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2011年12月13日 星期二

Ways of Listening: Aesthetics, Metaphors, and Quotations in Music - Part III

 
引言:

真的很久沒有寫新的文章了。教學越來越忙,雖然這表示我的收入多了,生活穩定了,但,這並不是我最喜歡的情況。不過,我已前也確實寫了不少文章,當然以英文寫的佔多,因為我的中文打字很慢。所以,我也只好出版多一些英文寫的文章了。以下的是一篇絕對有實力的學術文章,也是我往後開拓現代音樂美學,意義研究的啟蒙文章。以自己寫的文章作為自己的啟蒙老師,怕是由我開始的了。以下的文章也有數千字,所以會分期刋載。如讀者是喜歡音樂分析的,必能從這篇文章得益。


Part III:



Quotation: “Photos” in a Sonic Album


It is the barely audible C major piano sound, despite a little mediocre, that unnoticeably sets off a sonic journey at the very beginning of Ives’s song The Things Our Father Loved.  This C major chord not only serves to prepare the incoming of the singer’s weak, and nearly murmured utterance, but also to offer an imagined space for the listener to contemplate, to experience.  The prologue of the song is somewhat anticipatory, seeming to call you to wait for what is to come next.  Music, in this sense, is an adventure – it advances, it arrives.  But what will be followed after the opening C major sonority?  It is a three-note melodic figure 3^  2^  1^  , singing the lyrical words “I think,” which is also confirmed by the piano C major triad once again.  This is the right time for both Ives, the composer, and us, the listeners, to think what are these “things” that “our father” loved.

 

The familiar quoted tune, My Old Kentucky Home, albeit with different text setting, is one of the fruits from such process of thinking.  The occurrence of quotation here is a privileged moment in unfolding that juxtaposes different moments of past experiences.  On the one hand, to Ives, it could be a moment to mediate and also to seek his nostalgic restlessness and the never fulfilled sense of childhood loss.  Just as David Metzer has commented, “quotation becomes the means by which the composer participated in that cultural scene. Through the gesture, he could represent the figure of the lost child and the growing gap between past and present in which that figure was caught.”[1]  On the other hand, it could be a moment that all senses of childhood loss could be redeemed.  Larry Starr has once showed his agreement to this view by warning against the common “widespread misconception of Ives as a nostalgic composer.”[2]  Also, Burkholder has concluded in the discussion of The Things Our Father Loved with a saying that, “……this is not an exercise in nostalgia for the songs and scenes of the past.”[3]  Doubtless for both scholars, Ives has not mourned the past with quotations.  On the contrary, he did prize the past as a trove of values that need to be, and can be, reclaimed by himself.[4]  All the quoted tunes in this song, including My Old Kentucky Home, are all “things” that represent all values – the natural beauty of Ives’s homeland, the religious faith, the patriotism, the group feeling and the hope for a future reunion with those he loved, in Heaven if not on earth.  As such, this particular moment could probably be the beginning of Ives’s search for his “liberty,”[5] in which all things of value in the past that his father, or whom he loved could be contained.  Ives is extolling the past and its values through the use of quotations.



For listeners, the recognized tune of Stephen Foster’s My Old Kentucky Home could be a retrospective moment that invites a search for what happened, and what was there.  Unlike any other parts of the music, a quotation occurred in a particular moment is not merely a rendering, an imitation or an interpretation of its subject, but actually a trace, like a footprint or a death mask.  Simply put, it works like a private photo-album containing many precious, memorable photos.  From this sense, Ives here is the collector while we, the listeners, are the viewers.  When displaying a private photo-album before our eyes, the collector is inviting us to share with his/her past experiences.  Similarly, the first sonic photo of Stephen Foster’s quoted tune is just a trace, a footprint in this particular moment.  The moment the quotes are heard is the moment we are invited to search for what was there.  But whether listeners can identify the borrowed songs or think of their words is not crucial; what is most important is the character or the style of the songs, each of which represents a type of song that played a distinctive role in our experiences and is endowed with a particular emotional resonance. 


While some listeners are conjured up with the similar emotion of Ives’ nostalgic loss when hearing the rather slow and sustained, even distorted appearance of the quoted tune, others, perhaps, can sense the “liberty” values that the tune represented.  However, to audiences who cannot recognize the quotation, perhaps, a scene of idyll and lyricism may be evoked.  The folk-like melody of Foster’s song is not difficult to express such pastoral aura of a typical American small town in countryside.  However, if we remember the text of the first phrase of My Old Kentucky Home, “the sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,” our experience of Ives’ “old home” may link to an imagined “place in the soul” that contains “all made of tunes.”[6]  This “home” is definitely a bright and sunny lovely place, which comes from our private experiences, our imaginiation, not very much from Ives.  We, in fact, experience Ives’ experiences in terms of our experiences. 






