Nobody can know himself
or be separated from himself
But let him every day test what
should be clear:
What he is and what he was
What he can and what he may.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1796)
how do you prepare (young) students to deal with questions like what do we do with Strauss or Wagner, or, what does music mean, if anything, or (even better), can we separate the music from its creator? it was an attempt, or more than an attempt, at a good try today in history 4. i could see the looks on faces (somewhat preoccupied from the results of their midterm) and they revealed brains ticking away behind their usually cheery visages. they were thinking. that’s not in italics because they haven’t thought before. it’s in italics because they really began to think about music as a concept, as a problem, as something that can come with real repercussions.
and that is exactly the kind of thinking i like.
soon this section on “music in crisis” will be over and things can get a little bit back to normal (britten is included in this but it’s not so much crisis as me talking about how i’m getting a Peter Grimes-inspired tattoo) and until the britten fun times, i’ll end this the way we ended the class (and the way i started this entry), with Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen (Berlin Philharmonic, Karajan).