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Violinist Norbert Brainin Demonstrates the Principle Of Motivic Thorough Composition

Dolná Krupá, Slovakia

September 1995

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Norbert Brainin master class

Photo: EIR News Service.
Classical music is the language of the human mind through which creativity speaks; physical-mathematical illustrations are a derivative of that power. Here, the late Norbert Brainin (left), former primarius of the legendary Amadeus Quartet, gives a master class with young musicians in Dolná Krupá, Slovakia, Sept. 20-22, 1995.

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On September 20-22, 1995, the Schiller Institute sponsored a series of seminars featuring Lyndon LaRouche's late close friend and collaborator Norbert Brainin, at the Dolná Krupá castle in Slovakia.

With the help of two young string quartets, the Moyzes Quartet from Bratislava and the Auer Quartet from Budapest, Brainin demonstrated the principles of Motivführung (motivic thorough-composition). As he explained in his opening remarks, this principle of Motivführung is "close to my heart; I've carried it around with me for a long time, and it never really resonated with anyone else; and the only person who immediately understood it, was Lyndon LaRouche."

The Schiller Institute released video recordings of the entire event in a series of five videotapes, which we are preparing for this website, including the addition of English subtitles where necessary.

Seminar Videos

1. Overview, with highlights of each session:

2. Work with the Moyzes Quartet on Beethoven's String Quartet Op. 59, No. 2

3. Work with the Auer Quartet on Beethoven's String Quartet Op. 127
except for the intro, all in English, with German subtitles:

4. Norbert Brainin, on his violin, demonstrates the unifying features
in Beethoven's late string quartets

5. Concert with Norbert Brainin and pianist Günter Ludwig
playing works by Mozart, Brahms, and Beethoven

Norbert Brainin and Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. and Norbert Brainin

Important references for these videos include the following articles:

That Which Underlies Motivic Thorough-Composition by Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr., 1995 and

How Hobbes’ Mathematics Misshaped Modern History by Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. 1996

The Secret of Ludwig van Beethoven by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. April 1977



Plato's Good

Excerpt from How Hobbes’ Mathematics Misshaped Modern History:

“…In Plato's terms, the unchanging idea representing the “metaphor of metaphors,” has the form of the Good; in other words, that idea is chosen by the mind of the performer, for that occasion, at least, as “the alpha and omega” of the composition taken as a whole; it is an unchanging idea, which does not undergo any change in itself during that developmental process which it directs.34 In contrast to that unchanging, controlling idea, we have that evolving notion of the unfolding composition, which is reached at each point within the progress of that same performance, which has the form to which Plato ascribed the name of Becoming. Thus, in any successful performance of such a Classical poem or musical composition, the interaction between these two forms of ideas, Good and Becoming, generates a tension within the performance which the audience may perceive as “energy.”35 Exactly the sense of “tension” and “energy” is required for all great poetry, including the soliloquies and related excerpts of Shakespeare's tragedies… ”Examine the structure of that tension: an awful, beautiful truth takes shape, within the early morning mists.”

Footnote 34: "There is no great performer of Classical works, or composer, whose notion of this Good of a particular work does not undergo significant change over time. For example, the author had not only the advantage of comparing his hearing the Amadeus Quartet perform some Beethoven in Munich, during the mid-1980's with the Polydor recordings of about two decades earlier, but, the opportunity to discuss related matters with Norbert Brainin. Already, at the beginning of the 1960's, the Amadeus Quartet represented a standard of performance; they represented that Beethoven tradition transmitted directly via Josef Böhm's Vienna School of Violin performance, via Joseph Joachim, Carl Flesch, and the Amadeus members' teacher, Max Rostal. The referenced Dolna Krupa seminar on the subject of Motivführung, supplies us indication of Professor Brainin's notion of the nature of the improvement in conception which developed over the course of the decades. It is similar for the cases of composers such as Wolfgang Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Johannes Brahms: we may trace the evolution to the idea of motivic thorough-composition, from Mozart's initial 1782-1783 approach to the coincident conceptions of Haydn's Opus 33 and J.S. Bach's “A Musical Offering,” through Beethoven's Opera 95-96 onward, as capped by the late quartets, and the new dimensions of a quoted “late Beethoven,” in the hands of Brahms. Despite the changes in the performer's or composer's notion of a fixed “metaphor of metaphors,” the idea undergoing such change retains the form of Plato's Good."

Related Pages:

Science of Music

Obituary of Norbert Brainin

The Substance of Morality by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

The Substance of Morality Appendix (The case of Classical motivic thorough-composition) by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

The Fraud of Free Trade by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. (EIR)

Norbert Brainin On ‘Motivführung’ by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. 

Norbert Brainin, Günter Ludwig Concert at C-256 Hz June 6, 1990

Interview with Norbert Brainin, Primarius of the Amadeus Quartet 1996

Interview with Norbert Brainin 2004

The Secret of Ludwig van Beethoven by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. April 1977


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