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The LaRouche Youth Movement and Classical Music
The LaRouche Show from July 2, 2005
Some of our listeners might wonder today, why are we devoting todays LaRouche Show, to a discussion of Classical music? Joining me as my guest today, will be John Sigerson, from our studio in Leesburg, Virginia. John has worked for many years with Lyndon LaRouche on reviving the Classical tradition, in choral music in particular, that has been under fierce attack for centuries, and has nearly been lost to us. And part of what John has been doing, with some collaborators in Leesburg, is to revive this tradition.
Also on the show with us today, is a panel of LaRouche Youth Movement members, who have been involved in a special project launched by LaRouche, to do work with Johann Sebastian Bachs Jesu, meine Freude. These include Jenny Kreingold and Megan Beets from Boston, and MyHoa Steger is with me in the Los Angeles office.
John, Welcome to the LaRouche Show.
John Sigerson: Hi!
Schlanger: Now, in a series of recent articles, published in Executive Intelligence Reviewand by the way, I should note that you are the managing editor of EIR in addition to the other hats you wear
Sigerson: Yeah, I manage.
Schlanger: Lyndon has written extensively about his lifelong effort to revive the method of communicating ideas which we associate with the great Classical composer, in particular Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. Several weeks ago, we had Bruce Director on the show as a guest to discuss LaRouches article Vernadsky and the Dirichlet Principle. And then, in an article that came out in this weeks EIR, called Mans Original Creations, Lyn wrote about your work with the LaRouche Youth Movement chorus on the Jesu, meine Freude, as a means of expanding insights into Bachs intentions as a crucial case-study in mastering these principles of creativity in art.
John, what is it that people can discover by rigorous work of the sort that you've undertaken, and what discoveries have you made in this process?
Sigerson: Well, its been a long process. I've worked with Lyn for well over 30 years now on these matters, and struggled with these questions of, actually, all the way back from when I first started working with LaRouche. My preoccupation was the relationship between music and culture, and anything else having to do with the real worldsince I grew up in the counterculture where I was being inundated with the argument that it had absolutely nothing to do the real world, that this was your private fantasy life.
But, I knew, and had a sense, that it was something more. And over the years, what LaRouche has been talking about, in terms of the unity, the same ideas being applicable in great Classical music, and in the principles according to which a healthy economy must be run, this became clearer.
It all has to do, though, with the fundamental idea that LaRouche has emphasized, really, ever since he began teaching his classes to young people back in the 1960s, which is that, your fundamental measure of truth has to beand really, the only fundamental measure of something that is truth, or truthful, has to be something related to the increase in mankinds potential. Its a relativeat that point he talked about the relative potential population-density.
Schlanger: John, this is not an abstract concept, either. This idea of increasing the power of man. It is something which is measurable through this idea of potential relative population-density.
Sigerson: Precisely. And you have to keep in mind, that what we're talking about here, is this case of potential: That is, something that increases the power of mankind over the Biosphereto use the Vernadskian term of that. The power of the NoËsphere over the Biosphere. And, when you're talking about music, LaRouches latest discussions of the Vernadsky principle in a recent article in EIR, really helps clarify it. Because, when you're dealing with scientific work, creative scientific work, you're dealing with the questions relating to the questions to the NoËspheres action on the Biosphere.
When you're dealing with musical work, its really the same principles involved. But, what you're dealing with is the operations of the NoËsphere on the NoËsphere: That is, you're actually increasing the potential, then, for us to be able to make changes throughout the universe, make discoveries throughout the universe.
Schlanger: John, there are some people listening, who probably don't know exactly what you mean by the concept NoËsphere. Why don't you just fill them in on that?
Sigerson: Right. Vernadsky has an idea, of his concept of three different domains of existence: the abiotic, that is the dead things; the biotic, things that are living; and then, on top of that you have the noetic principle, which is the principle of mental or human cognitive action. And those three have a relationship to each other, but they're guided by quite different principles, the highest principle being that of the NoËsphere. And as Vernadsky makes the argument, that increasingly over the history of the development of the Solar System, the NoËspherethat is, what you might call, or what some philosophers called, the metaphysical realmhas come to increasingly predominate over the entire Solar System, and potentially and implicitly, over further parts of our universe as well.
