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Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

 

THE BUSINESS OF MUSIC

Reflections of a Music Publisher

by ERNST ROTH

Part One - MUSIC AND MONEY

L'amour des lettres est incompatible avec l'esprit des affaires. - Beaumarchais

 

AUTHOR'S NOTE

The titles of musical works always raise certain problems in translation and the reader may forgive apparent inconsistencies. Broadly speaking, I have tried to follow conventional English usage. No one would think of translating Rosenkavalier or Cosi fan tutte. Die Walkure is more widely used than The Valkyries. And to refer to The Bartered Bride by its original Czech title would be pure musical snobbery. On the other hand we have Stravinsky's own authority for substituting The Rite of Spring for his original Le Sacre du printemps. Zauberflöte or Magic Flute7 Elisir d'amore or Elixir of Love ? It is a matter of taste which I can safely leave to the individual reader.

 

PREFACE

Why not write your memoirs?' I have often been asked. Memoirs are the fashion nowadays. In these eventful times, almost anybody who can remember anything of interest writes his or her memoirs. However, while it is true that I have spent a lifetime in contact with the most significant music and the most prominent musicians of this century-which has been, in music as in life generally, a time of tremendous change-I am still not presumptuous enough to write memoirs in the proper sense of the word.

This, I believe, should be left to those who have changed the course of history, who have spurred this world out of its lazy trot and achieved greatness: generals like Julius Caesar, statesmen like Sir Winston Churchill. I have done nothing of the kind. I am just one of the innumerable victims of the deeds and misdeeds of others, or of those mysterious high powers or low instincts which, during my lifetime, have ridden roughshod over all reason and morality and are readily blamed for everything that has happened. Victims do not write memoirs-their lives are not, and should not be, memorable.

Moreover, memoirs necessarily make their writer a central figure and that I have never been. I have served music in my own modest way, and during the last half-century music has not been an easy mistress. Indeed, I may even have lacked the blind devotion expected of a faithful servant, for I cannot pretend that I have regarded music as the most important manifestation of the human genius. Heinrich Heine, who has-involuntarily supplied many poems to composers but who was also a great prose writer and a shrewd observer, once wrote that good people were usually bad musicians and good musicians usually bad people, and that goodness, not music, was the more important thing in life. Without sharing Heine's cynicism I must concede that his words testify to a deep insight. In the last fifty years there certainly has been more music than goodness in the world, and that is something which should be regretted by even the most ardent admirers of the art. The best music and the most vigorous musical life can offer no compensation for the absence of goodness.

However, music has assumed an unexpected importance. Our whole existence is, so to speak, cocooned in music, from the universal din of present-day 'pop', to the lonely isolation of the most complicated sound-structures. Academics and historians, philosophers and critics and even practical musicians are busy surrounding it with an ever-growing literature, to which only one group of those closely concerned with the destinies of the art has contributed little: my own-the music-publishers.

It may be doubted whether in fact the contribution of a publisher can be at all valuable. He speaks as an interested party, so his views may be suspect. Indeed, he finds himself in a special position, different from that of any other character on the great stage of modern music. As an intermediary between art and life, between artist and public, he has to consider both the spiritual and the material existences of the art. By viewing them without prejudice he may acquire a qualification which both the pure idealist and the pure materialist lack. This, then, is the theme of this book: music between heaven and earth; between inspiration and remuneration.

In these days the heaven of music is clouded by heavy problems, which cast their shadows into every corner of its earthly existence. It is my very profession which has taught me to meet them with calm and moderation. I cannot count myselfamong those who unconditionally admire or condemn the past or the present. It is by no means proved that the old times were always good, nor that the new times are necessarily better. I believe in Daniel Defoe's 'Great Law of Subordination', because it is the fundamental law of all order. I have a profound respect for everything that grows by necessity, even though a melancholy thought turns to the past and to my own irretrievable youth. But I must leave it to the more courageous-or less experienced-to predict the future.

 

1. THE GREAT CHANGE

Everywhere there's music.' So runs an American hit song-as if, through music, mankind had at long last recaptured its lost paradise. Indeed, music is everywhere: that is both its glory and its misery in these glorious and miserable times. Music appears en grande tenue and is regally received; music squeezes itself into everyday life where it cannot so much as make itself heard. This makes it at once the most sublime and the commonest among the arts. We are dealing with every type of music here-with the serious or 'highbrow' as well as with the light or 'popular' variety. Being of the same parentage, they each have their place in a general discussion of music, even if occasionally they regard each other with profound disdain. Together they comprise our musical life; together they supplement and, at times, replace the anonymous noise which envelops our whole existence.

