MOZART’S NOW OF THEN: SO WHAT?
MOZART'S NOW OF THEN: SO WHAT?
An Address by Albert Fuller
for the San Luis Obispo
29 July 1988
Hello! When Cliff Swanson telephoned to invite me here he said that I had be en in some way inspirational to the idea of this Academy. Then he asked if I would like to speak about some of my own thoughts. When I said that sounded like a good idea to me he asked what would be the title of my address. I wondered how come he wanted the title right away and he said that some of the printed material was going to press that afternoon. I immediately realized that I had something further in common with this academy! In any event he said he wanted me to do what I do and I thought right away of what I call the "Now of Then." So I responded off the top of my head with my title: "Mozart's Now of Then: So What?" Although I felt that Cliff might be in some doubt about my verbiage, I was glad that he agreed to it because I did then and do now have several points in mind that I would like to share with you this evening under my title "Mozart's now of then: so what?"
So, right away I would like to explain what the first part of this title means to me. As I said, the verbal phrase "the now of then" is part of my thought process in many contexts, spoken and written. But for me it always means whatever the "now" part may mean to me at any given time. Beside the past, present and the future there is always the moving dot of what I have just called "any given time." This is what we call the "Now" which is constantly changing. I mean, of course, the fact that none of us has ever experienced this very moment, the right now, before. In so much as this "now" part is always moving, we know that it was the past and that this same "Now" is the moving dot in the present, that continuously unfolds into, or you might say, unveils the future. So much for the "Now" part.
On the other hand the "Then" part refers to what has already happened and seems therefore not so active, not at all. On the contrary, the "Then," if we think of it as meaning the past (and not the future ), this past seems immutable and it may very well be just so. I can't comment on that! All I know is that what I think of as "Now" is "Now" -- And what we say and do now can have some real effect on the quality of this "Now." (Tell the story of Helen Katz and the scream therapy.) After all, we know what we mean when we say we are here now. But the "then" part, gee, that's what they call "History." Ugh! Boring. Lotsa Facts. Get me out of here!
But, in spite of those feelings I am still here and would like to relate an idea about history that came to me as a young man when I studied foreign languages like Latin and Greek, French, Italian and Spanish. I discovered that these guys used and still use the same word for "story" that they use for "history." We English speakers, however, use two similar but different words for the one word of these other languages. For us history is perceived as facts, while a story is perceived as fiction, this word itself being derived from the Latin for false. But reflect for a moment on our different reactions to stories and to histories. While history may be boring to many, we, mostly all of us get into or get caught up in the stories. One must do this in order to understand them, or as we say, "to get it." Or as Aretha Franklin and Satchmo might say, "Yo' gotta llllllllOoooooveeit!" You don't analyze it at that moment, you just exercise it. When we are in the presence of a great story teller we just loooove experiencing it.
But hi-story is another thing. It seems such a drag to so many people. Unfortunately in English our versatility can confuse us. We can become so specialized in history that we forget the story. And thus so often we avoid the flame, the heat, the part that says "I love it." I don't believe, however, that people who are great historians can avoid being 'caught up' in history as the story. For example, Surely "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," that great masterpiece of the 18th-century historian, Edward Gibbon, was a direct result of the author's personal excitement over the story of Rome.
One of our common maxims is that "Truth is stranger than fiction." If we can understand that, then we can connect the integrated historian with the real story of history. But, on the other hand, if truth really is stranger than fiction, does that mean then that reality, our "now" is really wilder that our fantasies? How come? Where? Show me? Well, you might guess that as a musician I would prefer to talk about the "Then" rather than the "Now." But actually, my "then" is constantly blurring into my "Now" and vice-versa. I must say That's really OK for me because I believe what Einstein wrote down only four weeks before his death when he said: "For us . . . the distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion, albeit a stubborn one."