[1] David Metzer, Quotation and Cultural Meaning in 20th Century, 16.


[2] Larry Starr, A Union of Diversities: Style in the Music of Charles Ives (New York: G. Schirmer, 1992), 52.


[3] Burkholder, All Made of Tunes, 311.


[4] Ibid., 311


[5] The subtitle of this song is “and the greatest of these was Liberty.”


[6] The text of the first phrase of The Things Our Father Loved is, “ I think there must be a place in the soul all made of tunes.”
David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-12-12 (published)

2011年12月1日 星期四

Ways of Listening: Aesthetics, Metaphors, and Quotations in Music - Part II

引言:

真的很久沒有寫新的文章了。教學越來越忙,雖然這表示我的收入多了,生活穩定了,但,這並不是我最喜歡的情況。不過,我已前也確實寫了不少文章,當然以英文寫的佔多,因為我的中文打字很慢。所以,我也只好出版多一些英文寫的文章了。以下的是一篇絕對有實力的學術文章,也是我往後開拓現代音樂美學,意義研究的啟蒙文章。以自己寫的文章作為自己的啟蒙老師,怕是由我開始的了。以下的文章也有數千字,所以會分期刋載。如讀者是喜歡音樂分析的,必能從這篇文章得益。


  Quotation and Metaphorical Concept

    The important role of metaphor in shaping our thinking and affecting our daily lives have been discussed by Lakoff and Johnson in the book, Metaphors We Live By. About metaphor, Lakoff has stated: “The essence of metaphor is understanding and experiencing one kind of thing in terms of another.”[1] Metaphor is not a mere rhetorical device in linguistics. It is in fact the one that governs not only our actions and activities, but also our thinking processes and ways of understanding. We always seek out personal metaphors to highlight and make coherent our own pasts, our present activities, and our dreams, hopes, and goals as well. A large part of understanding is the search for appropriate personal metaphors that make sense to us. It involves unending negotiation and renegotiation of the meaning of our past experiences. As a result, the process of understanding can lead to a continual development of new stories, as well as a creation of new realities in our daily lives. As metaphors exist in a person’s conceptual system, therefore, in this paper, all metaphors created for understanding of musical quotation are to be understood as metaphorical concepts.


     It is, however, nothing new for one to understand music in terms of metaphor in the western music history. For example, in the Cours complet d’ harmonie et de composition musicale (1803-05) by Jerome-Joseph Momigny, there are extensive analyses of movements by Mozart and by Haydn alternating technical description with narrative or dramatic readings. From Powers’ description on Momigny’s writing of Haydn’s symphony no.103, movement one, we can see that Momigny’s understanding of the music was no doubt governed by the metaphorical concepts he made. In fact, Powers stated, “ Momigny’s reading of Haydn Symphony 103 / I, ……the movement is read as a scene in the countryside, with a storm, villagers taking refuge in a temple, elders and grown men, women trembling for their children, and so on, with occasional fragments of text supplied to musical motives to enliven the narrative.”[2] Clearly, Powers’ words, such as storm, temple, elders, men, women, are related to a pictorial images consisting of the weather, temple and people, which are important metaphors to structure Momigny’s thinking. But it was not a unique privilege for Momigny to read music with metaphors, many other philosophers and music critics did so in the 19th century, such as Hanslick’s use of personification to conceptualize his idea on music as a living form,[3] which could animate beauty from the projection of sound, Schopenhauer’s view on music as a representation of human’s will,[4] the Berlin critic Heinrich Hermann’s description on Beethoven’s symphony no. 3 as an almost Shakespearean world of magic, or the Russian critic Oulibicheff Marx’s review on the same work as a military “drama” for delineating a battle and victory of a hero, which the battle is fought for the human freedom.[5] In the recent musicological scholarship, Susan McClary, also used the metaphor of “sexual intercourse” to explain the western tonal system and the musical phenomenon of Beethoven’s symphony no. 9.[6] As such, music in general, and quotations in particular, can be understood in terms of metaphor. This reading is capable of creating a new way of listening, which is capable of offering different perspectives for us to muse, to recall, and to search what happened and what was there.





[1] Lakoff, Metaphors, 5.


[2] Harold Powers, “Reading Mozart’s Music: Text and Topic, Syntax and Sense,” in Current Musicology 57, (1995): 5-44.


[3] We can refer to Mark Evan Bonds’ discussion on this topic in his book, A History of Music in Western Culture ( Upper Saddle River, H.J. : Prentice Hall, 2003), 366.