So, the NoËsphere is the sumits not just the sumbut its the unity of all mental creative activity, which is based on valid principles, valid principles of the way that the universe works; and also valid discoveries of those principles, in the sovereign individual minds of individual human beings.
Schlanger: Now, before we listen to the opening of the Bach piece, just to follow that point up, there are many people who still argue, even people who are relatively intelligent, who argue that Well, music is a matter of taste. How can you say theres truth or knowable principles in music? How do you answer those people?
Sigerson: Well, it largely revolves around your conception of what music is, because you could a validfor instance, if you had a piece of the kind of background music you hear on the television all the time and so forthyou could say, yes, that indeed is totally arbitrary. So, it really revolves around what you're talking about, when you're talking about real music.
The mainwhat we're talking about with music is Classical music based on Classical principles of art. These are the same principles that govern the discovery of physical principle. See, people have an odd idea about what a principle is. They think that a principle, like when you think about a principle in science, you think about it as some kind of a formula. Right? You plug it in, and somehow, something works. Well, thats really not what a principle is, even in physical science. A principle is a discovery of an ordering process. For instance, you hear the term technology and you see a machine. Well, what is the technology of that machine? Is it the individual parts of that machines? Obviously not. Leibniz makes this point: That is, what you're looking at, is the organization of that machine, the internal organization of that machine, which makes it do something that the individual parts couldn't possibly do.
Now, can you touch the machine? Thats an interesting question. Because the machine itself, is that concept, is that grasping of the principle governing the way that machine is put together. Its not the physical thing itself.
Schlanger: Heres the argument someone would say: Well, you can touch a machine, but you can't touch the musical notes.
Sigerson: [laughs] I don't quite get your
Schlanger: Well, people would say, theres something tangible in science. But when you're talking about truthfulness in music
Sigerson: Well, what I'm saying, what is the essence of the machine is that which you can not touch. And its precisely that way with the essence of something thats living, and precisely thats the essence of something which is an idea itself: That is, that whichthis goes all the way back to Platos argument about the question of form being a higher level of reality than material.
And thats precisely what we've got in music, because what we're dealing with forms of forms in music. That is, the form of organization of human thought. And, the way that a piece of music is composed, or put together, if its a great Classical piece of music, represents a discovery of how a new way of actually composing and organizing thoughtsthe realm of thoughtin a way that increases the potential of mankind to make a potentially infinite number of other types of discoveries.
Schlanger: Well, why don't we get a concrete example of that by listening to the opening of the Jesu, meine Freude and the idea that was there from Bach, which we'll discuss after we hear this; and then, how you worked with the chorus. And then we'll hear from some of the people in the Boston chorus.
Sigerson: Sure. [plays opening of Boston LYM chorus singing Jesu, meine Freude]
Schlanger: John, why don't you give us a little summary of what we just heard.
Sigerson: Thats the opening chorale of Bachs motet, Jesu, meine Freude. Jesu, meine Freude meaning Jesus, my joy, which was a chorale that went back before Bachs dayit was almost, you might call it a popular tune at the time. And this motet has many different sections, and what is remarkable about it, is, it holds together probably more than any piece preceding it, in terms of something people had composed earlier. It holds together as a unit idea, better than any other piece that I can think of.
What I wanted to just point out, in the opening, is, that the piece, although it might not be obvious to you when you listen to it first, the piece, even the opening, is highly ironical. To be specific, in the very opening, you have the Jesu, meine Freude, which is, yes, you have a melody [sings melody]; but, you have three other parts, because this is polyphonythat is, it has many voices, in this cases, four voices working with each other and across each other. And at the very opening, you have a fascinating interplay between not just the sopranos, but the sopranos, the altos, and the tenors, so that, to put a fine point on it, you've got [starts the melody in the soprano voice] Jesu, mei and then the altos come in meine; and that literal meine which goes across the voices is what you might call a cross-voice. And it goes across a very specific interval, which is called the Lydian interval is the best way to term it. Which indicates a kind of an ironical mode, which is neither the major nor the minor mode which you're used to thinking about, but its a much more complex mode, in a way that relates to these other modes. And the entire cluster represents what you might call a modality.