So to get on with my putting some more of the "then" into our "now," I would like to tell you about a real event in my life, one that opened up a new and quite unexpected door of perception for me. This opening occurred a few years ago during a hair cut. My barber, or hairstyles as he prefers to be called, has attended my dwindling hair for many years. Although he knows that I am a musician, we never speak of that anymore than we talk about dressing hair. Rather, Jimmy Rocco and I talk about real estate on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and gossip about the people who pass his window. One day, out of the blue, he said to me, "Albert, you know I don't know anything about music." I said, "Yeah, I didn't think you did; so what?". He said that two nights ago he had gone to the movies and had been blown away. I said, "Why? How come?" What happened?" He said, "You know, I really dug it! It was like real to me, ya know whatta mean?" I said that I did indeed know what he meant. He said, "But yeah, that's the thing, you bein' a musician and all, probably already knew what I just found out, but for me it was like a miraculous appearance, like of a saint or something, you know, like a revelation or something!" Said I, "For crissake Jimmy, tell me what happened! He said, "Well, you see, I went to this movie that a friend of mine wanted to see. I didn't know anything about it and then "boom!". It was this movie called "Amadeus," about Mozart. And then, -- Jimmy said it: "I had always thought Mozart was a thing, you know like the Ten Commandments carved in stone or the monolith in 2001, a thing that some people danced around worshipping but something that I didn't give a flying fig about. I found out that I loved that movie "Amadeus" because I hadn't known that Mozart was a person, that his music was about wimmen, sex, death and God and all that. I know I understood something for the first time." And then he finished by asking me: "Is that sorta like what you do?"
I said to him, "Yeah, that's sorta like what I do. I'm glad you got the idea. That's more or less what musicians think it is." However, to myself privately I said, "My God, he thought Mozart was a thing like the Washington Monument, something that others revered but which for him was totally lifeless. He hadn't even thought of Mozart as containing information like another thing that we call the Library of Congress. Mozart had been for him an inhuman, inoperative thing, never alive, a zero. (It causes me to wonder if all of us don't forget sometimes that our composers were live human beings, flesh and blood, almost identical to us, much more like you and me than not.) So Jimmy the hair stylist had reason to have been blown away by the film as he said: "Oh,..., Mozart was a person. Oh..., now I get it. Oh..., the music is him, what he felt and thought. Oh yeah, now I get it."
I confess, however, that I was startled to learn that some of my very dearest friends were scandalized by this very same "Amadeus." Michiko Kakutani summed up their thinking very well in The 2 July 1988 New York Times review of H. C. Robbins Landon's recent book "1791: Mozart's Last Year." Kakutani opened her review by writing: "Perhaps more than any other composer, Mozart has become a figure of legend, his genius the subject of philosophical explication. To some, he was the Romantic embodiment of natural man, a cherubic innocent with magical power. To others, he was a product of the Enlightenment, a supreme artist blessed with a redemptive vision of Apollonian order. And to still others, like Peter Shaffer, the author of "Amadeus," he was an "obscene child," a foul-mouthed libertine, incongruously (even unjustly) chosen as a vessel for the voice of God." She went on to say: "Mr. Shaffer's quasi historical drama perpetuated other myths as well: it played off historical suspicions that Mozart was poisoned by his rival, the court composer Antonio Salieri; it depicted Mozart's wife, Constanze, as a ditsy, empty-headed sexpot, and it implied that the composer himself was a self-indulgent wastrel who ended up paranoid, broke and drunk." And then the reviewer went on to praise the revelatory order that Robins Landon brought to our knowledge of Mozart's last year.
But apart from all this study and speculation, there was a real message for me in the story of Jimmy the hairstylist: it was, first of all, yet another demonstration of the unity of human beings across time and space. Jimmy Rocco actually recognized Peter Shaffer's Mozart as a person almost like himself; it makes no difference to me that Shaffer's Mozart was a giggly Tom Hulce. More important than that for us here tonight, Jimmy was introduced to Mozart's music as something recognizable and eaningful to him today. Jimmy's revelation asked, at least of me, the unanswered question; "Well, what are you going to do about it? Or as I said in the title of this address: "So what?" This "So What" means to me something else like: "What can musicians do to externalize and share with others more fully their own invisible world of music? How can this world of music, so alive and omnipresent to many of us, how can it bring understanding, excitement of personal recognition, acceptance and patience to those to whom music means little or nothing?" Or put another way, "How can we share more the mystic spirituality of music? How can we understand more of the then to be alive in the now, in our now?"