The external changes which have brought about this musical explosion are familiar to everybody from personal experience: to music's detractors, who can no longer escape from it, and to its devotees, who welcome the new, easy access to an art that once relied upon its exclusiveness. Music can now be reproduced mechanically, and thereby preserved; it can be broadcast by radio and television, and thereby transported. These two developments have broken down the doors of the sanctuary, previously opened only to the priests and the initiated, like the doors of Sarastro's Temple of Wisdom. Fifty years ago one had to devote oneself to music in order to enjoy its company: one had to go to concerts and to the opera-house and, most important of all, one had to make music oneself, which required years of practice and effort.

This is no longer so. One can have music without effort. It is a terrible thought that never again will music require any exertion, except from a few professionals, composers and performers; that this handful of men and women will be able to supply the whole world with all the music that is needed. Now it has become preservable and transportable, music, particularly since the Second World War, has embarked on a truly ambitious career. It is on tap in every home, like gas, water and electricity. There is no corner where it cannot penetrate. This once delicate art has become stupendously obtrusive. One need only press a button for music to come running with mechanical servility. Workmen in factories cannot work without a loudspeaker droning out tune after tune (the BBC programme 'Music While You Work' used to reject tunes for being 'too good', liable to distract the men and women at their benches); people in bars and restaurants cannot drink or eat unless some secret device whispers music into their ears; housewives cannot cook or iron without the radio playing; in cars, coaches and planes music mixes chaotically with the noise of engines; on beaches, in fields and woods, boys and girls carry it in their transistors, like sandwiches.

Infinitely grotesque, we would all agree; indeed, we would insist that music is an art and, like any other art, mysterious. But mystery is out of fashion. We have, perhaps without realizing the deeper significance of the change, become accustomed to the most fantastic things, and can talk glibly about flying to the moon and beyond. Such a generation as ours does not easily accept a mystery, and so has lost the precious gift of wondering. When I was at school I used to think that the generation of Verdi had seen the most astonishing changes in everyday life. When Verdi was born, the few people who travelled at all did so by mail-coach at the speed at which Julius Caesar had travelled to Gaul nearly two thousand years earlier. When Verdi died, express trains were thundering along the permanent way at forty miles an hour, steamships crossing the oceans, telephones ringing in the offices of the more enterprising businessmen and postmen delivering telegrams. I thought it must have been wonderful to live while all this was still new and exciting.

Others thought so too. When, in 1843, the railways from Paris to Rouen and Orleans were inaugurated-and the Flying Dutchman first performed-that same Heinrich Heine (from whom, by the way, Richard Wagner had learnt the story of the Dutchman) wrote about 'the awe that possesses the thinking mind at the sight of such monstrous happenings', of the 'strong temptation of the unknown', of the 'new delights and new horrors awaiting us' and of the change such a 'providential' event would bring about. 'Our generation,' he concludes with slightly uneasy confidence, 'can be proud to have witnessed it.'

Today all this sounds rather naive. Not Verdi's but my own hapless generation has lived through the most fundamental changes of all. Nothing since the very beginning of human history can compare with the advances of the last fifty years: with space flights, electronic microscopes and computers, antibiotics and deep-frozen foods. It is useless to speculate whether all this progress has been as salutary for the mind as it has for the body. There are some who would insist that man would be happier if he had never learnt to read and write, because it is there that the deliberate, calculated evil begins. But, though it all had to come, and we are justified in calling it a blessing, we have barely reached the fringe of the new era, of a new satisfaction and a new spiritual security, and are still left with the secret fear that one day frivolous curiosity may press a button arld blast to dust this whole planet, and with it everything that thinks.

Compared with all such fateful changes, events in music are of almost total irrelevance. Indeed, how relevant are the arts in a world which has been divesting itself one by one of all its mysteries? Modern man has acquired a superstitious confidence in everything material. One can feel it oneself, when one is shot into the air in a jet plane at six hundred miles per hour and forgets that any one of thousands of screws and bolts may work loose and destroy the aircraft and everybody in it. There is much less confidence in the dreaming mind, in thought and inspiration for their own sakes in the arts. From all the fantastic achievements of recent decades, one problem has arisen which was unknown to previous generations: the problem of leisure. Progress provides the working man in five days or less with everything material he needs in seven. What to do with those two or more days of leisure? Who could have thought that this might ever constitute a social and moral problem ? One would think that today there is more to read, more to think, more to experience, than ever before; that the ceaseless spread of education ought to produce a multiplicity of interests which even our successfully prolonged lifespans with all their spare time could not satisfy. And yet man seems to have lost the taste for his own company. One summer's day on an Italian lake, when rain and thunderstorms kept us in the hotel lounge, I had a conversation with an American lady which was characteristic of the general mood. 'Do you play bridge?' she asked me. 'No,' I said, 'I don't seem to have time for it.' 'Do you play golf?' 'No,' I replied regret fully, 'this, too, requires more time than I have.' 'Do you paint?' she persisted. 'Unfortunately, I have no talent for painting.' She looked at me with concern. 'You'd better be careful or you'll become an introvert.' So an introvert is apparently a sick man.