[4] Ibid., 361.


[5] Thomas Sipe, Beethoven: Eroica Symphony (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 54-62.


[6] Susan McClary, Feminie Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality (London, Minneapolis: University Minnesota Press, 2002)53-79.
 

To be continued.....

David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-12-01 (published)

2011年11月19日 星期六

Ways of Listening: Aesthetics, Metaphors, and Quotations in Music - Part I

引言:

真的很久沒有寫新的文章了。教學越來越忙,雖然這表示我的收入多了,生活穩定了,但,這並不是我最喜歡的情況。不過,我已前也確實寫了不少文章,當然以英文寫的佔多,因為我的中文打字很慢。所以,我也只好出版多一些英文寫的文章了。以下的是一篇絕對有實力的學術文章,也是我往後開拓現代音樂美學,意義研究的啟蒙文章。以自己寫的文章作為自己的啟蒙老師,怕是由我開始的了。以下的文章也有數千字,所以會分期刋載。如讀者是喜歡音樂分析的,必能從這篇文章得益。


  Introduction:  

For some listeners, the response is almost instantaneous.  A mistuned March parade easily sparks the most spectacular sound picture in Ives’ orchestral set.  A hurdy-gurdy waltz furtively occasions in the movement of the most ambitious Mahler’s symphonic music.  The ability in both to weave banalities into wonders, with the mundane – whether it be the band music in one or the street waltz in the other – being transmuted into the stuff of marvels, reconfirms us a saying, that, “in music, nothing seems impossible.”  Would it be a singer’s voice, a familiar tune, a sonic gesture or a rhythmic pattern or any other musical device that can exert such tremendous impact on listeners?  I would suggest that musical quotation is able to do it.

Musical borrowings have long occupied an important place in western music.  For centuries, composers have incorporated materials from existing music or earlier works into their compositions.[1]   From the parodic masses of Dufay’s or the use of Lutheran hymns by J.S. Bach to the “re-composition” of earlier music in Stravinsky, borrowing as a compositional procedure constantly presents itself as a challenge to the composer’s imagination.  Yet there has never been such an epoch as the 20th century in which quotations and references feature so extensively in works of numerous composers.  And it is in the music of Charles Ives, an American native composer that one discovers, perhaps for the first time in history, some missed opportunities and unrealized potential in western music.

One of the first tasks that confront Ives’ scholars who undertake research into his music has always been to go through the labyrinth of quotations in the composer’s works. Peter J. Burkholder, who identifies different kinds of “quotations” in Ives’ music, focuses on exploring the complex musical, psychological and philosophical motivations behind the borrowings, and shows the purpose, techniques and effects that characterize each one.  Wiley Hitchcock offers a general but succinct survey of Ives’ music in his Ives: A Survey of the Music, providing analyses of some important pieces and tracing the sources of the quotations.  Philip Lambert’s studies apply set theory analysis to music, revealing the pitch organization and structural coherence of the works.   Larry Starr adopts Lambert’s approach but offers analyses that relate Ives’ musical settings to the composer’s philosophical ideas and biographical background.  Other scholars also advocate research on Ives’ uses of quotations in relation to the European musical tradition, American patriotism, the early 20th century socio-cultural background of New England and other European masters such as Stravinsky, Mahler and Schoenberg.  Doubtless the above-mentioned research takes place in the domain of either the compositional dimension or the biographical terrain of Ives.  As such, the issues of quotation, if any, are viewed mainly from the composer’s scope. 



Despite the multifarious approaches, however, few regard it an issue of aesthetics or attempt to address quotations from the perspective of the audience.  How does a listener experience, feel or respond when facing the network of quotations in Ives’ music?  In what way do listeners respond to these quotations in relation to their own socio-cultural surroundings?  Referring to the functions of music, Tia DeNora remarks that music “is not merely a ‘meaningful’ or ‘communicative’ medium.  It does much more than convey signification through non-verbal means.  At the level of daily life, music…may influence how people compose their bodies, how they conduct themselves, how they experience the passage of time, how they feel – in terms of energy and emotion – about themselves, about others, and about situations.”[2] Music in general, and quotations in particular, can be read as a force of social life, a medium of social relation, a technology of self, or a device of social ordering.[3]  Furthermore, if music, just as what Nora has claimed, consists of an interlacing of experience (feeling, action) and the materials that are accessed as the referents for experience and its metaphoric and temporal parameters,[4] it may thus be seen to serve as an operating platform for the temporal structure of one’s past events, as well as the emotional responses. 

