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A free-wheeling discussion with Schiller Institute chorus director John Sigerson and members of the LaRouche Youth Movement
LaRouche Youth Movement chorus, performing Bach Motet, Jesu Meine Freude, conducted by John Sigerson, at the Jan. 1, 2005 Lyndon LaRouche webcast
|This article is reprinted from the Fall 2005 issue of FIDELIO Magazine.
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Fidelio, Vol. XIV,
No, 3. Fall 2005
On July 2, 2005, Schiller Institute chorus director John Sigerson and LYM members Jenny Kreingold, Megan Beets, and MyHoa Steger, all of whom are involved in leading the LaRouche Youth Movement music work, appeared on the Internet radio program, The LaRouche Show. The broadcast was hosted by Harley Schlanger, Lyndon LaRouches western states spokesperson. Before introducing his guests, Schlanger began with a review of the weeks strategic developments. The LaRouche Show airs weekly on Saturdays from 3 to 4 pm (eastern time).
Harley Schlanger: Some of our listenes might wonder, with this weeks hot, breaking developments, why we are 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, which 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 motet 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: John, 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: Yes, I manage.
Schlanger: ... Lyndon LaRouche has written extensively about his lifelong effort to revive the method of communicating ideas that we associate with the great Classical composers, 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 Dirichlets 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 youve undertaken, and what discoveries have you made in this process?
Sigerson: Well, its been a long process. Ive worked with Lyn for well over 30 years now, on these matters, and struggled with these questions of actually, all the way back to 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 world, since I grew up in the counterculture, where I was inundated with the argument that music 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 runthis 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 be, and really, the only fundamental measure of something that is truth, or truthful, has to be, something related to the increase of mankinds potential. At 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 were talking about here, is this case of potential. That is, something that increases the power of mankind over the Biosphereto use the Vernadskian term for that. The power of the Noösphere over the Biosphere. And, when youre talking about music, LaRouches latest discussions of the Vernadsky principle in the recent article really helps clarify it. Because, when youre dealing with scientific work, creative scientific work, youre dealing with the questions relating to the question of the Noöspheres action on the Biosphere.
When youre dealing with musical work, its really the same principles involved. But, what youre dealing with here is the operations of the Noösphere, on the Noösphere. That is, youre 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 dont know exactly what you mean by the concept Noösphere. Why dont you just fill them in on that?
Sigerson: Right. Vernadsky has an idea, a 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 theyre guided by quite different principles, the highest principle being that of the Noösphere. And Vernadsky makes the argument that increasingly over the history of the development of the Solar System, the Noöspherewhat you might call, or what some philosophers called, the metaphysical realmhas come increasingly to predominate over the entire Solar System, and potentially and implicitly, over further parts of our universe as well.
So, the Noösphere is the sumnot just the sum, but the unityof 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 argueeven people who are relatively intelligentwho 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. For instance, if you had a piece of the kind of background music you hear on the television all the time, and so forth, you could say, Yes, that indeed is totally arbitrary. So, it really revolves around what youre talking about, when youre talking about real music.
What were talking about with music, is Classical music based on Classical principles of art. These are the same principles that govern the discovery of physical principles. You see, people have an odd idea about what a principle is. They think that a principlelike 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 machine Obviously not. Leibniz makes this point, that what youre looking at, is the organization of that machine, the internal organization of that machine, which makes it do something that the individual parts couldnt 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 cant touch musical notes.
Sigerson: I dont quite get your ...
Schlanger: Well, people would say: Theres something tangible in science, but when youre talking about truthfulness in music ...
Sigerson: Well, what Im saying is, is that 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 thats precisely the essence of something which is an idea itself. This 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 weve got in music, because what were dealing with in music are forms of forms. 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 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 dont 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 well discuss after we hear this; and then, how you worked with the chorus. Then well 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 dont 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 at 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
but, you have three other parts, because this is polyphonythat is, it has many voices, in this case, 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, youve got 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?thats the best way to term it. Which indicates a kind of an ironical mode, which is neither the major nor the minor mode that youre 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 I wanted to point out is, that if you listen to the next piecesome people may just call it a dissonance, but thats sort of beside the point. Its a Lydian cross-reference:
In the next piece that youre going to hear, which is a little bit further on, Bach takes 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 dem alten Drachen, or Despite the Old Dragon. And on 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:
Okay. You hear that [sings interval on Trotz]:
Thats that interval, which creates that very?you might call it unstable sense. And these things, even though you might not be able to hear them as clearly as a trained musician can, 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: 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 for 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: Well, Lyn describes that Id just like to read you a quote from his Vernadsky piece, which I think is helpful, 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 Noösphere, 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 were 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 Id like to do, is bring our youth panelists into the discussion. First of all, let me bring in the two panelists from Boston, Jenny Kreingold and Megan Beets. How are you Welcome to the show.