New educators, new ideals, are needed if we are to prevent waste of leisure-time and consequent boredom. Can the answer be in the arts, and especially in music, which has the power to soothe the restlessness of our times as nothing else has. This I believe, was the subconscious attitude which paved the way for the great change which was to overcome music.

It took some considerable time to produce practical results. Edisn built his first sound-reproducing apparatus as early as 1878 when Brahms was busy writing his second symphony-but nobody thought then of applying the new invention to music. I had - as many middle-class families had - an uncle who was fascinated by the small technical novelties which grew like mushrooms during the first years of this century. He had the first telephone in the family, the first typewriter, the first fountain-pen and also the first 'phonograph'.

I well remember the first performance of that unwieldy gtnt lily in our family circle. It played no music, but gave us 'A scene at the Dentist's'. 'Gargle, young man,' said a hoarse voice, and the young man responded with a similarly hoarse gargle, and we all choked with laughter. That must have been about the year 1906 and it was certainly a critical time for Edison's invention because only a few years later I heard from the same machine the current coloratura star of the Vienna Court Opera, Elisa Elizz singing the great aria from Carl Goldmark's opera The Queen of Sheba, somewhat hoarse and unsteady but quite distinct, and all the fun of the first encounter had gone. There the fatal marriage of music and mechanics was solemnized. This was a very different matter from the perforated rolls, the pianolas, the musical clocks or Count Deym's 'curiosity cabinet' with its mechanical contraptions for which Mozart had written some disproportionately good pieces. Only now did 'mechanical' music become a reality, and its preservation a possibility.

But for a World War, the development of broadcasting might have taken as long again. The first morse signal went out on 12, December 1901 from Cornwall to Newfoundland, but by 1914 there was still no broadcasting of music. It is sometimes sald that wars are the best stimulant for the inventive mind. This is certainly untrue. But by devaluing both money and human life they remove the most formidable traditional obstacles to progress. It was only when the First World War was over that broadcasting suddenly established itself in the midst of life-of musical life - for the broadcasting of music was one of the most attractive uses of the new medium.

It is of little value to ponder over the chronology of events. In the early twentieth century the time was not quite ripe, the deeper roots of the change were still not established. But there was a half understood coincidence of temptation and desire, or, more crudely, of supply and demand, which pointed to a growing void that had to be filled and could best be filled with music; a presentiment of an incalculable benefit to be derived from music, as indefinable and potent as the lullaby with which a mother sings her child to sleep.

Under the increasing pressure of demand the gramophone put aside its youthful frivolity and became respectable; as did broadcasting, which abandoned such exciting absurdities as transmitting a string quartet with the first violin playing in Vienna, the second in Berlin, the viola in Paris and the violoncello in London. Could anyone believe that the new means of preserving and transporting music were more than mere adjuncts to an art, like the discovery of oil painting or the invention of the steel pen. No inner voice warned either scientists or musicians that the change might affect the whole existence of music.

Then came the 'talkies', and almost overnight an army of musicians found itself unemployed. There was some talk of a social-not a musical-crisis. It was certainly a step forward to synchronize music and picture properly and do away with improvised noises in the cinema. But if the optimists were predicting the birth of a new art, they were to be sorely disappointed. With the millstone of popularity round its neck the sound film could not rise to higher things. There were those who asked quite seriously whether it would not be possible to 'draw' on the sound-track human voices of a perfection such as nature itself could not produce. But sound 'inventors' were already busy synthesizing sounds from another source, the only human element of which was the creative brain.

So the scene was set, and it required no more than another world war to bring it all to perfection: the long-playing record, television, sound broadcasting, magnetic taperecorder-an illustrious assembly which gave music an entirely new role in life.

 

The other arts, for the most part, have not benefited-or suffered-from technical progress. Books are more quickly printed, paintings better reproduced, than before, but books must still be read and paintings bought and looked at. There is no easier, more comfortable substitute for the enjoyment of literature or the visual arts. Only architecture seems to have been affected by the new technical possibilities and extra-artistic requirements. The design of public and private buildings is governed by their practical purpose, which they fulfil beyond the dreams of any previous generation. But all these light, hygienic blocks of steel and glass will be demolished without a thought as soon as they no longer satisfy more sophisticated demands. It is inconceivable that they should be preserved, like the Baptistry in Florence, which painfully obstructs the traf@ic of a modern city, let alone that their remains could be revered like those of the temples of Paestum.