Now, the thing that I wanted to point out, is that if you listen the next piecesome people may just call it a dissonance, but thats sort of beside the point. Its a Lydian cross-reference. [sings the cross-interval, Jesu, meine]
In the next piece that you're going to hear, which is a little bit further on, what he takes is that ironical cross-voice, which is on the word meine, not at the very beginning, and he puts it right at the very beginning of the piece. This is this piece called Trotz den alten Drachen or Despite the Old Dragon. And in the word Trotz, he has this very shocking interval, which is actually the same interval, that you hear on the meine but in a way thats not as evident. Lets hear thatjust the very opening bar. [plays the selection]
Okay. You hear that? [sings Trotz in the same interval] Thats that interval, which creates that veryyou might call it unstable sense. And these things, even though you might not be to hear them as clearly as a trained musician can hear it, nonetheless, even to an untrained audience, these kind of subtleties can actually create an effect which can elevate the mind and can bring people into the realm of ideas, and bring them onto a higher level of ideas.
Schlanger: I think that exampleI believe the recording from the Boston LYM chorus singing is available on one of our websites. We'll get you that information before the end of the show today, so you can hear it, and study it yourself.
Now, John, just a follow-up question on that: What Lyndon LaRouche has been focussing on quite a bit recently, is this principle of polyphony, or polyphonic counterpoint. And he makes what to some might seem a startling comment, that the development of an understanding of polyphonic counterpoint, is necessary of the advancement of human civilization. So, how do you go from hearing that effect, to this question of how polyphony develops the capacity to think?
Sigerson: WellLyn describes thatI'd just like to read you a quote from his Vernadsky piece which I think is helpful, I think, in that respect. He says, that In its broader expression, creativity is expressed by Classical modes of artistic composition ... in plastic and non-plastic art-forms and their application to other aspects of human practice. Creativity is not something optional in human choices of behavior; that is the only thing which actually distinguishes your choice of political candidate, or painter or musician, from the apes.
In other words, LaRouche is saying that it is precisely these aspects of these discoveries of principles of musical ordering, which allow you to conceive of orderings in all sorts of other realms, for instance, the political realm, the realm of physical economy. He says, later on, and again, he emphasizes this with italics:
The increase of the Nösphere, relative to both the abiotic domain and the Biosphere, through the fruits of willful cognition, is not only as change in mankinds relationship to the universe; it is an efficient change in the characteristics of action within that universe. Just as the Biosphere, including its fossil products, are taking over more and more of the Earth, so the accumulation of scientific and technological progress gained through cognition of individual souls, is increasing its domination of the planet relative to the Biosphere.
So, what we're talking about here, is domination. What we want to do, is we want to run the Biosphere. We want to run it, and we want to run it better, because we think we can actually run it better, and shape it better, according to what we know is necessary.
Schlanger: I think also, from that quote, its clear that one of the reasons that we have an idiot in the White House and a sociopath as the Vice President, controlling him, is probably the proliferation of rap, rock, country music, and so on, where the ideas are hardly worthy of the term idea.
Now, John what I'd like to do, is bring in our youth panelists into the discussion. [station id]
First of all, let me bring in the two panelists from Boston, Jenny Kreingold and Megan Beets. How are you? Welcome to the show.
Now, you've been involved in a project in Boston, where you've been working with the chorus, including with John. Jenny, why don't you just tell us a little bit about what you've been doing?
Jenny Kreingold: Well, we've been up here in Boston for about a year, now, since the Boston [Democratic National] Convention, and we've had a very intensive project focussed on the motet that you just heard excerpts of. And theres a whole group here of organizers, who spent about three or four months, intensively learning this motet. And now, we're at the point, because people have a really good sense of the motet, now we can really dive into understanding Bachs method. And so, we've been doing a couple things here to accentuate that work.
There are a couple of things we've been working on. We just finished a series on looking at Bachs Musical Offering, where every week, we were investigating different kind of compositional jokes and riddles that Bach was using to get you to think about how to transform an idea. And we were using instruments to play some of these, we were singing them, and trying to get some of the newest members of the Youth Movement, and students that we're meeting, involved in that process.
