Jews and the Ruin of Classical Music
IN DISCUSSING the music of the West, a line can almost be drawn at the beginning of the 20th century. It was at that time that “modern” philosophies and ideologies assumed hegemony over the artistic scene. That serious music would change course and fall largely under the sway of Jewish pens and Jewish batons was predictable. The Jews were the only minority group with the monetary capability and cultural eclat to pull off such a feat. (ILLUSTRATION: Jewish Composer Arnold Schoenberg)
Charles Rosen’s recent biography of Arnold Schoenberg provides solid support for this assertion. Although the composer and his students were only a part of the general upheaval taking place in the art world, Rosen writes that the theories of the Second Viennese School, to which Schoenberg belonged, were a step forward in the development of music. The author feels that overcoming the extremely hostile atmosphere that greeted Schoenberg’s later pieces was a salutary and positive step in the direction of artistic freedom. That not one composition with the lasting quality of a minor work by Beethoven or Mozart has been produced in the last fifty years is somehow overlooked, as is the fact that the public could not care less about the music now being written. To check this, compare the attendance figures of a concert of pre-20th century music and one that features modern music.
The reason for the stagnation of contemporary music is not hard to explain. Music, as well as the other arts, depends on a delicate balance of the abstract and the emotional. Melodic sounds and harmonies evoke feelings of pleasure in the listener, while the structure and form of the composition make it intellectually appealing. Similarly, in a painting, the sight of the picture is pleasant and familiar, while the form and technique fulfill the abstract requirements.
But the revolution of Schoenberg and his disciples Berg and Webern (all three Austrian Jews [It appears that the anonymous Instauration author is mistaken here; only Schoenberg of this trio was a Jew. Thanks to Greg Johnson for this correction. — Ed.]) eliminated the emotional aspect of music. The twelve notes in the musical scale were arranged in a particular order that had to be repeated with mathematical precision, although with changing rhythms. Through the next several decades, this music became even more controlled, until we ended up with mathematicians and computer programmers taking on the job of composing.
The reaction or lack of reaction to computerized and mathematical music moved music makers to the opposite extreme. Now the composer is encouraged to take the most absurd liberties, to the point where compositions may vary at every performance. Since it is all impulse and has no logic, the resulting music dies aborning.
Finally, there is the lack of tonality in modern music. Tonality is what most people probably know as the particular key in which the piece is written. It is the ultimate requirement to a successful composition. It makes the music both enjoyable and understandable, and gives it an inner schematic. Tonality was largely abandoned by Schoenberg and has only rarely been revived. Without it, the ear simply cannot comprehend a musical composition.
The only hopeful sign in the contemporary music world is that composers have now carried the mathematical games on the one hand and the emotional anarchy on the other to their furthest limits and have nowhere to go but to return to the middle. But this, needless to say, does not offer any guarantee of true progress in the music world.
Mr. Rosen to the contrary, the effect of the revolution in music by Schoenberg and his followers was not progress, but the sidetracking of musical evolution. To reawaken the development of Western music, perhaps the highest expression of artistic creativity, we will first have to go back to where we left off, and then start afresh.
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Source: Instauration magazine, May 1976