I cannot help thinking of future archaeologists digging a thousand years hence for traces of our time and finding nothing worth collecting. Perhaps a modern bathroom or lavatory may survive to be displayed in a museo lapidario. Then people may take off their hats and say that, though we obviously had little art, we clearly enjoyed considerable comfort. But when the new architect is confronted with a task that has no practical purpose to serve he is clearly embarrassed. New churches, particularly large new churches, are half arenas, half assembly-halls or railway stations, their spiritual function curiously obscured. Between this new, purposeful architecture and the mystery that is religion there is an incongruity which the use of expensive materials alone cannot mitigate. Is the inspiration lacking which once raised eternal monuments to the gods amidst the humble dwellings of mortals?

Where this new architecture meets music the conlqict between art and practical purpose is no less painfully manifest. The builders of new opera-houses and concert-halls are obsessed with acoustics. Strange shells and half-moons are being constructed, the walls clad with wooden panelling full of unbecoming holes; ugly trapezes are suspended from equally ugly ceilings, and every corner and cranny is carefully planned so that the softest, highest and lowest sounds shall reach the listener wherever in the hall he may be. How unconcerned must have been the architects who in former times festooned concert-halls with stucco ornaments and caryatids, putti and mighty chandeliers of Venetian glass!

'How were the acoustics in the old house?' Aaron Copland asked me during the opening ceremony of the new National Theatre in Munich, which, like the Scala in Milan, had risen from the rubble in all its old splendour of white and blue and red and gold. I had to admit that I could not remember. Acoustics were never discussed in the old days. It was taken for granted that in every opera-house and concert-hall there would be certain seats where one could neither hear nor see. But a great controversy arose around the Munich reconstruction; it was said and written that this noble palace with its classical facade was out of step with the times. Like all old theatres, it aimed at transporting the audience into an unreal, fantastic world of illusion and imagination, the world where music dwelt. But the instant music of today has lost much of its magic and is quite at ease in surroundings which give no hint of anything mysterious or unusual and replace illusion with technical perfection. There is some virtue in this change. But in spirit it is not very different from the uneasy churches of the new architecture. Should this be called a 'style' at all, or is it rather a mood?

 

 

Today, technical progress no longer stops deferentially on the threshold of an art-at the modern concert-halls and operahouses but boldly invades the inner sanctum, mechanizing and transporting the acoustic phenomenon that is music itself. One might compare this intrusion with the effect printing has had on literature and learning. Indeed, printing has done little for music; the printed copy remains what the manuscript copy was: a guide or direction for the performance. It was the preservation and transportation of the performance itself that brought to music the blessings literature and learning have received from Gutenberg's invention: the limitless expansion, the commonness.

In this way music has become a comfortable art. One might think that art and comfort are quite incompatible, but the craving for luxury is a powerful motive force in the human brain. The whole of civilization, from the wheel to the washing-machine, could be called an accumulation of comforts. It has been a spur to invention, a stimulant to the mind. There were, however, times when men themselves were aware and afraid of the dangers involved. The anchorites of early Christian days were in revolt against comfort and the evils of its attendant luxury, and even today a man sails a little boat single-handed round the world, a senseless undertaking were it not to prove that, even in these fantastically comfortable times, a man is capable of enduring and surviving great discomfort.

At bottom, the quest for comfort is a personal struggle with the devil, of which former generations had a livelier notion than we. The traveller in Italy will often wonder at the many churches built on solitary hilltops, to the enhancement of the landscape but the considerable inconvenience of worshippers. Do men, women and children in their Sunday best still climb the steep, dusty paths? One has to go far to find that exalted spirit which keeps the sacred distinct from the profane and accepts discomfort with equanimity, even joy. Once in the heart of Sicily we were passing just such a lonely sanctuary when, in the heat of the morning, a wedding procession came up the stony track from the valley-the priest with his acolyte at the head, bride and bridegroom, families and friends following, all in solemn black, wearing their rough mountain boots and carrying their better shoes wrapped in newspaper under their arms. Before entering the church they sat down in the shade, laughing and chatting, and a bottle of wine was passed round.

