Presentation on theme: "Absolute Music Why Should You Listen?. Why should you listen? pleasure, guaranteed, time-honored but why exactly this pleasure? –art without representation."— Presentation transcript:
Absolute Music Why Should You Listen?
Why should you listen? pleasure, guaranteed, time-honored but why exactly this pleasure? –art without representation nor semantics
Why should you listen? Schopenhauerian: art as liberation from this world (Enhanced) formalism: music as the only liberating art response to Kierkegaards critique –free from the world but not forget the world –pleasure but not hedonism
Schopenhauer 4-fold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason cause and effect premise and conclusion motive and action space and time –Man bound to the principle like Ixion's wheel
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860) chief expounder of pessimism and of the irrational impulses of life arising from the will; influenced Existentialism and Freudian psychology –The World as Will and Idea (1819)
Schopenhauer Art liberates us from the Principle, the world of appearance cause and effect … –and reveals the ideas behind Music reveals the Will behind the ideas –a copy of the will itself –the romantic art, highest
Enhanced Formalism music is a copy of nothing but itself only music is the liberating art –since other arts are contentful, they are too involved with the reality, too this-worldly, and therefore could not free us from the world of the Principle (contra Schopenhauer) but by escaping to the art worlds temporarily, they renew us to see our world eventually (catharsis) –literary art: e.g. Odysseus, Orpheus, Oedipus –visual art: e.g. Guernica, Sunflower
Picasso: Guernica, 1937
Vincent van Gogh (1853–90), Sunflowers (1888)
Enhanced Formalism music is the only liberating art –complete liberation, since no representation of description of this world all literal descriptions of music are just metaphors theres a formalistic technical language of music BUT…
Søren Kierkegaard (1813–55) religious philosopher and critic of rationalism, regarded as the founder of existentialist philosophy. He is famous for his critique of systematic rational philosophy, on the grounds that actual life cannot be contained within an abstract conceptual system. He intended to clear the ground for an adequate consideration of faith and, accordingly, of religion specifically Christianity.
Stages on Life's Way (1845) three stages of existence: –the aesthetic stage is the one in which one lives for the pleasure of the moment (cf. Don Giovanni); –the ethical stage is the one based on the stability and continuity of life in work and in matrimony; –the religious stage is the one characterized by faith, which is always a "dreadful certaintyi.e., a dread that becomes certain of a hidden relationship with God
Mozart: Don Giovanni (1787), Finale –A dining-room in Giovannis house Giovanni enjoys a meal without waiting for his guest. A sequence of popular tunes (including Mozarts Figaro) played by onstage wind band accompanies the farce of Leporello stealing food and being caught with his mouth full. Elvira bursts in and makes a last appeal to Giovanni to reform. He laughs at her, tries to make her join him, and to a newly minted melody drinks a toast to wine and women, Sostegno e gloria dumanità. When knocking is heard Giovanni opens the door. The overture music is reinforced by trombones as the statue enters. The statue cannot take mortal food but he invites Giovanni to sup with him. Giovanni accepts, but on grasping the statues chilling hand he is overcome by his impending dissolution. Still refusing to repent, he is engulfed in flames.
Response to Kierkegaard aesthetic stageindulgence in this world –despair ethical stagejustification by work –guilt religious stagejustification by grace –suffering (Weltschmerz) aesthetic stageliberation from this world –Camus: man's revolt against the world –Tillich: courage to be
Absolute Music definition: via negative –no worldly content effect: via negative –free from worldly grief Weltschmerz –no pain is already positive pleasure (Socrates) –also partly achieved by abstract art, mathematics, etc., but predominant in music
Weltschmerz the prevailing mood of melancholy and pessimism associated with the poets of the Romantic era that arose from their refusal or inability to adjust to those realities of the world that they saw as destructive of their right to subjectivity and personal freedoma phenomenon thought to typify Romanticism. it was characterized by a nihilistic loathing for the world and a view that was skeptically blasé.
Gustav Mahler ( ) Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (from 5 Rückertlieder, 1901)
Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, Mit der ich sonst viele Zeit verdorben, Sie hat so lange nichts von mir vernommen, Sie mag wohl glauben, ich sei gestorben! I am lost to the world with which I used to waste so much time, it has heard nothing from me for so long that it may very well believe that I am dead!
Es ist mir auch gar nichts daran gelegen, Ob sie mich für gestorben hält, Ich kann auch gar nichts sagen dagegen, Denn wirklich bin ich gestorben der Welt. It is of no consequence to me Whether it thinks me dead; I cannot deny it, for I really am dead to the world.
Ich bin gestorben dem Weltgetümmel, Und ruh' in einem stillen Gebiet! Ich leb' allein in meinem Himmel, In meinem Lieben, in meinem Lied! I am dead to the world's tumult, And I rest in a quiet realm! I live alone in my heaven, In my love and in my song!
Schubert, An die Musik D.547 (1817) Du holde Kunst, in wieviel grauen Stunden, Wo mich des Lebens wilder Kreis umstrickt, Hast du mein Herz zu warmer Lieb entzunden, Hast mich in eine beßre Welt entrückt! Oft hat ein Seufzer, deiner Harf' entflossen, Ein süßer, heiliger Akkord von dir Den Himmel beßrer Zeiten mir erschlossen, Du holde Kunst, ich danke dir dafür! Oh sacred art, how oft in hours blighted, While into life's untamed cycle hurled, Hast thou my heart to warm love reignited To transport me into a better world! So often has a sigh from thy harp drifted, A chord from thee, holy and full of bliss, A glimpse of better times from heaven lifted, Thou sacred art, my thanks to thee for this.
Siren, Odysseus, Orpheus Music has unique powers as an agent of ideology. We need to understand its working, its charm, both to protect ourselves against them and, paradoxically, to enjoy them to the full. –Nicholas Cook, Music: A Very Short Introduction (1998)