One of the key aspects to the development, especially in this Bach piece, is its actually rather difficult technically. There are some parts of it that are very difficult, especially some of the tenor lines. So, one of the key aspects, of course, which LaRouche is always hitting on, is the development of the bel canto singing voice. So, we've been doing some intensive work on that here. John has been coming up once a month, working with us, and we've just recently started voice lessons in the evenings, to help some of the newest people also develop their voices.
Schlanger: Let me point out to the listeners, that when you're talking about people working on this: These are full-time LaRouche youth organizers, right?
Kriengold: Right. These are full-time organizers, and then also, what we try to do here, is any time a newer person whom we meet or from a campus, or somebody we call, comes in, to try to introduce them to at least give them a sense of the beauty of their own voice. You'd be surprised at how soon, how quickly somebody can actually discover that they have a voice!
Schlanger: We're going to have to take a quick station break, and then we'll get back with Jenny and Megan from Boston, and MyHoa from Los Angeles, and more from John. By the way, we will take your emails....[station id]
Now, we were just talking to Jenny Kreingold from Boston LaRouche Youth Movement on the work thats on in Boston. We also have from Boston, Megan Beets, who has been with this process from the beginning. We were talking about how we were bringing new people into the choral work. Megan, I assume that we're bringing people into our office who have very little experience with singing or with Classical music. Whats your sense? How long does it take for someone to get hit with this idea that theres something more to Classical music, than some background elevator music, or something.
Megan Beets: [laughs] I would agree with Jenny, I think it happens very quickly. And we notice this on the street when we organize, a lot. We came up here, right after the Boston Convention, this was after this convention where about 100 of us were running around Boston, as we organized singing. LaRouche characterized it as the magic of music.
And it took us a little while to discover that when we got back on the streets of Boston. And you had a group of probably about 15 of us, deploying into the streets as a chorus, not just as some isolated organizers running around, organizing the population, but as a force of people creating a dynamic. And it was interesting: When we would sing on the streets, or even when we would bring people into our office and sing, theres a very profound effect on the mind of the person walking by. Because it becomes very obvious that we're something different than they thought.
You know, it has a certain emotional effect on people coming into our office. Its prettythe beauty of Bach, its pretty inspiring. And so, we've had a lot of breakthroughs with new people coming around, that have very quickly made breakthroughs with their voices.
Schlanger: I know one of the places we organize is outside the Berkeley School of Music in Boston. Are we starting to get through some of those hard-heads there?
Beets: Definitely! We've gotten through so much that they kick us off, every time we try to set up there.
Schlanger: So this is part of the continuing attack on Classical music.
Beets: Yeah, definitely. Berkeley was a place where we've recruitedwe recruited some students from there. But, whenever we would go out there and organize as chorus, it would be the most effective. We would have a very dynamic group of students around us, some enraged, some totally curious about what we were doing.
Schlanger: Okay, let me now bring in our third panelist, MyHoa Steger, who is in Los Angeles. MyHoa was recently in Los Angeles and did some work with you. What was the effect of that? What is your sense of having John there and working with people, what did it do for people?
Myhoa Steger: Having John here was great, because it came at a pretty good time, since we had a public concert, which we'd never have had here before, especially with the Jesu soon after he left. So, it was about three weeks. And what we did after he left, was mostly what the chorus discovered during the period he was here, was how to really become transparent in a chorus. So, we workedwe took his lead and we really worked hard, and very rigorously on these ideas that he had proposed in the chorus sessions, and it worked out great, with the concert.
Schlanger: So, we're going to be continuing work with the Jesu as well in Los Angeles, then?
Steger: Of course!
Schlanger: How about the recruitment? Los Angeles is the center of the modern pop culture. Boston at least has some claim to civility, I guess. And in California, you see people walking around barely wearing clothes, carrying big boom-boxes out on the sunny streets. What effect does Classical culture have on the population when we organize?
Steger: Well, we do a lot of rallies out here. A pretty memorable one, was one that we did on Sunset Boulevard, at night. It was a night deployment, I think it was a Friday evening. And this when you've got your ghouls and goblins that come out, people that just go to strip clubs, and go to their local nightclubs. But we went in with a very specific intention of elevating the individuals' minds that were about to participate in something that we knew would be less than human.