 

This article attempts to explore different ways of listening to Ives’ quotations by offering a critical survey of some of his music.  Quotations, as I would like to argue, can and ought to be read and understood in terms of metaphor.  In fact, just as Lakoff has claimed, “metaphor permits an understanding of one kind of experience in terms of another, creating coherences by virtue of imposing gestalts that are structured by natural dimensions of experience.”[5]  From this sense, metaphor is not only a matter of imaginative rationality, but also aesthetic experience.  It is created from our daily surroundings and cultural experiences, and is able to conceptualize our cognitive minds and to induce our emotional sensations.  New metaphors are capable of creating new understandings and new realities, involving all the natural dimensions of our sense experiences, especially that of sound.  Analysis, therefore, is no mere counting of quotes or characterization in terms of compositional techniques.  It rather evokes the totality of the sonic world of a specific time, place and event, operating in every dimension of the listeners’ psychological and aesthetical states.  Be it a tune, a rhythmic pattern or a specific sonority, a reference to a style or genre, a quotation is a tangible link between the sonic and cultural reality of the past and those of the present, as well as a metaphorical representation in one’s own imagination.  Applying ideas and concepts borrowed from paintings and literature, it is hoped that an intertextual reading of the quotations will open up new areas of scholarship on the subject.

To Be Continued.....

David Leung (theorydavid)
2011-11-18 (published)







[1] Peter Burkholder, “Borrowing: Types of Borrowing,” in New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed., 1 [computer music Library], cited on 2006/5/1, available from www.Grovemusic.com/data/articles/music/5/529/52918.xml?section=52918.1




[2] DeNora Tia, Music in Everyday Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 16-17.


[3] Ibid., 7.


[4] Ibid., 67.


[5] George Lakoff and M. Johnson, Metaphors We Live By (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1980), 235.

2011年10月31日 星期一

The Irrational Reflections of Klimt’s Works Before 1914

前言: 早前發表過一篇有關 Gustav Klimt 的一章。看來也有不少讀者看過。 其實,我對於十九世紀的 fine art,也略有研究。這個時期的西方繪晝。我也甚是喜歡。以下的文章,就是談論klimt 和他的 succession movement,對世紀末 Modernized Vienna 的藝術風格的影響。

正文:



It is undeniable to assert that an attitude of what Morgan stated, the ‘optimistic rationalism’, still dominated the majority of the 19th century European.  It was an extended traditional European thought since the Renaissance.  This optimistic tradition, however, based on an unshakable belief in human achievement and the steady progress of civilization, had been reflected before 1914, the World War I, in a series of remarkable scientific discoveries and successful revolutions which seemed to foretell a future where all material needs would be overcome.  As for the European rationalism, unquestionably, was rooted in the Newtonian concept, in which it is believed that the universe was stable.  The ‘Natural’ laws reflected the rationalism of the nature.  External reality was knowable and even controllable.  Mankind, therefore, could successfully search and attain personal happiness, as well as solve the problem of the society and even between nations through rationalistic process[1].



To the majority of Viennese, like the other Europeans, were no exception indulging in the illusive prosperity, wealth, glory, and the political as well as the economical stability under the reign of Habsburg Family.  The arts reflected this optimistic and rationalistic reality in certain degrees.  The paintings and sculpture faithfully and objectively depicted the surrounding world through a realistic way, or in the other words, a rational process.  This is a ‘mirror of the nature’[2].  However, this sense of permanence, or rationalism, had one disadvantage. Just as the writer Hermann Bahr claimed, ‘ Nothing happens here, absolutely nothing.’[3]  Bahr had for some time been pessimistic about the state of painting and sculpture throughout the Hasburg Empire and especially in its capital.  He rightly believed that the visual arts in Vienna were narrowly provincial, unoriginal and dull.  They had followed the same narrow course, always looking inwards rather than towards the broad horizon, and the organization from whom younger artists might have expected a lead did not provide one.[4]  That organization was the Kumstlerhaus, the co-operative Society of Artists, which was the leading one of its kind in Vienna.  During the last decade of the 19th Century, the visual arts in Vienna were dominated by two principal bodies: the Academy of Fine Arts and the other one was Kunstlerhaus.  The Kunstlerhaus was in a position to influence not only government policy with regards to arts, but also the formation of public taste, by means of its annual exhibitions.  Therefore, it was, like the Academy, predominantly conservative in orientation[5] reflecting the common ‘optimistic rationalism’ of the European thought.