You two have been involved in a project in Boston, where youve been working with the chorus, including with John. Jenny, why dont you just tell us a little bit about what youve been doing?
Jenny Kreingold: Well, weve been up here in Boston for about a year now, since the Boston [Democratic National] Convention, and weve had a very intensive project focussed on the motet you just heard excerpts of. Theres a whole group of organizers here, who spent about three or four months, intensively learning this motet. And now, were at the point, because people have a really good sense of the motet, now we can really dive into understanding Bachs method. So weve been doing a couple things here to accentuate that work.
There are a couple of things weve been working on. We just finished a series on looking at Bachs Musical Offering, where every week we were investigating different kinds 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 who were meeting, involved in that process.
One of the key aspects to the development especially in this Bach piece, is that its actually rather difficult technically. Some parts of it are very difficult, especially some of the tenor lines. One of the key aspects, of course, which LaRouche is always hitting on, is the development of the bel canto singing voice. So, weve been doing some intensive work on that here. John has been coming up once a month, working with us, and weve 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 youre talking about people working on this: These are full-time LaRouche youth organizers, right?
Kreingold: 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, we try to introduce them to, or at least give them a sense of the beauty of their own voice. Youd be surprised at how quickly somebody can actually discover that they have a voice!
Schlanger: Were 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. ...
Now, we also have from the Boston LaRouche Youth Movement, 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 were 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 a lot on the street when we organize. We came up here, right after the Boston Conventionthis 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. 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 were something different than they thought.
You know, it has a certain emotional effect on people coming into our office. The beauty of Bachits pretty inspiring. And so, weve had a lot of breakthroughs with new people coming around, who have very quickly made breakthroughs with their voices.
Schlanger: I know one of the places we organize is outside the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Are we starting to get through some of those hard-heads there?
Beets: Definitely! Weve 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: Yes, definitely. Berklee is a place where weve recruited?we recruited some students from there. But, whenever we would go out there and organize as a 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. John 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 weve never had here before, especially with the Jesu, soon after he left. So, it was about three weeks. And what we did after John left, was mostly what the chorus discovered during the period he was here, which was how to really become transparent in a chorus. So, we took his lead and we really worked hard, and very rigorously, on the ideas he had proposed in the chorus sessions, and it worked out great with the concert.
Schlanger: So, were 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. But 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. This is when youve got your ghouls and goblins that come out, people who just go to strip clubs, and to the local nightclubs. But we went in with a very specific intention of elevating the individuals minds, who 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 about 25 to 30 people. And probably the most memorable point was when we created a chorus, we actually lined a chorus outside of a strip club, because there were tons of people outside waiting to get in line. I just got a glimpse, because I was conducting and couldnt really see what was happening behind me, but people in the chorus were reporting to me, that they could just see the changes on peoples faces. There was even a couple who were walking into the strip club, and the girl wouldntshe didnt 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 which you can begin to see, or the potential changes, which 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 youve done, your sense of being able to tap into something that doesnt exist in the culture. Both the people who have training, and no training. Whats your sense of the potential?
Sigerson: The big difference between this generation and my generation is, that my generation I grew up in a musical climate around New York, and it was a generation of know-it-alls. Everybody thought they had it all 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, Beethoven is the greatest music! And I said, Well, why dont you write like Beethoven? And he said, Well, I could, but I just dont feel like it. Right! [laughter] And I mean, that 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 to it, 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 dont they But the fact of the matter is, they really cant. Theyre bluffing.
But, whats refreshing about the youth generation, is the fact that they really dont have those pretenses. They dont know?in many cases, theyre coming from a standpoint of knowing that everything that theyve been given is garbage. In school, especially, everything is garbage. Which is different, because back in the 60s, it was not all garbage that we were given. There 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 a 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 dont 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 e-mail here from someone listening to the show, which I?m going to summarize a bit. The author identifies herself as a poet and an artist, and she raises a questionits about Glenn Gould, but I dont 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 youre discussing, actually does get at this deeper question.
Now, Id like to use this e-mail 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 youd just talk that a bit.
Sigerson: Well, to 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 youre looking at these art forms, youre 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.
People are constantly coming up to us now, as the LaRouche movements influence is growing, with this individual issue, and that individual issue. And, in some cases, theyre right. But, as LaRouche will always tell them, Well, youre right, but youre wrong: because youre not grasping the ironies involved in 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 youre talking to people about, in that ironical way, you?ll always fall 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 cites this image from Schiller, of someone leaving the theater a better person than he was coming in. Its through the encounter, the development, the stimulation in their mind of the ability to recognize these ironical juxtapositions.