So, we went, and intervened in a force, like Jenny and Megan were talking about, this type of dynamic force, of I think it was about 25 to 30 people. And probably the most memorable point was when we created a chorus, we actually aligned a chorus outside of a strip club, because there were tons of people outside waiting to get in line. And I just got [a glimpse of] individuals, because I was conducting the chorus and couldn't really see what was happening behind me. But people from the chorus were telling me and reporting to me, that you had individualsthey could just see the changes on peoples faces. There was even a couple that was walking into the strip club, and the girl wouldn'tshe didn't want to go in. The guy kept trying to pull her into the strip club, and she fought with him, and she said, No, I'm going to stand out here and listen.
So, its these types of changes that you can begin to see, or the potential changes, that you can begin to see in people.
Schlanger: Okay. Thats interesting. Changing the culture of strip clubs!
Now, John let me bring you back in for a second: Whats been your experience with this youth generation with the work that you've done, your sense of being able to tap into something that doesn't exist in the culture. Both the people who have training, and no trainingwhats your sense of the potential?
Sigerson: I mean the big difference between that, between this generation and my generation is that my generationI grew up in a musical climate around New York, and it was a generation of know-it-alls. Everybody thought they all had it figured out. Of course, then you ask somebody, and I had some arguments with people then, for instance with a composer friend of mine, I had an argument: I said, Well, do you acknowledge that Beethoven is the greatest music? And he said, Sure, yeah, Beethoven is the greatest music! And I said, Well, why don't you write like Beethoven? And he said, Well, I could, but I just don't feel like itright? [they both laugh]
And I meanthat was the
Schlanger: Thats a Boomer for you!
Sigerson: Right, exactly. And even today, you have people who could probably, if they put their minds, write sort of like Beethoven, but could they write a piece thats as great as a Beethoven? And if they could, if they say that they could, then why the heck don't they? But the fact of the matter is, they really can't. They're bluffing.
But, whats refreshing about the youth generation, is the fact that they really don't have those pretenses. They don't knowin many cases, they're coming from a standpoint of knowing that everything that they've been given is garbage. In school, especially, everything is garbage. Which is different: Because back in the '60s, it was all garbage that we were giventhere was a lot of it, but today, its all garbage. And so therefore, they come into contact with this, and its like, you can see light going on very quickly.
So, although the skill levels, I must say, are not nearly the same as what you would have had in the past. I don't mind that. I would rather have people who are clumsily discovering the truth, than people for whom everything comes really easy, and its just all surface effects, and theres no actual thought involved.
Schlanger: John, I have an email here I'm going to summarize a bit. Its from Paula Larson [ph] who identifies herself as a poet and an artist, and she raises a questionits about Glenn Gould, but I don't want to get into specific interpretations. But, she does raise an interesting point: She says, that one of the things she finds in Gould, that theres not a dynamic change in his playing of Bach thats tapped into. Whereas what LaRouche is pointing towards and what you're discussing, actually does get at this deeper question.
Now, I'd like to use this email to go back to what you were saying earlier about the relationship between music and politics, or music and statecraft. There are many people who would argue that Bach had nothing to do with politics; that Beethoven, that Mozart, they were involved in court politics perhaps, but not really much beyond that. But, obviously Classical culture has a much broader horizon, and I wonder if you'd just talk that a bit.
Sigerson: Well, you haveto really get a sense of it, you have to also include other aspects of Classical art, like Classical drama. And you have to think about Schillers overall dictum, where he said that the greatest work of art, is the creation of political freedom. And indeed, when you're looking at these art forms, you're constantly dealing with this question of irony, as LaRouche is emphasizing over and over, in his latest piece [Mans Original Creations?]. That you have to have an ironical view of political action, in order to get things done.
