From Roger Scruton’s “Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands”
Ideological Modernism as Goethe’s Mephistopheles :
‘I am the spirit who always denies, who reduces Something to Nothing, and who thereby undoes the work of creation’.
“The fundamental musical experience – fundamental not just to our classical tradition but to all music that has been sung, played, and danced from the beginning of time – is that of virtual causality, whereby one moment seems to produce the next out of its own inner dynamic. This is the primary experience on which all rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic invention depends, and it is absent – deliberately absent – from Boulez.”
Roger Scruton shares his thoughts in the Telegraph on the impending building boom and how to approach it.
“Whether or not our political class has the ability or the will to control immigration, we have to accept that many of the millions who have come to this country in the last two decades are here to stay, and will need to be housed. Without a massive expansion of the housing stock, prices will continue to rise and the pressure on planning laws and infrastructure will become increasingly difficult to manage. As a result we face a question that concerns every resident of Britain, and which must be addressed with true public spirit: how we should build.”
My rejoinder to Mr. Goldman’s response below:
Aficionados of music who do not know much about music, but know what moves them, are at the mercy of the professionals, who know how to move them. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” at peril to your soul: even beautiful music can be used for evil as well as good. The problem, of course, is just what Sir Thomas Beecham observed: “People don’t like music. They just like the way it sounds.” I am the first to admit that Bruckner’s music sounds glorious. But just how is it put together?
The greatest analyst of tonal music (and the one whose theory quite properly dominates the university curriculum in the US) was Heinrich Schenker (1868-1935), a Bruckner student who respected the man but found grave flaws in the music. His evaluation (republished in Heinrich Schenker als Essayist und Kritiker. Gesammelte Aufsatze, Rezensionen und Kleinere Berichte aus den Jahren 1891-1901, ed. Hellmut Federhofer, Studien und Materialien zur Musikwissenschaft, 5 [Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1990], 197-205), finds that the music really doesn’t hold together: his musical phrases lack necessary connections to identify beginnings, middles, and endings. Brahms’ contempt for Bruckner’s music is well known (and this had nothing to do with professional jealousy: Brahms had signed Joachim’s manifesto against the “New German Music” long before Bruckner came on the scene).
— David P. Goldman
In all humility, while I admit to being out of my league from the standpoint of professional musicological debate, I believe, as an architect and philosopher, there is something highly elitist, if not Gnostic, about the view that only professionals have the ability to perceive the beauty or ascertain the truth of things, when it is often the professionals who are responsible for creating the academic dichotomy between head and heart that posits a schizophrenic split between experience and reality: their heads so often in the clouds they cannot see the truth or beauty directly in front of their nose, or in this case ears. Continue reading