But such cheerful disregard of comfort is becoming rare, and where modern amenities cannot be procured in all their profusion a new generation refuses to put up with hardships which its elders accepted as a matter of course. Thus the Scottish highlands and islands and some Alpine valleys, all inhabited from time immemorial, are being deserted. In our day the old hankering has developed into a real obsession, so that every new achievement creates new needs. Compared with our grandfathers we are living in a wonderland of refrigerators, man-made fibres, antibiotics, air travel and hundreds of things which their most eccentric fancies could not have imagined.

Right up to the First World War men still had a deep, instinctive respect for the grandeur of nature. When the railway was built through the Schollenen Gorge on the St Gotthard Pass in Switzerland it was carefully hidden in tunnels and galleries, and the engineers prided themselves on not having disturbed the romantic natural wilderness. But the new road, built a few years ago, is no place for those who like to stand and stare. Modern man is in a hurry; he cannot pause and be alone with the thundering waters and the towering rocks. The ancient 'Devil's Bridge' now stands forlorn and useless in a bend of the new road, a melancholy monument to long-lost innocence.

Even the memory of the old, uncomfortable, romantic days was treasured. I always enjoyed passing, on the way from le Bourget to Paris, the old 'Auberge aux quatre routes' with the beautifully embellished invitation: Ici on loge a pied et d cheval. But a few years ago the house was modernized, and the inscription-in modern characters-now reads, somewhat irrelevantly: Ici on logeait ....

But I do not intend to be merely a tiresome eulogist of the past: if what is happening all round us is sad for some, it is welcome to many and therefore inevitable. But it is certainly too much when the craving for comfort takes charge of an art. The arts, one might think, should be like religions, mysterious and powerful forces, not to be approached in the same spirit as objects of everyday experience. The solitary churches on mountain-tops may be crumbling, nature may be harnessed to serve necessity rather than oldfashioned pleasures, but something intangible still prevents religion from becoming too comfortable-in spite of televised services and loudspeakers in St Peter's Square. Although it might be technically possible, nobody would seriously contemplate the construction of a mechanical or electronic device for the administration of the sacraments. Religion can be abandoned altogether, but while and where it is observed it demands sacrifice, sacrifice of time, money, comfort. Why, then, could music not resist ? Surely it, too, springs from the unfathomed depths of the creative mind, to kindle the re-creative powers of those who love and believe in it? Yet when the time was ripe the need for comfort easily overcame the respect which had previously guarded the threshold of the art. Now you can buy a machine-a record-player, a radio or television set, a tape-recorder, all of which are much cheaper than a musical instrument and the tuition necessary to play it-and all you have to do is operate your machine. 'Operate' is an ominous word in connection with music or any ather art or, indeed, religion. Instruments must be 'mastered', but the new devices of mechanical reproduction or transportation have only to be 'operated'. In the hierarchy of music-making, the virtuoso of yesterday is the buttonpusher of today. Nothing expresses the change more dramatically. Music which is summoned by turning a knob is as far away from the living sound as presened fruit is from the tree upon which it grew. The operator can make the music from the machine louder or softer, but he cannot change its speed or expression; he is the passive listener to a 'canned' performance which has no regard for him or his mood. Is this still the breath of the divine?

There is another motive, too, which has helped to mechanize and transport music and so make it ubiquitous, a motive which may have a higher ethical justification than the desire for comfort: the urge for better, quicker communication. If civilization is the product of our search for comfort, the urge for communication has perhaps been the source of all culture. In this field the human race has outstripped the whole animal kingdom, for we have gone beyond the communication of essential messages, which in one way or other is given to all creatures: it is the communication of the unnecessary which distinguishes us from animals. From the first rudiments of language to the communications satellite great efforts have been made and great things achieved in order that men may understand and misunderstand each other. It is remarkable that, the more perfect the means of communication become, the more frequently do large-scale misunderstandings occur.

From Marconi's morse signal communications have developed to a stage of fantastic range and velocity, which is most beneficial for the spread of political, scientific or quite irrelevant news. Music, one would think, falls into the last category, and neither requires nor justifies such speed and range. Indeed, for thousands of years it was perfectly content with the now discredited speed of sound, which is no longer good enough even for commercial travellers. One reads with some slight confusion the names of all the physicists who have, step by step, invented all the little gadgets which are now in daily use in almost every home. Which benefactor or spoiler of mankind has connected them with music so closely that they have become indispensable ? I do not know whether the name of the man is even known who first dispatched music into the ether, aimlessly and without any specific destination, to be caught by anybody who had the proper apparatus and knew how to operate it. But I cannot help thinking that there must have been in this act considerable disrespect for the art, or at any rate much less respect for the art than for the invention. Musicians, such as Richard Strauss, who had grown up with the old reverence for music could never overcome their aversion to its new, comfortable image.

