A glimpse into musical time reversal


Download 0.89 Mb.
Size0.89 Mb.

Regarding musicians, Lyndon LaRouche recently said that it is not the love of music, but the love of humanity, which is the source of the passion the musician, no, the human being, draws from. Yes, it is out of this passion, pouring out in tones, that the human moves his fellow creatures to look inside of themselves, to find that fount of creativity, compassion, and yearning to make an immortal contribution to all of humanity.

Wilhelm Furtwängler spoke about the immortality of musical masterpieces, but we must keep the candle lit, “Like all living works of arts, these works only die when the people, the community for whom they are intended, do not exist any longer. Any musical work cut to European size will only last as long as Europe itself.”

The Schiller Institute is campaigning to keep this precious, immortal European classical cultural tradition of the past alive, and to lay the basis for even surpassing these achievements in the future. The following article is a work in progress meant to contribute to that effort.

A glimpse into musical time reversal:

The Case of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony

Let us begin our story at the end, and let us end at the beginning.

Listening in retrospect, you can partake in the future yet to be.

“…God, like one of our own architects, approached the task of constructing the universe with order and pattern, and laid out the individual parts accordingly, as if it were not art which imitated Nature, but God himself had looked to the mode of building of Man who was to be.”

Johannes Kepler

Mysterium Cosmographicum

Time node F: The 9th Symphony

Listen to two versions of the choral movement of the 9th Symphony -- to a performance by the Schiller Institute’s European chorus,[ http://www.schillerinstitute.org/music/2010/beethoven_9th_berlin_c256.html ]

and, also, one with Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting.

Click here: http://www.schillerinstitut.dk/furtwaengler1953.mp3

“In October 1934, the German musicologist Johanna Thoms-Paetow wrote, ‘Through Music, Furtwängler leads us to the affirmation of life despite all its dubiousness and pain, into the depths of the human soul. At that moment we experience the most tender vibrations as well as all degrees of the giant forces in us and we take part in the miracle of the human creative Spirit which reveals itself in all musical work.’”

Rarely in human history has there been a dialogue and synthesis of two great minds on the level of Friedrich Schiller and Ludwig van Beethoven. The result was the 9th Symphony. As we will see, Beethoven pondered the question of how to set Schiller’s poem, the An die Freude, Ode to Joy, to music for more than 30 years.

He had come to the conclusion that only the combination of a full orchestra, chorus and soloists, would be powerful enough to elevate Schiller’s ideas even more than in the poem.

Beethoven had penned words from Schiller’s An die Freude in his sketches for the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies. There he had written about his plan to use a musical setting of Schiller’s poem as the finale of a four-movement symphony.

After the eighth symphony, Beethoven decided to do just that in a Symphony Allemande (a German symphony). But then, he changed his mind, and would use Schiller’s poem as the text for the sublime last movement of the symphony in D he was working on, which already had three movements.

But how was he to make a transition to the poem? Beethoven came up with the idea of quoting from each of the first three movements, and then having the bass sing:

“Not these tones, more joyful ones, Joy! Joy!”

In the midst of the creative tension surrounding how to introduce the choral section, Beethoven wrote in the margin:

“Lasst uns das lied des unsterblichen Schillers singen, Freude, etc.” “Let us sing the immortal words of Schiller, Joy, etc.” He would use version of the poem as amended by Schiller in 1803, using only certain sections, organized with Beethoven’s own ordering principle:

Freude, schoener Goetterfunken,

Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische dein Heiligtum.
Deine Zauber binden wieder,
Was die Mode streng geteilt;*
Alle Menschen werden Brueder,*
Wo dein sanfter Fluegel weilt.

*[footnote: Schiller’s original 1785 version read:

Was der Mode Schwert geteilt

Bettler werden Fuerstenbrueder]

Wem der grosse Wurf gelungen,
Eines Freundes Freund zu sein,
Wer ein holdes Weib errungen,
Mische seine Jubel ein!
Ja - wer auch nur eine Seele
Sein nennt auf dem Erdenrund!
Und wer's nie gekonnt, der stehle
Weinend sich aus diesem Bund!

