Is this for real or is he being exageratedly aesthetic again?
by Andrea Elizabeth
Either way, “The Insignificant Introduction” to the next chapter is really cute. Makes me want to listen to more than the Amadeus part of Don Giovanni.
“From the moment my soul was first astounded by Mozart’s music and humbly bowed in admiration, it has often been a favorite and refreshing occupation for me to deliberate on the way that happy Greek view of the world that calls the world a cosmos because it manifests itself as a well-organized whole, as an elegant, transparent adornment for the spirit that acts upon and operates throughout it, the way that happy view lets itself be repeated in a higher order of things, in the world of ideals, the way there is here again a ruling wisdom especially wonderful at uniting what belongs together, Axel with Valborg, Homer with the Trojan War, Raphael with Catholicism, Mozart with Don Juan. There is a paltry disbelief that such a connection is accidental and sees nothing more in it than a very fortunate conjunction of the various forces in the game of life…. It considers that many a poet has lived who would have been just as immortal as Homer if that glorious subject matter had not been taken over by him, many a composer who would have been just as immortal as Mozart if the opportunity had offered itself. This wisdom contain considerable consolation and balm for all mediocrities, who thereby see themselves in a position to delude themselves and like-minded people into thinking that they did not become as exceptional as the exceptional ones because of a mistaken identification on the part of fate, a mistake on the part of the world. This produces a very convenient optimism. But is is abhorrent, of course, to every high-minded soul, every optimate, to whom it is not as important to rescue himself in such a paltry manner as it is to lose himself by contemplating greatness; whereas it is a delight to his soul, a sacred joy, to see united that which belongs together.”
Then he foreshadows his upcoming deliberation on form and content, which I have barely begun, and then goes back to adorable adoration.
“Immortal Mozart! You to whom I owe everything – to whom I owe that I lost my mind, that my soul was astounded, that I was terrified at the core of my being – you to whom I owe that I did not go through life without encountering something that could shake me, you whom I thank because I did not die without having loved, even though my love was unhappy. No wonder, then, that I am much more zealous for his glorification than for the happiest moment of my own life, much more zealous for his immortality than for my own existence. Indeed, if he were taken away, if his name were blotted out, that would demolish the one pillar that until now has prevented everything from collapsing for me into a boundless chaos, into a dreadful nothing.”
Back to the beginning, he seems to hint at Platonic forms, which would be essence before activities and persons. But he combines it with a spirit who arranges the right person with the right subject matter to replicate beautiful order? The task of the genius is to discover and creatively produce these works that elevate mankind to the higher order?
I have a more naturalist point of view that beauty is already in nature, and man can’t really improve upon it. I must admit I don’t really grasp greatness in works of art. A great song echoes common emotions. New instrumentation adds variety to keep things from getting dull. But then there’s Bach who does present us with a higher order than exists in common experience. But mostly, I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.