That certainly seems like a long and difficult list of questions. First, we might ask just what it is that has brought us here together in this room, at this very moment. We would surely be true to ourselves if we were to respond by reciting a list of the many activities through which all art, and specifically, music influences our lives, -- all the public daily events like concerts, classes, radio and making friends, etc. Then there are the more private activities such as television, recordings, books, practice, and yes, even videos. All that seems pretty clear. But subsequent questions such as "Why are we doing all this? or "What is happening because of what we are doing?" Such questions as these are in the department of what is called, especially in California, "consciousness-raising." And because this very ability to persist in "consciousness-raising" seems to identify human beings as different from all other beings on this planet, it is of course one of the most interesting things about us, containing some of the points that I wish to make here tonight.
We might go on to ask about what kind of consciousness we think we are raising, especially in the exercise of this music we love so much. And then there will be questions about the nature of memory. Nowadays many of us feel that the past is part of our lives whether we know it or not. Many of us have become so historically minded that we ask such questions on a daily basis. For example, we have known for millennia that powerful poetry was a central artistic occupation of Greek civilization. We know as well that most Greek poetry was also song. However, when we ask what this song sounded like, the few fragments of Greek musical notation that still exist tell us literally almost nothing about it.
Here is another story, this time of an academic nature about historical curiosity. In its own way this story describes one person's answer to that list of perplexing questions I have posed earlier. About ten years ago an enthusiast of the Aston Magna Festival and Academy and now a personal friend, Otto Steinmayer, decided to try to shed light on some of the unknowns of ancient Greek music from yet another point of view. In working for his Yale, Ph.D., classical languages, he decided for his dissertation to comb the entire literature of Greek culture from before 400 B.C. to encounter and examine every single word that referred to the musical life of that civilization. Out of what he gleaned, gradually a huge volume came into being; it was a glossary treating the interrelatedness of unknown, uncollected and hitherto uncompared information. Steinmayer's great work still did not tell us what Greek music was or what it would have sounded like to modern ears. But on the other hand, it uncovered in a broad, psychological manner many new aspects of what the Greeks thought about music, how they used it and what it meant to them; and it did all this in a manner never before thought of or attempted. Steinmayer says in his preface that "the results of the entire survey resist summary...Yet there are many words describing the timbre and emotion of music, and the changes in this vocabulary through time allow us...to trace the development of styles from archaic to that of the New Music. A wealth of evidence indicates how keenly the Greeks felt music as a joy of life."
In this information, garnered from a new mode of perception, Steinmayer has shown us much new material about the quality of ancient Greek humanity. We quite naturally find how they differed from us. But more importantly we find how very much they were like ourselves, how their thought patterns so often were identical to ours today. Thus the past is shown to relate to us directly whether we have known it or not. Steinmayer concludes his work by saying: "One indeed may give the heart of the Greeks' attitude in saying that: 'Music itself is joy'...True song has a divine origin and is allied to wisdom. It was necessary at every joyous occasion... and we must not forget that, like ourselves, the Greeks listened to song for its own sake, and competed with each other to be known as the best composer or performer." This joy that he refers to lives on, woven directly into our own most used musical descriptive term, the noble Italian word, allegro!
Yet, the fact remains that the Greeks did not write their music down -- they did not have any long-term, adequate notation for it. They were somehow unaware of the power that the musical part played in the poetic message. We have no other idea why that could be so when at the same time the Greeks responded with such a spectrum of psychological, poetic feeling in their written verbal language. From today's vantage, we see this same verbal, written ancient Greek language as primarily esponsible for causing Western civilization finally to burst into bloom. The concepts contained in that ancient language remain with the philosophers, poets playwrights and all who use words to form the basis of the present-day civilized consciousness that is ours.