However, modern art had to start somewhere. In Austria this starting-point is synonymous with Gustav Klimt.[6]  His pictures are as persistent as they are profound, captivating and powerful. Klimt is also the central figure of the Secession.  On 25 May 1987, nineteen artists around Gustav Klimt split off from the Kunstlerhaus.  They searched for new style and new way to express their subjective emotion through their artworks.  The ‘Mirror of the nature’ began to give way to a more subjective view of art as an expression of individual emotion or an evocation of momentary effect.  This tendency towards a more personal and idiosyncratic depiction of reality found expression, for example, in the works of the post-impressionists like Cezanne and other painters, notably Van Gogh and Kandinsky.  They distorted objects to project them in terms of their own subjective, emotional responses rather than as independent entities separable from personal experience.[7] Klimt, obviously, was deeply affected by this irrational process in creating his works such as the Beethoven Frieze in 1902, the Hope I & II in 1903-1908, the Three Ages of Woman in 1905 and the Danae in 1907.  Notably, all these artworks were finished before the WWI where a period that the recognition of the orthodox state of ‘irrationalism’ was taken place.[8]



Although the idea of ‘rationalism’, reflected through various kinds of art, was the mainstream of the European’s arts before 1914, Klimt of Vienna, like his many contemporaries, had already participated into the area of the sub-conscious, or irrational creation before the WWI.  His artworks foresaw the ‘irrationalism of the modern art, which finally became orthodox European thought after the two World Wars. In my opinion,  the secession movement in Vienna leading by Klimt, although experienced a dramatic triumph in the first few exhibitions, was gradually a failure.  The changing conditions had first been hinted at in the acerbic debate over Klimt’s university paintings, which were greeted by a chorus of disapproval from the academic establishment.  The matter became a political embarrassment even for a non-representative administration, and Klimt, sensing this, finally succeeded in repurchasing the three completed paintings in 1905 and withdrew into an increasingly private artistic world.[9]  However, through Klimt’s paintings, it was proved that he actually was a pioneer of the modern art without regarding the mega trend, ‘optimistic rationalism’, of the Continent.  Furthermore, he was also one of the real forerunners of the ‘European irrationalism’.  This artistic ‘irrational thought’ eventually not only influenced the aesthetic criteria of appreciating the art of Vienna or the entire Europe or the other parts of the world, but also became a social and political thinking that dominated the European, or even all the other nations, after the World Wars up to the present day.


David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-10-30 (published)





[1] Robert, Morgan, The Modern Age, pp 4-5.


[2] Robert, Morgan, The Modern Age, p6


[3] Peter, Vergo, Art in Vienna, 3rd ed., Phaidon Press Ltd., Singpore, 1993, p.11


[4] Whitford, Frank, Gustav Klimt, Collins & Brown, Hong Kong, 1993, p.43


[5] Peter, Vergo,  p.18.


[6] Iaroslave Boubnova, H. Christoph, R. Fleck, et al., Vienna Secession 1898-1998, Prestel, New York, p.9.


[7] Robert, Morgan, The Modern Age, p.4


[8] Robert, Morgan, The Modern Age, p.1


[9] Paul Banks, Fin-de-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Modernism, pp382-383.

2011年9月28日 星期三

The Triumph of Modernity in Vienna - Gustav Klimt and the Secession Movement

前言: 很久沒有寫一些有關 art and painting 的文章。現在特選了Klimt 這位現代畫家,去探討他的成就和他對十九世紀末 Vienna 的藝術現代化的過程和貢獻。他的名句: Modern Man Needs a Modern Face,實在是一針見血的將 modernization 的定義道破。為何藝術風格也要經歷現代化呢? 這篇文章會有解答。希望讀者喜歡這文章。



                                               The Music - Gustav Klimt




The Triumph of Modernity in Vienna – Gustav Klimt and the Secession Movement



The modernity in Vienna had to start somewhere and this starting-point is synonymous with Gustav Klimt.  His paintings are highly personal symbolized and are as persistent as they are profound, captivating and powerful.[1]  He was favored to employ square canvas and heighten the hieratic effect of gold backgrounds.  His Lavish application of gold leaf anticipated the style of collage.  Klimt also liked to use tiny flecks of color to create mosaic-like surfaces that reflecting the eclectic charm of the hieroglyphs from Egypt, spirals from Mycenae, and floral patterns from Ravenna.  Even more compelling are portraits of women, whose quizzical faces and sensual figures anticipated the image of the vamp made popular during 1920’s after his death.[2]  Therefore Klimt, undoubtedly, was the leading symbol of the modernity in Vienna.