Constantly, people are coming up to us now, and as the LaRouche movements influence is growing, and come up to us with this individual issue and that individual issue. And, in some cases, they're right, but as LaRouche will always tell them, Well, you're right but you're wrong, because you're not grasping the ironies involved of this particular issue in its relationship to the entirety of the whole political situation, the whole economic collapse, the impending economic collapse of the entire financial system. And so, unless you deal with every single individual issue that you're talking to people about, in that ironical way, you'll always get into a trap. I think that this is somethingits instruction in avoiding those kinds of potential traps that great Classical tragedy, and also Classical art, are uniquely able to help us figure out.
Schlanger: So, it increases the capacity of someone in the audience to look at the world differently. As Lyn often this cites this question from Schiller, of someone leaving a theater a better person than they were coming in, its through the encounter, the development, the stimulation in their mind of the ability to recognize these ironical juxtapositions.
Sigerson: Yes, and feel potent as a human individual. And not to feel like somehow, you're the victim of the anonymous forces, which are acting on you. But, you're actuallyyou're not a victim of the gods, but rather you're acting like Prometheus. A Prometheus who says, No. These gods are not running the show. That I know that there is within me a principle that lives, that is beyond those anonymous gods who seem to be calling the shots. But theres an actual active, dynamic principle which is governing what I do. And I, as a human, creative individual, am potent to be able to changeto grasp those principles, and to change the universe. One single individual can change the universe. Thats the kind of optimism that you need in order to operate politically today.
Schlanger: Now, we have an email here, Johnwe'll get back to the LYM panel in a momentbut we have an email from a collaborator from Denmark. Michelle Rasmussen, from the Schiller Institute in Denmark, who actually wrote an interesting article several years ago in Fidelio on the relationship between Bach and Mozart; Mozarts use of Bachs compositions to advance the principle of fugal counterpoint.
She has a question for you, that I know a lot of people are asking. Its a complex question, but give us a concise stretto type answer to it. What she asks, Can you please discuss LaRouches idea of modality? And how that is expressed in Jesu, meine Freude or [Mozarts] Ave Verum Corpus?
Sigerson: Okay: Modality has to doits really, in a certain sense, its very simple, because, for those people who are educated in music, you have to clear away all of the accumulate flotsam and jetsam of the idea of a mode; because they teach these modes. This has a long history of academic discussion.
But, a modality is something very simple: It means simply a way of getting something donefrankly. It means a wayin a certain sense, its related mathematically to a function. That is a function, which is also something thata function is not an equation. A function is something that actually gets work accomplished; as opposed to simply a passive equation, where a=b.
So, the point is that the mode in these modalities are clusters of both combining of modes, but also there are rhythmical elements involved in that. So, when you're dealing with something like Jesu, meine Freude, usually what you have in many of these great Classical pieces, you're talking about a modality which encompasses at least two, or possibly three or even more types of modes. In the Jesu, meine Freude you've got E-minor, which is your basic mode of the piece, but also theres a strong element of a C-Major/minor mode in it, which is there. And if you add to that, these cross-voice Lydians in the very opening of the piece, in this ironical way that I showed youat the beginning of the piece and also going into the Trotz, where the relationship is reverse: if you think of that as a unit, then you've got LaRouches idea, and the idea of a modality. Okay? Its not something thats reducible to a series of tones.
Schlanger: I think, if I get what you're saying, that one of the things that we're talking about, is why Bruce Director was saying that when you look at this question of the development of the principle of modality, you're beginning to look at the same kind of complexity that you find in the Dirichlet principle, where you have an increasing density of activity, but its still defined by a single principle.
Sigerson: Yes, indeed. And if you look at some of the pieces by Beethoven, theres some critical pieces, like in his Opus 106 piano sonata, the Hammerklavier, theres a famous section, which then Brahms later took up on, which actually has what you call a keyless mode, where he frees himself of a particular key. And you can not even identify what particular key it isbut it is mode! And indeed, by moving through all these particular modes, he creates a new kind of modality. Which then, as I said, Brahms picks up on later.
Schlanger: We have a lot of questions, but I'm going to bring back the LYM panel members, and I'm sure they have questions also, I think they'd like to add. Jenny, do you have something else?
Kreingold: Well, I could just point out that, I think one of the things thats really important about this, is the development of these ideas for young people, who are coming from a no-future generation. Its actually not as much of a fight to get young people to discover the beauty of their potential, like John was talking about in the beginning, as you would think it is. Because, theres a certain positive affect that it has immediately, and young people actually see that.