The Greeks achieved mighty results in their efforts in consciousness-raising, efforts that are part of our conscious inheritance today, now! Just as Mozart's Pappageno recognizes his Pappagena, we can follow Jacob Bronowski's description of the origins of knowledge. Bronowski points out that as we survey our universe we discover the variety of likenesses that can be found therein, ordering what we know into like and unlike. Steinmayer's work shows our likeness to ancient Greeks. If this is so, then I dare to say that Mozart is more like our own brother, rather than the thing that Jimmy the hairstylist had thought.
The suggestion of Mozart as our brother may be surprising at first. Wouldn't it be even more so if we were to call him Wolfgang or Wolfie or some other intimate name. That may sound at first like a pretty "wild" suggestion. But after all, the precedent for doing such a thing goes back in our post-medieval era to the acclaimed proto-hero-artist of the Renaissance, Dante. Dante, we must know, is this writer's first name, not his last name. Servants called him Signore or Mister Alighieri. Likewise, The last name of Giotto, the Dante of painting, was di Bondone. And then, Donato, a descendant of the great Bardi family, is know to posterity by the intimate diminutive, Donatello, and not by his surname, di Niccolò Bardi. Should I mention Raphael, Sr. OR Mr. Sanzio whose first name was Raffaello, or even Michelangelo Buonarotti. We don't speak of him as Buonarotti, that is, the way we refer to Mozart or Stravinsky whom we most certainly do not call Wolfgang or Igor. We call Sr. Buonarotti by his first name as if we were acquainted with him. He is Michelangelo to us. Why is it that their contemporaries called and we recall these geniuses of the visual and literary arts by their affectionate and revered first names? Saints who inspired love into others are also called by their first names, John, Lucy and Francis. The kings of France were called the 14th Louis, or the 15th, and the Queen of England is called Elizabeth. Yet, -- at the same time, isn't it curious that the musicians, even of the Renaissance period, are known to us generally by their last or as we say in English, their surnames? Can we imagine Beethoven saying "Oh, please call me Ludwig?"
To ask such questions as these without giving persuading answers calls directly to mind the book entitled "What is emembered by Alice B. Toklas." In it Toklas reported clearly that when she saw Gertrude Stein for the very last time, saying to her 'Oh, dear, what is the answer?', Stein responded 'Please, dear Alice, how many times do I have to tell you? It is not the answer that is the most important; it is the question'. And that seems good for us all to remember. Those of us in the original instrument movement are on a long and spiritual quest; this quest is of course the same as questioning. The quest is to illuminate further the nature of humanity and our relation to the universe that has supported our existence. That is the "So What?" part of my title.
After Freud and Einstein and the technological revolutions of the 20th century, our concept of the meaning of many things has been irrevocably altered. While some people deplore the changes in the world, others know that change and death are two things that the living can all count on. We musicians know that while the notation of music as we normally use it is only a few centuries old, at the same time many new notations for present day music have of necessity been invented. Some of us have to learn to read these new musical languages much as we have to learn to use the new computer tools. But let's not forget that the notation of words in our dominant alphabetical system began much more than two thousand years ago. No wonder we have had to borrow so much of our musical vocabulary from the visual arts. And yet, in the womb, we now know that the blind fetus begins to hear earlier than we had ever thought. Mothers and fathers talk, on purpose and directly, to their children before they are born. Musician parents automatically surround their unborn children with waves of fine music that becomes programmed into them as their earliest unconscious memories. [Tell here the myth about Mnemosyne and Zeus.] the evolution of human consciousness is inextricably united with aural consciousness, all of which was passed on by memory until the appearance of verbal notation and then much later the slowly evolved notation of music.