Klimt, in addition, is the central figure of the Secession Movement, an Art Nouveau Movement in Vienna.  Just as the writer Hermann Bahr claimed about the artistic atmosphere in the last decade of Vienna, ‘ Nothing happens here, absolutely nothing.’  Bahr had for some time been pessimistic about the state of painting and sculpture throughout the Habsburg Empire and especially in Vienna.  He believed that the visual Arts in Vienna was too conservative, narrowly provincial and absence of originality and creativity.  Klimt and his contemporaries agreed with Bahr’s critics and they argued that the Viennese artists did not have the opportunity to expose their works to their foreign colleagues.  However, their worries were not unreasonable.  During the last decade of the 19th Century, two principal bodies dominated the visual arts in Vienna: The Academy of Fine Arts and the Kunstlerhaus.  The Kunstlerhaus was in a position to impose not only government policy with regards to arts, but also to influence the formation of public taste, by means of its annual exhibitions.  It was a young organization, founded in 1861, but no less conservative for that.  Although Kunstlerhaus organized exhibitions and sold the work of its members, protected and furthered their interests, its policy was rather narrow and provincial, always looking inwards rather than towards the broad horizon.[3]  It should possess the responsibility to expose the works of the Viennese artists to the world, just as Klimt and his friends always claimed.  Therefore, the revolt against traditional conservatism finally spread to art and architecture.  On 25 May 1987, nineteen artists around Gustav Klimt split off from the Kunstlerhaus.  They searched for new style and new way to express their subjective emotion through their artworks.  Over the portals of the Secession building, the base for the revolutionary movement, Secession proclaimed its aims: To the Age it’s Art, To the Art it’s Freedom.  But none knew what concrete meaning actually was.  It may be the cultural renewal or personal introspection, modern identity or asylum from modernity, truth or pleasure.  However, no matter what was the real meaning behind, the components in the Secession manifestoes suggested many contradictory possibilities compatible only in one sense: their common rejection of the nineteenth century’s conservatism in Vienna.[4]  The success of the modernity in Vienna seemed near.



Unfortunately, the road of modernity is not easy as the Secessionists thought.  Klimt began his ‘Philosophy’ during 1899 and when he decided to show it in a still-unfinished state at the Secession exhibition, the consequence was unexpected.  Painting his new vision and depicting his new allegorical conception to the University project, the ‘Philosophy’, he brought upon himself the wrath of old rationalists.  The controversy, even scandal, and the public reaction wounded him deeply and made him realize that carry out the kind of public commissions he had so successfully completed in previous date, for instance, in the new Burgtheater and Kunsthistorisches Museum, was compatible neither with artistic freedom in general nor his personal favorite.[5]  In the course of the ensuing struggle, painters, public, and even politicians vigorously debated the function of modern art in Vienna.  Confronting such crucial time in Klimt’s life did not scare him off in pursuing of the artistic freedom.  The battle of the modernity, by contrast, brought an end to his role as a mere subverter of the ancient way in his art and led him more strictly attached to the new mission as an artist of real modernity of Vienna and ultimately led to a new, abstract phase in his paintings.

The struggle of Klimt on the road of modernity in Vienna was not wasted.  The crisis over the University paintings led to the confrontation of both the modern and orthodox liberal parties of the University in hostile array and also brought forth the deep debate in the political context.  The debate between two cultures that Jodl, the opponent of Klimt, and Wickhoff, the defender of Klimt, represented –old ethics and new aesthetics – in the university raged on the podium and in the press, but it was in the political context that the issue could be finally decided.[6]  According to Dr. Ernest von Koerber, an able and imaginative official of the Government, the supporting of Klimt meant the supporting of the modernization of Vienna, either in the area of economics or in culture.  Whilhem Ritter von Hartal, the State assistance of the Ministry of Culture in Austria, undoubtedly gladly threw the weight of the State behind the modern movement of the city.  With Hartel’s assistance, the Secessionist Movements achieved the dramatic success.[7]  Modern artists won painting and architectural commissions and teaching posts.



Therefore, the gradual succession of the modern art in Vienna was the insistent effort of the central figure, Gustav Klimt, and the result of Secession Movement. The abstraction and symbolism portrayed in his works depicted the real modern face of the modern man.  Just as Tietze, one of Klimt’s friend, claimed in 1918 after Klimt’s death that “Klimt, German-Bohemian in origin, absorbed the Viennese spirit…. and at the turn of the century he more than anyone else guaranteed the artistic individuality of Vienna.”[8]  The modernity of art in Vienna, undoubtedly, under the valuable contribution of Klimt was then completed.






[1] Boubnova, Iaroslave, et al., Vienna Secession 1898-1998, Prestel: New York, 1976, p.9.


[2] Willam, M. Johnston, The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History 1848-1938, University of California Press: Los Angeles, 1972, p.144.