One thing I wanted to point out, was the case of a young lady, who is actually an Israeli refusenik. She was coming around our movement for a while. And she came into a rehearsal, and she heard us singing the Jesu, meine Freude and she got completely moved by it. Because she doesn't really have access to that, in the kind of political layers that shes in, in Israel. And it just gave her a more profound sense of the kind of political effect that we can have internationally. And I thought that was important to point out.
Schlanger: Jenny, you would probably agree that theres actually a hunger for people with no future, the idea that when they discover that through studying questions, really working on principles of science and music, and then the relationship to politics, thatas John said, earlierone person can have an effect on the world: theres a hunger to find that, isn't there?
Kreingold: Oh yeah, completely. Most people whom we're meeting want to figure out this music question in some way. Its really paradoxical for people, who see us out, who see this guy LaRouche who ran for President, and hes talking about how evil Cheney is, and a few paragraphs later in his speech, hes talking about Classical principles and bel canto singing. And its a really good paradox for people to encounter!
Schlanger: John, I have a question for you from Jennifer Chen [ph] in Washington, D.C., another member of the LaRouche Youth Movement there in D.C., who spent the week saturating the Congress with the recent transcripts of the webcast [on June 16, by Lyndon LaRouche]. She asks, In investigating the idea of our ability in the chorus to increase the noetic, how exactly does the cross-voicing play into this? So, again, its a question on thisthe question of cross-voicing.
Sigerson: Well, cross-voicing, its important to note that cross-voicing is only possible with Classical polyphony. That is, even if you have a single voice singing, the only way you would have a cross-voice, is if the voice is imitating more than one voice. For instance, in a Bach violin piece, where the single instrument is actually playing maybe a soprano, maybe an alto, and maybe also a tenorand maybe even a bass.
Schlanger: You make the instrument sing.
Sigerson: Right, right. Its actually singing four voices. And all these instruments, these musical instrumentswhich are dead thingsproperly handled, can only be made living if they're singing, if they're imitating, and replicatingnot note for note, but replicating the way that the human voice works.
Cross-voices are all over the place, once you deal with polyphony. I think the thing that Jennifer is asking, is how do you distinguish, how do you say this cross-voice is important, and this one isn't?
Well, first of all, you have to stand back, and look at a whole piece, and think about it as a personality. Like you think about a human being. What is it, that makes that human being, or that piece, unique? What is it about it? And you have to answer that, you have to really think about that. And, once you get that idea across, then you will find that you won't have as much difficulty in locating those particular cross-voices which are the things which make that piece unique. You will generally find these associated with register shifts, shifts in register; or, sudden movements across voices, as opposed to within a particular voice; although, sometimes they're in a particular voice. And you'll find clusters of ironies that way.
They also are, quite often, with Classical music, associated with intervals which some would call dissonant: like, for instance, the Lydian interval. But also there are other ones which Beethoven exploited quite a bit, for instance, the diminished fourth which is related to that.
So, you have to start from the whole, and then you hone in. Thats the way you do it. Don't work from the bottom up.
Schlanger: Working from the bottom up, is never a good idea!
Well, we're down to about seven minutes, and I want to bring both Megan and MyHoa back in.
I just want to emphasize, that the material thats being discussed, the ideas discussed are contained in a number of articles by Lyndon LaRouche, recently, in EIR. But they're also available through Fidelio magazine, which has had a series of articles in the last decade taking up these questions. If you need this materialand the answer to that is, yes, you do need itgive us a call at 703-297-8368.
And I think, John, based on the interest we've had from the emails, we'll have to do this again, because obviously there is a hunger for understanding what it is people are hearing when they listening to Classical music.
Sigerson: Sure! Well, the big question isand this is sort of the $64,000, or I guess now it would be called $64 million question
Schlanger: Well, with inflation, its probably $64 trillion!
Sigerson: Yeah, right. That is: Okay, we had Beethoven, we had Brahms, and so forth. We've had a century which has been a wasteland, literally a wasteland with flotsam and jetsam around, but really no great composers of that stature, if you want to be honest about it. So, where are we going to get these? Are they all gone!? Can we have more Beethovens?
