Nihilism, Optimism, And Everything In Between

September 9, 2007

Filed under: beethoven,brahms,classical,mozart,schubert — op131 @ 2:35 am

Here is something I wrote in the Year of our Lord 2000.

Music after a long time: Late Night, September 24th 2000
Razumovsky No. 1

All works of art are microcosms of all of experience, in a formal way. But there are some that “really” are, and some that are not, in a way that we can and do know only by asking ourselves. For a single work of art to be so is rare, but several bodies of works claim this stature.
Experience pours in from all sides, befuddling motivation and orientation, if they were there. Some are unaware of purpose at all; some are taken in the flood of experience; and the few that are not, are left searching for direction – either perceived as “original” direction, or not, but with the only source being the same experience that befuddles.
What the great composers have done is each to give us a suitable distillation of experience, seen from their eyes, but experience, in the end, is common. When we say “suitable distillation”, we do not accept to “take it through another’s eyes”, but rather, we agree that experience is, indeed, common, and we merely consent to be guided. The microcosm is large enough: we do not need to insist on unravelling the whole, which our Masters seem to have done for us.
So have they unravelled the Whole? The answer of course is No; and in that contradiction lies the mystique of the creative act, too.

So, our Masters have suitably distilled Experience so that we may be less overwhelmed; Beethoven, most of all.
That this is what they have done becomes clear on some occassions, one of which is op. 59 no. 1. There are moments during this Master Composition that one is tricked into believing that it is already over; that we are finished with Experience. So rich is this, that one gazes through it all, and feels that one has glimpsed the end. So compelling is the illusion that one comes away from it into – into what? Into a parody of it!

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