Even today what we call real notation of music is laborious and expensive and was previously only desired by savants and geniuses seized by power and imagination. Now however computerization has altered forever all kinds of notation And it is time for another story. My old friend, Frank Campbell, a boss at the Lincoln Center musical branch of the New York Public Library, thought, back in the sixties, that it would be great for the library to collect for its treasure house the manuscripts of the Beetles. Can you, right now, here, in 1988, imagine his surprise when he learned that there were no manuscripts for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," none at all. The music was simply composed by laying it down, little by little, on electronic tracks until everybody agreed that the creation was finished. It reminds me that there are no pencil notes of what I am saying here tonight even though I have before me a print-out of what I have brought into being and stored on a 3 1/2 inch floppy disc. The organization of this address was accomplished by another keyboard that I have so gratefully learned to manipulate, the keyboard of the Mac-Plus!
The computer-satellite-television complex is a reality of today's world, connecting almost every one of us on this planet, again whether we know it or not. The previously unthinkable experience of being let in on a Soviet Communist Party Congress has now happened. In an astonishing public forum, The former police state is altered somehow for all time. And in this experience we recognize Russians as human beings across the formerly vast spaces that separated us. They are our family across space. What Jaap Schröder and Chris Hogwood discovered in rehearsing and recording all of Mozart's symphonies, gave us, for the first time ever, a new link with the past not previously foreseen. Mozart's thought process and growth of mind have come closer to our consciousness across time by their actions. We in turn can acquaint ourselves with Schröder's and Hogwood's findings if we purchase and study these recording for ourselves. In doing this We must remember that this is only the first attempt at such an exercise and whether we like their conclusions or not, we must be immensely grateful for the products of their labors. These efforts of study, performance and recording form together a modern fact of consciousness-raising! How ever much it may be called a miracle, we may all share in the results of this newly possible and unique exercise!
In a sense, however, it feels like a modern miracle because of the aura of the unknown that surrounds the human spirit. The profundity of that spirit allows us to continue on the mysterious path of education, continuously leading out from ourselves and from one another many new layers of thought. Our being here together now is ample testimony to our enthusiasm for this educational quest and for the questioning that it requires. And so again, whether we know it or not, we are working on our other halves, what post-Freudians call the unconscious part of our minds. We are fueling our tanks with geniuses of the past in ways not hitherto thought possible. Broad and intense musical experiences have clarified the mental outlines of the composers of music from the past. Those of us who are hungry and thirsty for high-quality companionship can have some of this newer, previously unknown kind. In it we are rewarded by the recognition of enlightenment, the internal goddess of light, who enables us to respond like Jimmy the hairstylist, saying "Oh yeah, I know what you mean; I can recognize your thought as my own; you live again in some mysterious way in me." It seems to me that that is where the thrill of it all is. Our tanks are brimming over with so much unused material that we throw ourselves into it as if we were hurriedly thumbing though a long wanted book, seeking preview tidbits of the feast that awaits us when we really read it. Now Chris Hogwood is in the process of studying and recording all of Haydn's more than a hundred symphonies. Think what personal messages from the secret, interior development of Haydn's mind such a study can reveal!
Awaiting our further consciousness awareness, this past, residing in us all, was well described almost twenty-five centuries ago when Pericles spoke over the Athenian dead from the Peloponnesian war. In his oration of 430 B.C. he said: "For the whole earth is the sepulcher of famous men; and their story is not graven only on stone over their native earth but lives on, far away, without visible symbol, woven into the stuff of other men's lives." Do we not understand "other men" to mean Mozart and us?
What does this mean? Or, in other words, so what? Are we better off? Are we different? Are we our truer selves? Are we better people? Now what will we do? Do more people love us? Do we love people? How are we doing?
Well, we are certainly richer in the amount of materials that we have to draw upon. That recalls to me Franklin Roosevelt's first inaugural speech that I heard in person as a child. That was the speech in which he pronounced his most famous thought: "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance." Important as that idea is to us here in this room, now, more important may be what Roosevelt went on later to say: "Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply...Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort."