[3] Frank, Whitford, Klimt, Thames and Hudson: Singapore, 1990, p.67.


[4] Carl, E.Schorske, Fin-De-Siecle Vienna: Politics and Culture, Vintage Books: New York, 1981, pp217-219.


[5] Frank, P.67.


[6] Carl, pp235-236.


[7] Carl, p238.


[8] Frank, pp.144-145.


David Leung (theorydavid)
2011-09-27 (published)

2011年9月20日 星期二

The Humor of Beethoven Piano Sonata op 14 no 2 in G Major

前言: 當我們常說Haydn的性格充滿幽默,反影在他的音樂裡時,可曾想過,脾氣火爆的貝多芬,在為音樂時也常常偷借前人,有時是 Mozart,有時是 Haydn 的寫作風格。所以,貝先生的作品,有時都幾幽默。讓我們看看一例。


正文:

The opening of the sonata op. 14 no. 2 in G major always obsesses listeners for four measures are mistakenly inserted in a wrong place. This illusion largely lies in the use of a series of synopated motive, chopping the metrical accent of the time. The  right set of such witty effect by the melodic figure falling on the structural on-beat is attained in measure 5.

Any attempt by the performer to clear the matter up immediately by accentuating the first beats in the first four measures would be misguided. It would not only spoil Beethoven's jest, it would also ruin his intentionaly designed coda. Indeed Beethoven sets the witty rhythmic pattern of the main motive right straight in this cautious, yet elabortive, concluding passage to expressive.

Listeners are not only no longer puzzled by the beat, but also the expansive possibilities inherent in the motive. The original joke is in the style of Haydn, but the cantibile coda is of Beethoven's own. But one would see as if Beethoven is indebted to Mozart for the practice of using the coda to set right the previous eccentricities of the materials.

The first movment has a development section surprisingly long and elaborate for so modest a work, as long as the exposition. It also includes a Haydnean habit of false recapitulation which fools no one since it is in E Flat Major. The cadential theme of the exposition, marked 'dolce', has a memorably popular character and is supported by an intensely expressive bass line.


The Andante slow movement is a set of variations in an ostentatiously simple style that recalls many of the modest sets by Mozart. The ending is a joke in Haydnean style. It consists of a sudden crash of ff after pp chords with rests. This chicanery is seen in Haydn's sonata in G major Hob. XVI/40, where soft staccato single notes are interrupted, forte, by a brusque arpeggiated seven-note chord. Perhaps, Haydn's humor was so down to the earth on his day that Beethoven could easily adapt to mock the courty dilettantes silently.


The finale, a Scherzo marked 'Allegro assai', also opens by fooling the listeners as to the place of the mearure line. It is in pastoral, even rustic style, with drone bagpipe effects. Stylistically it is akin to some of the more humorous bagtelles that Beethvoen wrote both early and late in life.


Completed

David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-09-20 (published)

2011年9月17日 星期六

21st Century Ideas and Institution -- 論廿一紀的思想與制度

前言: 二十一世紀已經開始了,可是,人類的前途如何呢? 我們有很多尖端的科技,但人類如何才能借助他們的發明去造福人類本身。且看看以下十年前寫的一篇短文章。

正文:


21st Century Ideas and Institution



Undoubtedly, we are benefiting from the achievements of Western reason in the form of science and natural human rights. In our days, we are having basic freedom to vote, to choose religion, to live in a particular way. Also, we are appreciating in using the computers, the planes, and the electronic appliances. Actually, these are the products of the Western civilization. From Renaissance up to present, ideas and institutions of the freedom to think, to reason emerges as the exemplary civilization to the whole world. However, it is undeniable to assert that on one hand, we are now enjoying the prosperity and abundance from the improvement in material conditions and advanced technology, and at least, in most of the places of the world, we are having certain human freedoms that purse us the happiness that are came from the contribution of the freedom of thinking, but on the other hand, the domestic problems, social problems and political problems are still making our life more and more difficult. Wars and nations’ slaughter, racial discrimination, political unstable, social inequality, pollutions, crimes and conflicts between religions and different races are breaking the harmony and peace of the world, as well as the society. Therefore, we are benefiting from the achievements of Western reason in the forms of freedom and scientific technology, but at the same time, we are suffering from them.



In order to find out the effective solution to the problems of the mankind, it is very important to examine how the institutions and ideas that provide for freedom and advancement in material conditions came about and understand the nature and the limit of this ‘freedom’.



We can retrace to the Renaissance period, also called the Age of reason, in the Western history in which the formation of the idea of freedom reasoning first evoked and continued to shape the modern concepts of freedom in nowadays.