Freude trinken alle Wesen

An den Bruesten der Natur,
Alle Guten, alle Boesen
Folgen ihre Rosenspur.
Kuesse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, geprueft im Tod,
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.

Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen

Durch das Himmels praecht'gen Plan,
Laufet, Brueder, eure Bahn,
Freudig wie ein Held zum Siegen.

Seid umschlungen, Millionen!

Diesen Kuss der ganzen Welt!
Brueder - ueberm Sternenzelt
Muss ein lieber Vater wohnen.

Ihr stuerzt nieder, Millionen?

Ahnest du den Schoepfer, Welt?
Such ihn ueberm Sternenzelt,

Ueber Sternen muss er wohnen.

From Marianne Wertz’ translation:

Joy, thou beauteous godly lightning,

Daughter of Elysium,

Fire drunken we are ent'ring

Heavenly, thy holy home!

Thy enchantments bind together,

What did custom stern divide*

Every man becomes a brother,*

Where thy gentle wings abide.

*[footnote: Schiller’s original 1785 version read:
What custom’s sword divide

Beggars are a princes’ brother]

Who the noble prize achieveth,

Good friend of a friend to be;

Who a lovely wife attaineth,

Join us in his jubilee!

Yes -- he too who but one being

On this earth can call his own!

He who ne'er was able, weeping

Stealeth from this league alone!

Joy is drunk by every being

From kind nature's flowing breasts,

Every evil, every good thing

For her rosy footprint quests.

Gave she us both vines and kisses,

In the face of death, a friend,

To the worm were given blisses

And the Cherubs God attend.

As the suns are flying, happy

Through the heaven's glorious plane,

Travel, brothers, down you lane,

Joyful as in hero's vict'ry.

Be embrac'd, ye million yonger!

Take this kiss throughout the world!

Brothers -- o'er the stars unfurl'd

Must reside a loving father.

Fall before him, all ye millions?

Know'st thou the Creator, world?

Seek above the stars unfurl'd,

Yonder dwells he in the heavens.

Beethoven finally succeeded in his long quest, drawing deeply from his passionate love of humanity, and creative spirit, to create a masterpiece that has inspired feeling souls in every generation since -- around the world from Japan, where it is played every year to celebrate New Year; to China; to its birthplace in Germany, when the people wanted to express their unbounded joy after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Even if Beethoven only wrote this one piece, he would be immortal – but, of course, that would be impossible without the “small steps and giant leaps” he took beforehand.

As Furtwängler wrote, “The 9th Symphony is surely the end and the crowning of all Beethoven Symphonies. …. The 9th Symphony belonged according to Beethoven to the great works of his last period together with the Missa Solemnis, the last sonatas and the quartets.”

Now, imagine going back in time, as a spaceship moves through the stars – with the numbers for Beethoven’s age, and some dates, interspersed with musical notes flying by, stopping at age 38.

Time node E: The Choral Fantasy

In hindsight, Beethoven considered his “Choral Fantasy” as an introductory study to the 9th Symphony. In submitting the Symphony to a publisher, Beethoven wrote that it was:

“… eine neue grosse Simphonie, welche ein Finale hat mit eintretende[n] Singstimmen Solo u. Chören mit den Worten von Schillers unsterbliche[m] Lie and die Freude auf die art wie meine KlawierFantaise mit chor, jedoch weit grosser gehalten als selbe”

[uncorrected translation:]

“… a major new symphony, which has a finale with the entrance of vocal solo[s] and chorus, to the words of Schiller's immortal song, A die Freude, similar to my Choral Fantasy, with chorus, but far greater.”

The Academy was to be held one evening in 1808. A grand 4-hour-long concert consisting of the premiers of the 5th and 6th Symphonies, a piano concerto, and sections of his Mass in C. But just as a great symphony has a great finale, how would Beethoven conclude this great evening?