 

 

When the great change began in the 1920s and the number of radio listeners and record-buyers grew beyond all expectations, pessimists predicted that all 'live' music would come to a standstill, that concert-halls and opera-houses had outlived their usefulness and music would henceforth be produced in studios only. This has not happened. To be sure, the army of amateur musicians has been decimated, and we shall have to consider the consequences of that later. But around music there has sprung up an industry on a scale that has never been known before. There are more live concerts and a larger public everywhere, and, if attendances in opera-houses have not increased, they have certainly not fallen away.

This is a strange contradiction. Why do people still expend trouble and money on something they can have more cheaply and more comfortably in their homes? Is this perhaps the sign of a revolt against the encroachment of technology? There will be some who say that the whole purpose of the wide and easy availability of music was to awaken the interest of a new and larger public and to arouse the desire for closer acquaintance. But it is difficult to accept that any comfort is designed to stimulate a longing for discomfort. Once the railways were running, the mail-coach was discarded; now that aeroplanes are flying, ships and railways are the poor relations of travel. The intention of the inventors of broadcasting and record-manufacture could scarcely have been to encourage the old forms of music-making and listening.

Music, however, is a very special art. Literature and the visual arts, as objects of admiration or understanding, remain as it were outside the reader or observer, like the sun or the moon or a landscape which one knows and loves without being able to make it one's own. Music, on the other hand, not only allows but demands re-creation, appropriation. Only in its re-creation does music fulfil its mission entirely. The piece of music which I play myself is 'mine' in a fundamentally different sense from the picture which hangs on my wall or the poem which I know by heart, because I participate in the musical work which I re-create. I do not participate in either the picture or the poem. While the picture and-in a somewhat less material sense-the poem are the works the printed or manuscript sheet of music is no more than a guide or recipe for the re-creation of a work which has no real existence otherwise.

This re-creation need not necessarily be a full-scale performance. It takes place when I recall a work in my mind or whistle a tune. It could be argued, perhaps, that the process is not so very different from reciting a poem. But the poem is an 'original', beyond any possibility of change. In music such an unalterable original does not exist. I shall deal later with the specific problems which arise from this fact: with the question of interpretation and faithfulness to the musical 'text'; of the personality of the re-creator, which unavoidably colours his performance but is only in the rarest of cases the same as that of the original creator. The possibility, or indeed necessity, of re-creation marks the essential difference between music and the other arts. The visual arts absolutely defy any attempt at it. The copyist of a painting or a sculpture creates a work of infinitely lower value than the unique original. In literature dramatic works alone leave something to the actor which vaguely compares with the performance of music, but everybody knows from personal experience that a play can be read to much greater advantage than music and does not necessarily require performance on the stage.

It follows that the mere listener, whatever pleasure he may derive from listening, is at a disadvantage. Figuratively speaking, he remains on the threshold and never enters the inner sanctum of the work that is performed for him. True, as long as it is performed 'for him', in a live performance and in his presence, a spark of recreation still flashes from performer to listener, and the physical presence of the re-creator draws the listener nearer to the work. But with the new means of transporting or preserving the acoustic phenomenon that is music the re-creator is not physically present; the work is performed not for one particular listener but for an anonymous multitude. This sets a barrier of distance between the listener and the work which must harm the most precious property of music: the personal, individual appeal. Music concerns us not collectively but in a very personal sense, as if it were created for each one of us individually. It is a strange fact that the technical advances which have so successfully shortened distances in practical matters have achieved the opposite effect with an art that does not conform to practical standards. And with this growing distance between listener and work the true meaning-or, if I may be forgiven the unfashionable word, the soul-of the work tends to become separated from the physical phenomenon of the sound.

This may even, paradoxically, be the reason why the new methods of providing music comfortably and in unlimited quantities at any time and any place have fostered what, logically, they should have destroyed: the desire for live music. Wilhelm Furtwangler's version of Beethoven's 'Eroica' with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, in the impeccable HMV recording, cannot be bettered today by any conductor or orchestra. But owners of the recording will still flock to performances by lesser conductors and lesser orchestras. For who wants to see the 'Eroica' become petrified, even in the most perfect rendering? Thus it seems that all the buyers of records, all the listeners to broadcasting, are seeking the live contact with greater zeal than in the days when music had no mechanical existence. To ascribe this to the fact that easy access and omnipresence have roused the interest of a multitude which previously had no contact with music is an oversimplification. This could explain the sales of records and the number of radio licences, but not the popularity of live concerts.