So if we ask what we will do with those rich materials that we have to draw upon, we are bolstered by the French maxim "noblesse oblige." Whatever this may mistakenly mean to some, it really means that those who have knowledge are obligated to act on it for the good of themselves and of others. In other words, to obey the second commandment. William Schuman the composer, first president of Lincoln Center and former president of Juilliard, addressed the graduating classes of the Juilliard School this year at the Commencement exercises. He told them that if they wished to have long and distinguished careers they should heed his advice: "Don't die! But then he said what all civilized thinkers have advised, that, in order to achieve hose long and distinguished careers they must aim at communication and at exercising leadership. Noblesse oblige! Knowledge requires action!
The value that we have come to attribute to the "individual," especially in America, this value is only as good as each of us is able to speak each his own mind for the benefit of himself and of others. Is it not interesting that the democratic ideal we cling to has its origin in the Greek mind that gave us the written and political bases for our civilization? This does not mean, of course, as the feminist movement once said and has now repudiated, that "we can have it all." Even I have lived though that mistaken concept. When I was a child I was told by everybody that our physical resources, at least those of America, and most probably the entire world's, were unlimited. America would grow and grow and I and all of us with it. Whaaaooouu! Now we know for sure that our physical resources are most definitely limited and such views cannot, indeed must not be maintained. So we must look inside ourselves to continue to grow, seeking to unlock and engage ever more our mental resources. It is the limits of these that cannot be imagined.
Ten years ago now the first Aston Magna Academy took place. These Academies were planned as forums in which we musicians, along with artists from other fields and allied scholars could come together to exercise in new ways our own rich mental resources that we continue to ignore. In my address at the opening of the Academy of 1980 I referred often to science and art, because many whom I admire had shown me how science and art are the dual creative enterprises of mankind, and are the source of primary evolution. I spoke of how the unifying factor of science and art is what we call imagination, and that it is the persistence of imagination, based on the accumulation of knowledge, that distinguishes us from all else that we observe here on 'the spaceship Earth.' I also drew the conclusion that the central meaning of our American heritage is that the freedom of which we sing invites us, even commands us to take upon ourselves the personal initiative or imagination to grow, and to do so in areas that have the potential to draw out humanity's most intelligent and interconsiderate qualities.
I finished that address by saying that it seemed clear to me that the Universe is a success; I added also that it seemed clear that the very survival of the human race with its universal mind of self-awareness demonstrates that what we call evolution is the successful part of what nature wants us to do and has literally supported us in doing. As a result, among some other simpler answers to "So what?" I said that our Academy existed "to abet the inclusion of human beings here on earth in the orderly design of the universe." And I didn't know then, nor do I know now, any better way to continue doing something about that inclusion than to continue to communicate to others and to exercise leadership where that is possible.
Among many other things, we musicians who perform "classical music" are live word-bearers. We carry within ourselves messages of some of the most central human feelings from times past. However, performers cannot pass on the words of the past unless they can recognize them. The performer's obligation is to discover and portray what the images of the past have to add to our own contemporary sense of reality. It is ultimately the music itself and its performance that can and should best speak for itself. If we can get in touch with our own listening fantasies, then, permitting our composers' imagery to direct our interior worlds may well be the closest way to participate in their genius today! Our fantasies!
Our fantasies and art may be pure but the business of art most certainly isn't. Therefore managers and promoters, people who sell art, most often want to change the interior imagery of creative people. There is a story about Billy Rose, the entrepreneur, his show, "The Seven Lively Arts" at the Ziegfeld Theater and Stravinsky...Tell it!...In the end Stravinsky replied that colossal success was quite enough! And Grisha's story of Billy Rose and "I didn't like it!"
But let us not deceive ourselves: we are in the midst of the greatest revolution thus far on Earth. Our planet has been shrunk for us by the passage of information, by the television saucer, by the computer-satellite-television complex, passing around almost identical information to everybody on earth who has eyes and ears to hear and see and understand. This factor alone stimulates our imaginations to see the power of the greatest educational tool thus far devised. Stirrings all around the world show how effective this new mode of communication is. The news from Russia and now even Iran suffices to show that the revolution is quite ongoing.
