Reason, Freedom - and Music
Integration is the key to more than music; it is the key to man's consciousness, to his conceptual faculty, to his basic premises, to his life. And lack of integration will lead to the same existential results in anyone born with a potentially human mind, in any century, in any place on earth. Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto .
As our state slides further down the slope from freedom to increased state control, the readers of this magazine may, quite rightly, become increasingly agitated. As our nation's "philosophers" become more and more irrational and subjectivistic, students of philosophy may, quite rightly, also become more and more agitated. Yet as our nation's composers, writers, film-makers, sculptors and painters slip down the corollary slope for artistic endeavours, almost no one speaks out. It seems that while, thanks to the efforts of The Free Radical and, increasingly, Objectivist Forums, people know a breach of rights or irrational thinking when they see it, no one notices the artistic equivalents of these things.
This is a direct result of the corrupt philosophies thrust on our students by our intellectuals. Mankind (person-kind) is no longer viewed as a noble race using his mind to achieve ever more brilliant inventions. Instead we are a pack of thoughtless beasts scratching out a living from the rocks, scrounging in the dirt hoping to find something anything! worth chewing on for a scrap of food. As a corollary we no longer have symphonies, sonatas, concertos or serenades with heroic themes; we have explorations of the instruments which try for dissonance for dissonance's sake, with melodies deliberately avoiding two notes a natural interval apart. What is the aim of this? What is the artistic point of this? Nothing. It is nihilism. The pursuit of nothing.
It is widely agreed that the 19th century was the time that the world came its closest to a free society. It was also during this period that we had the Romantic period in music. The Romantic period can be distinguished from other periods in music by one factor its view of man. Here we have music with heroic themes; music which is technically damn-near impossible to play; music which respects man; but overall music which expresses something. In the works of Liszt we hear themes developed, dynamics used, tempo variations. We see the brilliant use of ballet music by Tchaikovsky, and the virtuoso piano music of Chopin.
A concrete-bound observer would be unable to see the link between Tarrega's "Recuerdos del la Alhambra" and Liszt's "Sonata in B minor" but an observer with an ability to abstract will pick it up. A triumphant view of man. Whether it is in the theme's expressions or in the technical mastery required to play them, both these pieces acknowledge that life is good, and we are capable of living it.
Music today has abandoned the brilliant path forged by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and the 19th century Romantics and instead followed the path of nihilism.
The slide in today's music is not a primary; rather it is a slide caused by the destruction of today's philosophy by today's "philosophers." Yet the slide in music will be just as difficult a crime to repair.
Given how hostile today's learning environment is, how could a genius of Mozart's calibre ever be repeated? If a child left a concert of the NZSO playing Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, arrived home, sat down, and transcribed the entire piece note for note, without one error, one missed accent, one incorrect tempo or dynamic marking, picture the response of a teacher in today's schools: "That's very selfish of you Wolfgang. Don't you realise that your classmates wish they were as lucky as you to be born with this musical gift? Now continue practising your triangle so that you realise you're no better than anyone else." While any given teacher could be supportive, as there still are a few good ones left, society as a whole would condemn him. The Qualifications Authority would require he learn about ethnic musical influences while he wished to study Romantic music; they would require him to compose music for a television show when he wished to compose music about success and victory over evil. He would be shackled and his will destroyed. The world would have for ever lost an incomparably brilliant musical mind.
As literature's brightest academics have decided a book containing the incoherent ranting, "He kissed the plump mellow yellow smellow melons of her rump, on each plump melonous hemisphere, in their mellow yellow furrow, with obscure prolonged provocative melonsmellonous osculation," is the greatest of the century, so our musicologists will most probably choose a piece which is "an atonal exploration of the moods and emotions of the piano."
We must keep sight of our goal of a free and rational society. To achieve this, we must combat irrationality and nihilism in all its forms: For example, the Resource Management Act, contemporary "music," James Joyce's writing, Robert Nola's incoherent mental spasms, and Paid Parental Leave. We must strive to show people the errors of modern philosophy; we must show them how these philosophies are applied in life, and the results of it all. Recommend people read The Ominous Parallels for an explanation of the Nazis, rather than an economics textbook saying the Nazis went to war for lack of money.
For we'll never be free if we cannot justify, define and uphold our freedom rationally. While composers like Reich and his comrades continue to fill our ears and minds with nothing in particular, the populace will continue to settle for the same brand of politics.
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