One day an even more remarkable thing will happen. The manufacturer of the Furtwangler recording will delete it from the catalogues and it will no longer be available. New interpreters will come and go, and the moment will have arrived when preservation fails.

One has to penetrate to the very centre of the art in order to capture the divine spark which technical progress may have overlaid but has not destroyed; for if the divine element had been destroyed we would have no music any more. Finality is the essence of the other arts, but living change is the miracle of music, from the commonest pop-song to the most sublime manifestation of creative genius. This is something that science cannot alter.

However, it would be vain to pretend that advances which have so greatly extended access to the periphery of music have not also seriously restricted entry to the inner sanctuary. The comfort with which an abundance of music can be procured-European broadcasting organizations alone are producing three hundred hours of music per day, or a hundred thousand hours per year-has divided the musical world more sharply than ever before, into a relatively small group of highly professional performers on the one hand and on the other a vast number of passive listeners, whose relationship with the art is quite different from that of a musician who, however imperfectly, performs or re-creates music himself. Music has always been a tonic or a palliative. Present-day mass consumption has greatly emphasized these qualities, which might be called extra-musical. It is indeed difficult to believe that the current prodigious demand springs from a purely artistic need. In a wide sector of its new existence music exercises this precise side-effect-to stimulate or to soothe. Any fear that it may be brought into irrevocable disrepute by its new masters would be exaggerated, but it may equally be over-optimistic to believe that ubiquity and quantity are necessarily signs of maturity, and that the musical art has become an element of our existence, more closely connected with our everyday life than, say, were the visual arts in Periclean Athens or Medician Florence. The ever-growing din of the modern world and the nenous tension it produces have played a large part in promoting mass-production and stimulating demand. We shall have to trace the malaise which has spread from these sources throughout the whole field of music.

Although many doubts surround the vast industry which has grown uparound music, one development-mechanical reproduction is a truly providential one. For the first time in its long history music has achieved lasting, objective existence.

Music may be the oldest of the arts. Compared with the others it requires little knowledge, little craftsmanship, little experience. Born out of an instinctive interjection, it never strayed as far from that primitive, instinctive cry of joy or despair -which gave it birth as the other arts did from their origins-communication and observation. Music shaped more easily, spread more easily -and was more easily lost.

For music has indeed been lost. While an enormous treasury of works of art has accumulated over thousands of years in every corner of the civilized world, music has never survived, although it has occupied the best minds of every age. We know much about the theory and philosophy of old music, but the works themselves have vanished. We possess King David's Psalms; their poetry, their devotion and wisdom speak to us with undiminished force. But David was a musician too. At the beginning of many psalms there are the instructions: To the chief musician on Neginoth; To the chief musician upon Nehiloth. A whole arsenal of instruments is mentioned, which may be those we can see on Egyptian reliefs. But the music itself, which must have been an essential part of the psalms, is lost for ever.

Nothing can show the fundamental difference between poetry and music more clearly and convincingly. Even if it is faintly recollected in the cantillation or 'trop' as still practised in orthodox synagogues, King David's music was also instrumental music, which is banned from the orthodox service and ritual. Byzantine plainsong may represent the oldest music we know, preserved not for its artistic merit but by the orthodoxy of the liturgy, just as the Chinese, until fairly recently, could preserve the Ying Shen, the hymn to the approaching spirit of age. It is certainly true that, in the arts, later generations never accept the experience or recommendations of their forefathers, but there are certain unmistakable and imperishable artistic values which are handed down through the ages, however unfashionable their appearance may become. It is an article of faith that mankind never loses what it does not want to lose. There can be no misfortune or negligence that could deprive it of an achievement that is important for all time. Yet music has not been preserved. Generation after generation have dealt harshly with the music of their predecessors and have discarded it. We have no 'old' music.

This is a fact which has so far attracted but little attention, and few attempts have been made to explain it. Historians may even deny it altogether, arguing that the loss, so far as it has occurred, is due to the undiminished difficulties of material tradition, of the graphic expression of sounds. But the greatest works of literature have survived in languages long disused and through ages of widespread illiteracy. Similarly, great works of architecture and sculpture have been saved in spite of periods of savage destruction. There is no conceivable reason why old music in old graphs should not have been transcribed in new graphs if it had been considered worth while. Somebody, somewhere, would have rescued the old music from oblivion, just as the Arabs rescued Greek science and philosophy when the new Europeans were unmindful of their heritage.

Historians may insist, too, that we do have a sizeable knowledge of old music, while admitting that it does not go as far back as our knowledge of the other arts: we do not know what music the musicians on the walls of Sakhara are playing. It is true that, thanks to the efforts of historians, we are able to decipher most of the musical graphs of the last thousand years with some measure of accuracy. But is this really all the knowledge that is necessary for an appreciation of old music? Do we understand it?