I wonder how many of you here have clear memory of the world of recording before the revolutionary advent of LP's. Prior to that time the distribution of recorded music was clumsy, literally heavy, expensive and embraced a very narrow spectrum of expressivity. Before the time of any recording at all, people went to concerts for a grand revelation, one akin to that of Jimmy the hairstylist. When Brahms and Joachim came to Kolozsvar in Transylvania their appearance took on the character of a great discovery. When Paderewski toured the United States he was surrounded with an aura of revelation. He had it! He was going to give it to 'em! They were going to love it!
Now that LP's have come and CD's are forcing even their retirement all that has changed. Most Audiences don't go to oncerts seeking revelation but rather they seeking a particular sense of confirmation. They want a verification or validation that the CD disk or the Video tape that they may have memorized did indeed come from someone they can recognize and relate to as a human being like themselves. For this reason it is not so much the message of the great composer that many audiences seek. Rather, they go to concerts to substantiate that "She plays Mozart just like she should!"
Now, however, there has sprung up a new mode of perception, the one we call "original instruments". We see this new mode to have begun with Mendelssohn's performances of Bach, with the establishment of the Bach Gesellschaft publications and with the immense study of the Gregorian chant that began in the 19th century. Even Brahms joined Chrysander, the great Handel editor, to bring out the first "modern" edition of the harpsichord works of François Couperin. And now it is almost a century since Wanda Landowska began playing in public on the harpsichord. Landowska's powerful public propulsive performances revealed quite unknown riches which in turn commanded the respect of the entire musical world. Others, like the Dolmetsches, began to spread the word through instrument building, performance and publication. And now all that effort has turned into what we call the original instrument movement. Through public performances and especially electrical recordings, the attention of an increasingly large segment of the knowing public has once again turned to the message of the composer. Doing that has led us to conclude that the message of "Russian/Israeli pain," appropriate as it might be to the subjects and performance style of much 20th-century music, has little or nothing to do with the artistic expressions of Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms and so very many others. This new, striking thought has led to the slogan "Historically Informed Performance," H-I-P, the acronym of which has given "HIP" a newer meaning!
With these new modes of perception, we can once again approach the works of great creators with the expectation of receiving some kind of discovery or revelation. Engaging our imaginations anew in this revolutionary time is a real exercise of the communication and leadership that I have spoken of. We know that these two goals are also absolutely necessary. If we do not hang on to our priceless knowledge it shall vanish and we will have to acquire it all over again. Doesn't that remind us of the ancient destruction of the library at Alexandria with its incalculable losses? Or the injunction of the American revolutionary author, Thomas Paine, who left us with "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty"? Or of the American philosopher, George Santayana, known to all thinkers by his deathless 20th-century admonition: "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it"?
The most important part of the exercise of the performing arts, all the way from the ancient Greek theater to Bruce Springsteen is what is now billed as "coming to you live". It is the exercise in public of the communicative arts -- with the lights on, often many lights. Think of Woody Allen for a moment. He is known to the entire world first as a cinematic purveyor of humor, then of emptiness and then of tragedy. But, perhaps even more importantly, Woody Allen has the habit of going every week to play his clarinet in a jazz ensemble on Manhattan's East side in an ordinary pub, in a bar that has maintained the tradition of live music. In this way he gets into the mainstream of love and joy that exists on what Alice Tully calls the ineffable plane of chamber music. Woody Allen relates to the needs of others in a sensitive, communicative manner that produces an indescribable, wordless joy. We note with deep interest that he and his cohorts play a lot of the Dixie Land stuff that the guys in New Orleans' funeral bands gradually segue into on the way back from the cemetery. Soon in that Eastside Manhattan bar there is nothing to be heard but the joyous communication of the wordless Dixie Land band music. Woody Allen is now detached from his own humor, his own emptiness and his tragedy and he is connected by joy and love with all humanity at that very instant.