Schlanger: I think theres a question from a supporter sending in an email, asking about that. I'm going to forward you, or make sure you get these emails, John. There are more coming in.
Megan, did you have anything else you want to bring up. For those who don't know, Megan did a wonderful presentation at a conference a few years ago, on why you can't compose using rules. And Lyn referred to it, as Megans Revenge. Megan, go ahead.
Beets: Yeah, I wanted to bring up, the reason that we began working on the Jesu, meine Freude in the first placeI think it was about a year and a half, or two years agowas LaRouche was getting a lot of questions from members of the Youth Movement on, Okay, we're discovering these profound ideas with Gauss, and the science workbut, how do we communicate those to the population? And so, LaRouche responded by assigning us the Jesu, meine Freude.
And I wanted to bring up the really important social dynamic its created, not just in our organizing the population, but amongst the organizers. I was reflecting on our chorus rehearsal this morning, that, when you're participating in a chorus rehearsal, working on a piece of this magnitude, you havefirst of all, each of the voices in this motet has a unique personality. So, if you're singing the soprano voice, your mind can follow a certain development of your voice, but you're also in the context of the whole. And we had done a lot of work last summer, on very rigorously learning every part of the piece, so that each soprano knew all the tenor parts, all the bass parts, and so on, throughout the chorus.
And it had a very profound effect, because you realize that you're not just some diva, singing your line to be heard, but that you have to subject yourself to the idea of the composer. And that obviously, Bach had a much more complex idea in his mind than you probably thought.
And so, it creates a unique social dynamic amongst the organizers, because they're participating in a very profound process, reliving the mind of Bach, but you're reliving it with other human beings. And it has a very beautiful emotional effect, and thats not the kind of social relationship you get anywhere else in our culture.
Schlanger: In fact, I just did a class based on being prodded by Lyn on this same question. Someone asked the question, how do we improve social relations? And Lyn spoke about the relationship between Haydn and Mozart in collaboration, working on Bach, to develop the string quartet. So, I think this kind of question is really an important one: That the idea of polyphony is one that people really need to think about and work on.
MyHoa, anything more from you?
Steger: Yeah, actually, I had a question for John. But, just to comment on what Megan and Jenny had been saying about this social dynamic within the chorus: We've really been working very hard, and the idea of getting everybody to know each others voices and then the personality of all of the voices, soprano, alto, tenor, bass. And we've done an experiment, because of a footnote that Lyn had written in one of his papers, about how the conductor is really the individual who hears the whole. And so, we're experimenting right now with different people coming up and conducting and getting a chance to experiment and get a sense of what that whole is, or what the idea of transparency is.
But, just a question to John, on the question of what Lyns talking with musical insight. We've been having discussions on that here. I don't know if you had anything you wanted to say about it.
Schlanger: Do you have any insights into that, John? You have about a minute.
Sigerson: Well, I think its related to what you might call wisdom which is something you develop over a long time. I think it more has to do with instinct. I think the most important thing about that developing insight, is that you've got to have a certain kind of humility with respect to these great composers, Beethoven, Bach, Schubert, and so forth. You've got to really approach them with a great deal of humility, and realize that you've got a tremendous amount to learn from them. And never get so full of your own ideas, that you won't do that. I would also say that thats also the case, with relationship to Lyndon LaRouche, personally. Is that you also have to develop your relationship to him, as an individual, and his ideas, and not feel that you have to go off, and invent your own ideas. Hes got a wealth of ideas there, that if you only master them, then theres a lot of insight that you can develop that way.
Schlanger: Thank you, John. I would say, that if you think about the emphasis on Bach and Gauss, as the core curriculum for the LaRouche Youth Movement, what you're really talking about, is a dialogue across the centuries, which goes back to the Pythagoreans, who had something to say about both music and science; through Plato, Cusa, and so on.
John, I'd like to thank you, and thank our panelists, today. This has been an interesting discussion. I wasn't sure how we could actually talk about music on a show, but I think it gave people a lot to think about.
This is The LaRouche Show, Saturday, July 2, 2005. Join us again next weekand, do some organizing!
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