Many poems of the trouveres and minstrels of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries are quite gay, but what we know of their music invariably sounds sad and melancholy to our ears; and this seems to indicate a basic misunderstanding. It does not mean to us what it meant to its original audience. Perotinus, the head of the School of Notre Dame in Paris in the thirteenth century, was called 'le Grand'. Do we honestly appreciate why1 Even three hundred years later, when Orlando di Lasso received the title 'principe di musica', we cannot quite realize the margin which sets him apart from other good composers of his time. Such uncertainties apply even to J. S. Bach, the tempo of some of whose pieces, particularly among his many 'Allemandes', is doubtful. It is not, after all, the historian who decides whether a work of art still has validity and meaning. If it were only historians who visited Rome or Athens, tourism would be in a bad way-and so would the maintenance of classical works of art, which is largely financed out of the curiosity and affection of a large public, often informed and advised by the historian but always independent in its appreciation. In music it is only the historian who cares. He can marvel at Monteverdi's anticipating the dramatic vigour of a later age, but it is Verdi who fills the opera-houses, Rigoletto rather than Il Ritorno d'Ulisse. To the unbiased mind there is always an inevitable comparison between old and new music, to the detriment of the old, while it would never occur and would seem quite unreasonable to anybody to measure Rodin beside Phidias or le Corbusier beside Brunellesco.

It is also true-and I shall deal with this aspect in its proper place-that for thousands of years music produced no truly great works, nothing comparable with the greatest manifestations of the other arts. There is no contemporary musical equivalent of Homer's Iliad or Kallikrates' Parthenon, of Dante's Commedia Divina or Michelangelo's ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, not even, one might say, of the second part of Goethe's Faust. Perhaps music did not look to the future as the other arts did. 'Exegi monumentum aere perennius,' a poet could write, confident that his voice would be heard down the ages. But music, until comparatively recently, had no such ambitious purpose and was content to express the mood of the moment.

I believe, though, that the reason for the evanescence of music lies deeper than this. As I have said before, the musical score, or whatever the graphic representation of music may be called, does not constitute the work in the same simple sense as a canvas or a printed page constitutes a visual or literary work. This is the fundamental difference between music and the other arts: its glory and, if you will, its tragedy. Re-creation is not a mechanical process, just as a good cookery book is not a guarantee of good cooking. 'The real beauty of music cannot be put down on paper,' wrote Liszt, and this is not only true of beauty. Neither can the real meaning be laid down once and for all, as in the other arts; it must be guessed at or sensed. There is a void, a space, left in every work of music, which must be filled by the re-creator. This re-creation requires a large measure of mental and temperamental identity of creator with re-creator, and it is this identity which preserves our otherwise vague understanding of music. If, by the passage of time and changes in both man and his environment, it is disturbed and eventually destroyed re-creation becomes impossible and the work loses its appeal, its validity. This identity between creator and re-creator is a familiar experience to anyone making or listening to music. If somebody says that he dislikes Chopin because he is too sentimental or that he prefers Beethoven's Opus 1 to Opus 135 he expresses that very lack of identity which would prevent him from performing properly those works which he dislikes. By the change of environment, such individual differences of taste and temperament become general and 'old' music is abandoned. It is a tantalizing thought that music, which is older than any other art and perhaps even older than articulate language, has lost its past.

Now, with mechanically reproduced and preserved music, none of this should happen again. Mechanical reproduction endows music with an objective existence which it has never had before. This may not necessarily be its true nature but it is nevertheless of immense importance for future generations. Extensive archives of recordings are being assembled which presene the actual acoustic phenomenon of an outstanding work as well as outstanding individual performances. Leaving aside all the other consequences of mechanical reproduction, this one may represent the greatest of all changes in music. Which of us would not be eager to know how Bach@s St Matthew Passion sounded in his time and under his direction, or to listen to Paganini's wizardry on the violin ? Those who come after us will be luckier than any of their predecessors since the beginning of time. They will actually hear the best performances of all that music which we are still competent to perform. Not that they will necessarily appreciate it-they may shake their heads at Stravinsky's Rite of Spring or consider Beethoven's Missa Solemnis in Toscanini's unforgettable interpretation a monstrosity. Indeed, mere preservation of the sound may not preserve the all-important identity between the creator and later generations of listeners, and therefore may not prevent the mortality of old music or keep alive the respect and affection which we feel for 'our' masterpieces. But some knowledge will be handed down, and for that our successors should be grateful.

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