Then Beethoven got the idea to unite the full orchestra, chorus and soloists in an homage to art and beauty. They were Beethoven’s own lofty ideas, which he asked a poet to formulate, that the chorus would sing forth. For the melody, Beethoven looked back in time, to retrieve a theme from a previous composition – in fact, a love song. The notes of the Fantasy were barely dry during the dress rehearsal, with Beethoven himself improvising the piano introduction. (Actually, this first performance didn’t go very well at all.)

We don’t know how similar that improvisation was to the published version. What we do know, is that “keyboard improvisation was for him a central imaginative process.” 1

Beethoven wrote a memoir about the structural idea of his improvisations: “Lied varied/at the end a fugue and/finishing pianissimo/each fantasy drafted in this fashion/and then carried through in the theatre.” 2 Both the Choral Fantasy and the choral movement of the 9th Symphony begin with a simple lied, or song, which is developed through many variations, and, in the 9th Symphony, the two main themes are then joined in an uplifting fugue, though Beethoven does not compose a fugue in the Choral Fantasy. Another important element in improvisations were “imaginative freedom entailing abruptness, variety and surprise … well-thought-out deceptions, “vernüftige Betrügereyen,“ had been identified by [J.S. Bach’s son] C.P.E. Bach as belonging to a good fantasy.” 3

Listen to the end of the Choral Fantasy, from the point where the singers join in, as performed by the Schiller Institute’s European chorus.

Click here and start at 82:52 min.: http://larouchepac.com/node/18733

The text is as follows:

Schmeichelnd hold und lieblich klingen

unseres Lebens Harmonien,

und dem Schönheitssinn entschwingen

Blumen sich, die ewig blühn.

Fried und Freude gleiten freundlich

wie der Wellen Wechselspiel.

Was sich drängte rauh und feindlich,

ordnet sich zu Hochgefühl.

Wenn der Töne Zauber walten

und des Wortes Weihe spricht,

muss sich Herrliches gestalten,

Nacht und Stürme werden Licht.

Äuss're Ruhe, inn're Wonne

herrschen für den Glücklichen.

Doch der Künste Frühlingssonne

lässt aus beiden Licht entstehn.

Großes, das ins Herz gedrungen,

blüht dann neu und schön empor.

Hat ein Geist sich aufgeschwungen,

hallt ihm stets ein Geisterchor.

Nehmt denn hin, ihr schönen Seelen,

froh die Gaben schöner Kunst

Wenn sich Lieb und Kraft vermählen,

lohnt den Menschen Göttergunst.
Caressingly sweet and lovely sound

The harmonies of our life,

And from the sense of beauty

Flowers arise that ever bloom.

Peace and joy glide graciously

Like the interplay of waves;

All that jostled, rough and hostile,

Attains to ordered exultation.

When the magic sounds enchant

And the word's solemnity speaks forth,

Glorious things must come to be,

Night and storms then turn to light,

Outer calm and inner bliss

Reign then for the blessèd one,

Yet the vernal sun of art

Brings forth light from both.

The sublime that has entered the heart,

Blossoms then renewed and fair.

When a spirit's taken wing,

A choir of spirits must respond.

Receive then, lovely souls,

Joyously the gifts of lovely art.

When love and strength are wed,

The grace of the gods is man's reward. 4

Can you hear the Choral Fantasy with the 9th Symphony in your mind? Can you hear the similarities – simple, even similar themes, which undergo creative variations, uplifting words sung by soloists, and the full chorus, with the interplay of instrumental soloists, and the full orchestra?

We go back in time once more.

Time node D: Fidelio

Recall the following, from an article in Fidelio magazine:

“Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio [first performed in 1805], is the story about how Leonora, a loving and brave wife, disguised as the young man Fidelio, saves her husband, Florestan, the political prisoner of a tyrant. The original play was based on the real-life story about how the American Revolution hero, the Marquis de Lafayette of France, was saved by his wife, Adrienne.5

“At the end, a chorus of prisoners and townspeople unite to sing “Wer ein holdes Weib errungen, stimm in unserm Jubel ein” (“Who e'er a lovely wife has won, chime in with our jubilation!”) The audience of the time would have recalled the nearly identical words of the second stanza of Schiller's ode, “Wer ein holdes Weib errungen, mische seinen Jubel ein!”