In the period of Renaissance, human became a valuable object again. Francis Bacon, 1561-1626, claimed a new way of thinking. This was the first step to let the mankind using his freedom of reasoning to recognize the world. He insisted on the inductive method and knowledge was gained from observation of what could be seen. Men then could learn from what they experienced, not only what they were told, especially by the Church as in the Middle Age.



Rene Descartes (1596-1650), on the other hand, advanced the principle of deductive method in his Discourse on Method. The trade mark, ‘I think, therefore I exist’, became the beginning of the unlimited freedom of reasoning in a rational world of mankind.



The unlimited thinking privilege not only contributed to the academic disciplines and institutions, but also brought a great impact on the scientific and political field.



The freedom of thinking made the chance for Hobbes to claim that absolute monarchy was essential to the people because human nature was not good. But on the other hand, John Locke preached a constitutional government, a government that was based on the consent of the governed. His two treatises of Government provided the basis for American revolutionary thinking a century later. He also claimed that human understanding was the result of the environment on the mind. Men and women were not limited by circumstances of their births, as proclaimed by Plato and Descartes. The mind could know anything and be taught to go in any direction by the environment, education, and experience. The day for the people to claim for their political, social and individual freedom was near.



In the scientific field, freedom of reasoning assisted Newton to discovery the laws of the physical world and this had shown the infinite capacity of the human mind, given it the key to the mastery of nature, and opened the possibility of solving social problems and creating a much better world.



Not more than a century’s time, from these basic assumptions Rousseau had come to the conclusion that all existing institutions under absolute monarchy of the ancient regime were against the laws of nature, hence should be removed. Montesquieu’s idea of separation of powers in government, and Thomas Jefferson’s American Declaration of Independence which announced the natural rights of people to choose their own government to maintain their life, the liberty and the happiness that brought to the western world were two important revolutions, the French revolution and the American Independent revolution. The first constitutional government was then born. The power of freedom of thinking, again, showed its influential power.



The effect of the Enlightenment intellectuals was obvious. In the 19th century, and idea of Romanticism arouse. Romanticism sought to preserve the freedom and dignity of the individual that the Reformation and the Enlightenment had started, the former on religious and the latter o scientific grounds. During the 2nd half of the 19th century, faith in the power of natural science spread to many people. Science was at the bottom of the entire movement of industrialization. Science was touching each individual life. There was the railroad, followed by the steamship, the telegraph, and the telephone. In medicine there was anaesthesia, and X-ray. Chemistry was giving such benefits as fertilizer, enabling and ensuring harvests. All these underlying changes were based on those of Newton’s ideas. The law of gravitation was not changed. The ultimate nature of the universe was thought to be regular orderly, predictable and harmonious. It was timeless, in the sense that unlike human development, the universe did not changed.



However, in the late 19th century, the unlimited reasoning rights, which formerly were the benefits, but brought a new hazard to the humankind. Darwin’s theory of evolution, although has no direct attack on Church, it denied the creation of God probably. Social Darwinism came into being as social scientists began to translate his idea of the survival to the fittest into the area of human behavior. This promoted the new imperialism in the worldwide, and the hierarchic conflict in the politics. Another example of abuse of freedom in thinking could be found in the ideas of Herder and Nietzche. The former proclaimed the racial superiority of the German nations and broke down the sense of human similarity which had been the characteristic of the Age of Enlightenment, as revealed in French and American doctrines of the ‘rights of man’, and again in the codes of Napoleon while the latter announced that the God had died and thus, demolished the modern order of politics and moral, abolished the issue of Jefferson and his colleagues that the political rights were the gift of God. All political, religious, moral restraints were removed in order to achieve the so-called ‘freedom’. This was the crisis of the whole human civilization.



Nowadays, the effect of the unrestraint freedom of the ideas and thinking are devastating. Confronting the mankind are the ceaselessly ethnic conflict and disunity. Movements, reformations and revolutions occur elsewhere. The consequences of the victory of the freedom of reason are enormously horrible. If all the religious and traditional moral values are removed, the freedom becomes unlimited and uncontrollable. Before the human’s self destruction occurs, it is the time for us to revalue the virtue of the traditional values. To the Chinese people, the Confucian ideas of love, and the five relationships lead us to a more harmonious and peaceful society. To the Western people, the charitable Christianity should be revalued. These are the real, valuable roots of the civilization of mankind. Only through these positive re-examinations, we can recognize the true nature of freedom, that is, it is relative, not absolute. It should be restrained. Then, human can fully benefit from the achievements of freedom in form of science and liberty, forever.


David Leung (theorydavid)

2011-09-17 (published)