produce a single sound impression. Debussy in particular made extensive use of chords that approached timbres. Early in this century composers such as Schoenberg, Webern, Stravinsky, and particularly Varese frequently employed such highly individualized sound structures, termed by Varese "sound masses." Such experimentation led composers to explore the characteristics of sound that were conducive to perceptual fusion.
Developing interest in musical timbre also led composers to experiment with sound sequences involving rapid timbral changes. Such sequences, know as Klangfarbenmelodien, or melodies composed of timbres, were used early in this century by composers such as Schoenberg and Webern, and later by composers such as Boulez. But this very freedom presented fundamental problems in perceptual psychology which required solution.
As the music theorist and composer Robert Erickson (1975) wrote:
The infinity of sounds in the universe may be objectively real to physics and measuring instruments; if it is unrealizable in music then the difficulty must be related to human limitations and to the limitations imposed by musical discourse. The question may be raised of whether the equivalence relations defined in twelve-tone theory are indeed utilized by the perceptual system it does not make sense in the same way to assume that we will recognize a sound sequence when it is reversed in time or when its pitch relationships are turned upside-down: In our natural environment we are never required to do this. Further, it has been shown in the case of vision that some formal relationships that exist within a configuration are readily perceived, others are perceived with difficulty, and yet others are not perceived at all (Garner, 1974).
The recall of hierarchically organized tonal sequences was investigated in two experiments. The results provide evidence for the hypothesis that we encode tonal materials by inferring sequence structures and alphabets at different hierarchical levels, together with their rules of combination.
It is generally agreed that we can process serial information of considerable complexity when it is systematically organized and its organization is understood by the observer. Two related aspects of such processing have been emphasized. One is that we tend to group serial patterns into subsequences or "chunks" that are retained in unitary fashion. The other is that we tend to organize such "chunks" as hierarchies when given the opportunity to do so. Much work on this issue has been performed with the use of verbal materials. It is clear from general experience that verbal items that form meaningful units are processed more easily than those that do not. For example, strings of words that form meaningful sentences are more easily perceived and remembered than the same words ordered in haphazard fashion. Similarly, strings of letters that form meaningful words are processed more readily than meaningless strings (Miller, 1956).
For structured sequences that were segmented in accordance with sequence structure, the performance level was extremely high. For structured sequences with no temporal segmentation, the performance level again was very high, although slightly lower. However, for sequences that were segmented in conflict with sequence structure, the performance level was considerably reduced. For unstructured sequences performance levels were considerably lower than for structured sequences that were either not segmented or were segmented in accordance with sequence structure.
The two experiments reported here lead to several conclusions. First, they demonstrate that listeners perceive hierarchical structures that are present in tonal sequences and can utilize such structures in recall. However, for the unstructured sequences, no such parsimonious encoding was possible. The unstructured sequences, therefore, imposed a much heavier memory load, with resultant performance decrements.
Second, the experiments demonstrate that temporal segmentation has a profound effect on perceived structure, as has been noted by others with the use of different stimulus materials. Temporal segmentation in accordance with sequence structure resulted in somewhat enhanced performance, but temporal segmentation in conflict with sequence structure led to severe performance decrements. The very high level of performance for structured sequences in this experiment stands in sharp contrast to the poor performance obtained when subjects make pitch recognition judgements involving single tones that are separated by a sequence of interpolated tones chosen at random from the 12- tone chromatic scale.
What is worrisome to some music theorists is the possibility that findings from psychology might be taken as a basis for arguing what music ought to be. Much work in perceptual and cognitive psychology has to do with determining limits: limits to the amount of information that can be retained, limits of discriminability, and so on. Taking such "scientifically established limits" too seriously, it is feared, might serve to stultify musical development by creating artificial boundary conditions for acceptable music. For the limitations determined by such experiments might not in fact be fixed but might rather be a function of the type of music to which the listener has been exposed. It is this line of reasoning that causes some theorists to insist that when laboratory studies show that listeners do not perceive equivalences that exist formally in a musical system, this provides no argument against the ultimate viability of the system.
However, to dismiss the findings of psychology because of such concerns does not constitute a solution. If a music theory is to be scientifically justified, such justification must lie in its relationship to the processing mechanisms of the listener.
To take an extreme example, no one would seriously consider composing in a musical system that employs only sounds outside the range of hearing. We can, however, make some inspired guesses as to which processing characteristics are likely to be fixed. Those characteristics which are most useful in making sense of our auditory environment are prime candidates. These include the tendency to fuse together components of a sound spectrum that are in harmonic relationship; the tendency to form sequential configurations on the basis of frequency proximity; the tendency to attend on the basis of spatial location; and so on. Amongst other candidates for fixed processing characteristics are those that lead to parsimony of encoding and other measures of encoding efficiency.
As Aristoxenus wrote over two millennia ago: "We shall advance to our conclusions by strict demonstration." If there is no strict demonstration, then there can be no conclusions.
Music Perception, 1983