“The musical theme comes from the last line of the most popular version of “An die Freude,” The Ode to Joy, up until then. This chorus in Fidelio can therefore be considered the first major attempt by Beethoven to set “An die Freude,” which is highly appropriate, since the whole opera is a tribute to Schiller's ideals.” 6

Go back in time again, stopping at age 24.

Time node C: Seufzer eines Ungeliebte und Gegenliebe

Listen to a performance of these two love songs, united into one -- an ironical song in which Beethoven set two related poems about unrequited love by Bürger. Here is a recording with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau singing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j68JIwWcyJQ , and here is a performance by Feride Istogu Gillesberg and this author at an International Schiller Institute conference in Rüsselsheim, Germany, on July 3, 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozEm_snj9BM ]

Can you hear the third section of the song with the Choral Fantasy in your mind? In fact, knowing the Choral Fantasy first, you cannot help but having that in your mind, as you peer backwards in time to the song. Can you hear both with the 9th Symphony in your mind? These ironical juxtapositions, referring backwards and forwards in time, change the past. We hear the compositions of the past with the compositions of the future in our mind, creating a delicious sense of musical development, not only within a single piece, but through revolutionary leaps from one musical idea to the next. A red thread of anti-entropic development of musical ideas and musical forms, and philosophical/poetical ideas, create a oneness out of the development of Beethoven’s creative mind.

Was there an early Beethoven song based on Ode to Joy?

In 1803, Beethoven’s friend, Ferdinand Ries, wrote to

publisher Nikolaus Simrock in Bonn, offering eight lieder for publication which had been composed by Beethoven within the preceding "four years." According one source, the set, published as op. 52, originally contained nine songs, one of which was a setting of Schiller's "Ode to Joy." The composer withdrew the Schiller setting before publication, and no manuscript exists.7

Go one year back in time, to age 23

Time node B: The first evidence of Beethoven’s yearning to set Ode an die Freude, the Ode to Joy, to music.

On January 26, 1793, a man named Bartholomäus Ludwig Fischenich wrote to Schiller’s wife Charlotte:

"I am enclosing with this a setting of the "Feuerfarbe" on which I would like your opinion. It is by a young man of this place [Bonn] whose musical talents are universally praised and whom the Elector has sent to Haydn in Vienna. He proposes also to compose Schiller's ‘Freude' and indeed strophe by strophe. I expect something perfect for as far as I know him he is wholly devoted to the great and the sublime. Haydn has written here that he would put him at grand operas and soon be obliged to quit composing. Ordinarily he does not trouble himself with such trifles as the enclosed, which he wrote at the request of a lady." 8

Note the Schillerian phrase “good and sublime.”

It would take Beethoven 31 more years to accomplish his mission.

As Beethoven once said, "Schiller's poems are very difficult to set to music. The composer must be able to lift himself far above the poet; who can do that in the case of Schiller? In this respect Goethe is much easier." 9

Now just who was this Bartholomäus Ludwig Fischenich who sent the above letter about Beethoven to Charlotte Schiller? The exciting thing is that Fischenich is the missing direct link between Beethoven and Friedrich Schiller! Born in Bonn in 1768, dying in Berlin in 1831, he was appointed professor of law at the University of Bonn in April 1791, with the understanding that he would study natural and international law for one year in Jena. [footnote: with Gottfried Hufeland]

In Jena, he not only became very close friends with Friedrich and Charlotte Schiller, but he actually lived at their house, one year after their marriage, and engaged in daily discussions with Schiller at the dinner table!

The fact that he actually lived with Schiller was revealed in the introduction to a small, gothic-lettered, German-language book of correspondence between Fischenich and the Schillers, which lasted for the rest of Schiller’s life, and for even many more years with Charlotte. The book was published in 1841 by the publisher Cotta, Schiller’s publisher and intimate friend.10 There is also a second book, solely of the many letters between Charlotte Schiller and Fischenich.11 From the introduction to the first book:
”The following letters show how the cohabitation between Schiller, Schiller's wife, and Fischenich, though only short-term, connected them in a heartfelt friendship, and, not least, allude to the beautiful, very happy marital relationship between Schiller and his wife, despite illness and diverse worries, and the pure, unspoiled harmony of their hearts and feelings.””