How wonderful, then to contemplate the extent to which Mozart has been able to exercise increasing leadership, even after death. It seems to us that He sought during his own brief life every opportunity to exercise communication and leadership, knowledge and love. For us, especially in our evermore electrically connected world, if we can not be sure just what we will be doing after death, then by all means now is the time for us to exercise our own versions of what we have learned from Mozart. Mozart, along with all the other genius-thought of the past is in us now, whether we know it or not. By raising our own consciousness of what we contain, of what is in us, we can continue to exercise our versions of that same communication and leadership, that same knowledge and love!
I would like to finish what I am saying here this evening, this call for participation in the world of musical art, with three quotations that I think of as 'arias'. I say arias on purpose here, especially because our old friend aria is the Italian word for air, and we know that good, clean air has become a threatened commodity to all on earth now. In any event, I think of these pieces as arias because they inhabit my own, secret ongoing, internal opera that I have named after the ancient Greek injunction of Apollo: "Man, know yourself!" The first of these "arias" is by the great American poet Walt Whitman, an internationally recognized artist whose works have now been translated into the formerly far-away language of the Chinese! In his Leaves of Grass from around 1859, Walt Whitman says:
Full of life now, compact, visible,
I, forty years old the eighty-third year of the States,
To one a century hence or any number of centuries hence,
To you yet unborn THESE, seeking you.
When you read these, I that was visible am become invisible.
Now it is you, compact, visible, realizing my poems, seeking me,
Fancying how happy you were if I could be with you and become your comrade;
Be it as if I were with you. (Be not too certain but I am now with you. )
So my smallest, compact answer to the "So What?" in the title of my address here is love. Not, however the Amor of the Romans or the amour of the French, but rather the caritas of Latin. Begetter of our English word charity that now contains so many negative attributes, caritas is the love of, the caring for and the unity with ourselves and with the whole of humanity. Surely there is a natural unity in mankind. Are we not convinced of that unity across space by knowing that an Australian aborigine and an Eskimo, so visibly disparate, can together produce healthy human offspring? Mozart, thanks to events around the world like your festival and academy, has become across time and space as clearly recognizable to some of us as are some of our living acquaintances. We, and Jimmy the hairstylist, love Mozart. The end of communication, leadership and knowledge Is LOVE.
Then my second aria is from our own century. Its author, Thornton Wilder, who has also been translated into Chinese, could not have expressed it more clearly at the end of The Bridge of San Luis Rey from 1927 where he said: "And we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living, and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning. And to finish here with an even more contemporary statement, I would like to recall from the New Yorker magazine of 27 June 1988 a passage in the opening section called the "Talk of the Town." This passage is entitled "Pops" and it reads: "We recently acquired two albums devoted to Louis Armstrong's popular vocal hits. The title of both albums is "What a Wonderful World," but on listening to the title tracks we discovered that they were different versions of the song. One version is a 1968 recording, whose current commercial success in the United States stems from its inclusion in the soundtrack of the film, "Good Morning, Vietnam." The other version was recorded two years later -- in 1970, just before Armstrong's seventieth birthday (and only a year before his death) -- with different personnel, a more gospel-like arrangement, and an informal spoken introduction by Armstrong that serves as a bridge to the melody: 'Some of you young folks been sayin' to me, 'Eh, Pops, what do you mean, what a wonderful world? How 'bout all them wars all over the place? You call them wonderful? And how 'bout hunger and pollution? That ain't so wonderful, either." But how 'bout listenin' to old Pops for a minute? Seems to me it ain't the world that's so bad but what we're doing to it. And all I'm saying is see what a wonderful world it would be if only we'd give it a chance. Love, baby, love -- that's the secret. Yeeeaaahhh. If lots more of us loved each other, we'd solve lots more problems. And then this world would be a gasser.' "
So you see, I agree with my artistic colleague, the card-carrying musician Satchmo, whose music needs no translation into anything, much less Chinese! To the second part of tonight's title, the question "So what?", My answer is "Love." No matter how you slice it, no matter in how many different ways it is exercised, I am confident that the answer is "Love." That leaves us a lot to talk about in the future. But for now, I thank you for your attention and bid you good night!