On Conducting (Üeber Das Dirigiren) : a Treatise on Style in the Execution of Classical Music, eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 93 pages of information about On Conducting (Üeber Das Dirigiren) .
the soul’s deep dream.  He has again caught sight of the inner side of the world; he wakens and strikes the strings for a dance, such as the world has never heard (Allegro Finale).  It is the World’s own dance; wild delight, cries of anguish, love’s ecstacy, highest rapture, misery, rage; voluptuous now, and sorrowful; lightnings quiver, storm’s roll; and high above the gigantic musician! banning and compelling all things, proudly and firmly wielding them from whirl to whirlpool, to the abyss.—­ He laughs at himself; for the incantation was, after all, but play to him.  Thus night beckons.  His day is done.

“It is not possible to consider the man, Beethoven, in any sort of light, without at once having recourse to the wonderful musician, by way of elucidation.”


[See p. 24 of “Bericht” and “Wagner, Ges.  Schriften,” Vol.  VIII., p. 186.]

It is difficult to understand Bach’s music without a special musical and intellectual training, and it is a mistake to present it to the public in the careless and shallow modern way we have grown accustomed to.  Those who so present it show that they do not know what they are about....The proper execution of Bach’s music implies the solution of a difficult problem.  Tradition, even if it could be shown to exist in a definite form, offers little assistance; for Bach, like every other German master, never had the means at his command adequately to perform his compositions.  We know the embarrassing circumstances under which his most difficult and elaborate works were given—­and it is not surprising that in the end he should have grown callous with regard to execution. and have considered his works as existing merely in thought.  It is a task reserved for the highest and most comprehensive musical culture, to discover and establish a mode of executing the works of this wonderful master, so as to enable his music to appeal to the emotions in a plain direct manner.”


[See Sir George Grove’s “Dictionary of Music and Musicians.”  Vol.  IV., p. 369.  Article “Wagner.”]

In early days I thought more would come of Schumann.  His Zeitschrift was brilliant and his pianoforte works showed great originality.  There was much ferment, but also much real power, and many bits are quite unique and perfect.  I think highly, too, of many of his songs, though they are not as great as Schubert’s.  He took pains with his declamation—­no small merit forty years ago.  Later on I saw a good deal of him at Dresden; but then already his head was tired, his powers on the wane.  He consulted me about the text to his opera, ‘Genoveva,’ which he was arranging from Tieck’s and Hebbel’s plays, yet he would not take my advice—­he seemed to fear some trick.”


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On Conducting (Üeber Das Dirigiren) : a Treatise on Style in the Execution of Classical Music, from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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