Charlotte Schiller’s sister, Caroline von Wolzogen’s “Schiller’s Life” (Schillers Leben), includes the following section about Schiller and Fischenich, cited in the above introduction:

“A very pleasant, spirited circle of friends of the house, who also, most of the time, were guests at Schiller’s dinner table, contributed much to the cheerful atmosphere. The current president Fischenich*, Niethammer, Herr von Stein, the amiable son of our friend, von Fichart, and his lord chamberlain Göritz, were the daily company at the table. Sincerity and cheerfulness reigned during the plain meal.

“Schiller thoroughly enjoyed participating in the cheerful conversation with these good people, so vividly inspired by scientific interest, and amongst whom several consequently made themselves noticed through writings and in the service of the state.

“Together with Niethammer and Fischenich, he was splendidly entertained by Kant’s philosophy, which was, by force of the vivid interest which it inspired in the three men, an inexhaustible source of mutual exchange of ideas. They were in contact throughout their lives; and after the death of Schiller, the noble Fischenich found the occasion to demonstrate his genuine friendship for Schiller towards the bereaved in the most magnanimous way.

“A journey to his friend Körner in the spring of 1792, gave him much pleasure; it is however also true, that he was saddened due to attacks of ill health.

Fischenich accompanied him to Dresden, and philosophical conversations endowed each free moment with spirit.”

Caroline writes elsewhere, "A philosophical conversation with like-minded friends, pulled him away from all worries, and often soothed physical suffering.”

One of the main subjects they debated was the ideas of Immanuel Kant, whom Schiller was studying at the time. In fact, Schiller and Fischenich read one of Kant’s works together.

But, as revealed in a letter from Schiller to Fischenich, rather than becoming a “Kantian,” as many authors mistakenly characterize Schiller:

"Wirklich bin ich auf dem Weg, ihn durch die That zu widerlegen, und seine Behauptung, daß kein objektives Prinzip des Geschmackes möglich sey, dadurch anzugreifen, daß ich ein solches aufstelle."
„Actually, I am on my way to disprove him [Kant] through deed, and attack his assumption, that no objective principle of taste were possible, by laying down one (such principle).“
Schiller would so beautifully expounded his principle in his Letters on the Aesthetical Education of Man, written three years later in 1794-5, to the Danish prince Friedrich Christian of Augustenbourg, as thanks for the stipend he and Danish finance minister Schimmelmann had granted Schiller.

Before leaving for Jena, Fischenich (just two years older than Beethoven) and the composer could have gotten to know each other, in different ways: they were both participants in the cultural salon of Eleonore von Breuning, who had a very important early intellectual influence on Beethoven; at Bonn University, where Beethoven was a student for a time, although nothing more is known; and/or at Babette Koch’s coffee house, and the Reading Society (Lesegesellschaft), important meeting places for the Bonn intellectuals.

I am convinced that Fischenich spoke passionately to Beethoven about Schiller.

It may even have been possible when Fischenich returned to Bonn in the fall of 1792. The first mention of a letter from Schiller to him was sent on October 24, and Beethoven left Bonn for Vienna on November 2, in order to start composition lessons with Joseph Haydn. So, Fischenich could have personally communicated his love and enthusiasm for Schiller and his ideas, directly to Beethoven after leaving Schiller’s side in Jena.

Fischenich’s enthusiasm for transmitting ideas is reflected in the above introduction:

"Gennem sine foredrag, der blev beåndet af varme og inderlig begejstring for sit lærerfag, vandt han sine tilhørere i en sådan grad, som ingen af hans kolleger kunne fryde sig over; ligeledes højagtede repræsentanterne for juraen (retten) ham og var grænseløse tilhængere af ham."

"Through his lectures, which were inspired by warm and fervent enthusiasm for teaching, he won over his audience, to such an extent that none of his colleagues could enjoy; equally, representatives of the law held him in esteem, and were his boundless supporters."

Fischenich’s letter about Beethoven’s wish to set the Ode to Joy was written just a few months later, at the end of January of 1793.


Five years later, Beethoven wrote two small sketches for the phrase, "Muss ein lieber vater

wohnen" from the Ode to Joy. (from the 1798 Grasnick I sketchbook)

You can hear them here: 12

Time-node A: Friedrich Schiller writes “An die Freude” in 1795

In February of 1796, Schiller published his poem “An die Freude,” written the year before, in the second issue of 'Thalia.' It was actually his very close friend and philosophical interlocker, Körner, who composed the first musical setting of the poem, which appeared in the same issue of Thalia.

This was the version which was sung to morn Schiller in Humlebæk, Denmark, when the Danish poet Jens Baggesen and those gathered for a celebration of Schiller, got the news that Schiller had died. They wrote a new text which read:

Unser todte Freund soll leben!
Alle Freunde stimmet ein!
Und sein Geist soll uns unschweben
hier in Hellas Himmelhain.


Jede Hand emporgehoben!
Schwört bei diesem freien Wein:
Seinem Geiste treu zu sein

Bis zum Wiedersehn dort oben!

Our departed friend shall live!

All friends join in kind!

And his spirit shall surround us

Here in Hellas’ heavenly shrine.

Everybody raise his hand!

Swear by this free wine:

To be faithful to his spirit

Until we meet again above!

As it turned out, they later learned that Schiller had not died, but was very sick, and could not rest because he needed to write in order to sustain his family. This then led Baggesen to organize the Danish Prince Friedrich Christian of Augustenbourg, and Finance Minister Schimmelmann, to give Schiller the several-year stipend mentioned above.13


Think of the long arc of the artist’s development of an idea across an entire lifetime. At each breakthrough, the artist reaches back and changes history – as in a fugue -- where the theme is not the same by the time it reaches the end, even though it contains the same notes. So, also, the development of musical and poetical ideas throughout a lifetime of experimentation, and higher levels of the mastery of creative expression.

At each breakthrough, the precursors to that discovery change. We hear the echoes from the past, in the masterpieces of the future. And we hear the echoes from the future, in those earlier signposts along the way -- the emanations of the creative spirit, yearning to break with the constrictions of “tradition,” to experiment with bold, new, ways to increase, as Shelley wrote, “the power of communicating and receiving intense and impassioned conceptions respecting man and nature,” and to increase the power of human creativity itself.

1 Lewis Lockwood, cited in Pascal p 107

2 Pascal p. 108

3 Pascal, p. 109

4 German Vocal Texts in Translations: An Anthology with translations by Philipp O. Naegele At: http://www.marlboromusic.org/pages/about-us/publications-and-recordings/

5 Play by Nicolas Bouilly

6 “An Early Setting of Schiller’s ‘Ode to Joy’”, Fidelio www.schillerinstitute.org/fid_91-96/931_Schiller_Ode.html

7 John Palmer on http://www.beethoven.ru/node/634

8 Thayer 120- 121

9 cited in Fidelio, Cloret Richardson, Beethoven to Czerny, 1809, in Thayer's Life of Beethoven, rev. and ed. by Elliot Forbes (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1967), vol. I, p. 472. http://www.schillerinstitute.org/fid_97-01/001_brahms.html#fn11

10 http://books.google.dk/books?id=kF04AQAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=fischenich&source=bl&ots=bslVLBrqzy&sig=spe5F8HeOrz4euFynMbkiWEYW0M&hl=en&sa=X&ei=OOY5UP74H5HesgboqIDQDg&ved=0CD4Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=fischenich&f=false

11 Fischenich Und Charlotte Von Schiller: Aus Ihren Briefen Und Andern Aufzeichnungen

12 http://www.unheardbeethoven.org/search/search.pl?piece=biam189.mid

13 The Danish Help to Schiller: How the Danish Marquis de Posa and Don Carlos Saved Friedrich Schiller, by Tom Gillesberg: http://schillerinstitut.dk/drupal/system/files/danish_help_schiller.pdf

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright ©hestories.info 2019
send message

    Main page