Sigerson: Yes, and to feel potent as a human individual. Not to feel like somehow, youre the victim of anonymous forces, which are acting on you. But, youre actually?youre not a victim of the gods, but rather, youre acting like Prometheus, a Prometheus who says, No, these gods are not running the show. I know that there is within me a principle that lives, that is beyond those anonymous gods who seem to be calling the shots. That 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 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 e-mail here, Johnwell get back to the LYM panel in a momentbut we have an e-mail from a collaborator in Denmark, Michelle Rasmussen, from the Schiller Institute in Denmark, who in fact wrote an interesting article several years ago 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 is, Can you please discuss LaRouches idea of modality And how that is expressed in Jesu, meine Freude, or in 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 accumulated 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 done. Frankly, it means a wayin a certain sense, its related mathematically to a function. That is, a 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 modalities are clusters of both combinations of modes, and also there are rhythmical elements involved in that. So, when youre dealing with something like Jesu, meine Freude, usually what you have in many of these great Classical pieces, youre talking about a modality which encompasses at least two, or possibly three or even more types of modes. In the Jesu, meine Freude, youve 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 you?at the beginning of the piece and also going into the Trotz, where the relationship is reversedif you think of that as a unit, then youve 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 youre saying, that one of the things that were talking about, is why Bruce Director was saying on the show recently, that when you look at this question of the development of the principle of modality, youre beginning to look at the same kind of complexity that you find in Dirichlets 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, there are 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 is?but it is a 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 Im going to bring back the LYM panel members, and I?m sure they have questions, also, that theyd like to add. Jenny, do you have something else?
Kreingold: Well, I could just point out, that 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, as John was talking about in the beginning, as you would think it is. Because theres a certain positive effect that it has immediately, and young people actually see that.
One thing I wanted to add, was the case of a young lady, who is actually an Israeli refusenik. She had been coming around our movement for a while. And she came into a rehearsal, and she heard us singing the Jesu, meine Freude, and she was completely moved by it. Because she doesnt really have access to music like 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 amongst people with no futurethe idea that, when they discover that through studying questions, really working on principles of science and music, and then the relationship to politics, that, as John said, earlier, one person can have an effect on the entire worldtheres a hunger to find that, isnt there?
Kreingold: Oh, yes, completely. Most people who were meeting want to figure out this music question in some way. Its really paradoxical for people, who see us out organizing, 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 another member of the LaRouche Youth Movement there in Washington, D.C., Jennifer Chaine, who spent the past week saturating the Congress with the recent transcripts of Lyns June 16 webcast. 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 this question of cross-voicing.
Sigerson: Well, 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 the musical instruments?which are dead thingsproperly handled, can be made living only if theyre singing, if theyre imitating, and replicating?not note for note, but replicating the way the human voice works.
Cross-voices are all over the place, once you deal with polyphony. I think the question being asked is, how do you distinguish, how do you say, this cross-voice is important, and that one isnt?
Well, first of all, you have to stand back, and look at a whole piece, and think about it as a personality. The way 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 wont have as much difficulty in locating those particular cross-voices which are the ones that make that piece unique. You will generally find these associated with shifts in register, or sudden movements across voices, as opposed to within a particular voice (although, sometimes they are 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. Dont work from the bottom up.
Schlanger: Working from the bottom up is never a good idea!
Well, were 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 theyre also available through Fidelio magazine, which has had a series of articles in the last decade taking up these questions. And I think, John, based on the interest weve had from the e-mails, we?ll have to do this again, because obviously there is a hunger to understand what it is people are hearing, when they listen to Classical music.
Sigerson: Sure! Well, the big question is?and 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: Yes, right. Which is: Okay, we had Beethoven, we had Brahms, and so forth. Weve 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 e-mail, asking about that. I?m going to forward you, or make sure you get these e-mails, John. There are more coming in.
Megan, did you have anything else you want to bring up For those who dont know, Megan did a wonderful presentation at a national conference a few years ago, a parody of a Music 101 course, on why you cant compose using rules. And Lyn referred to it as Megans Revenge. Megan, go ahead.
Beets: I want to bring up, the reason that we began working on the Jesu, meine Freude in the first place?I think it was about a year and a half, or two years ago?was, that LaRouche was getting a lot of questions from members of the Youth Movement saying, Okay, were discovering these profound ideas with Gauss, and the science work?but, how do we communicate these to the population? And so, he responded by assigning us the Jesu, meine Freude.
And, I want 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 youre participating in a chorus rehearsal, working on a piece of this magnitude, you have First of all, each of the voices in this motet has a unique personality. So, if youre singing the soprano voice, your mind can follow a certain development of your voice, but youre 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 youre 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 theyre participating in a profound process, reliving the mind of Bach; but youre 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 onethat the idea of polyphony is one which people really need to think about and work on.
MyHoa, anything more from you?
Steger: Yes, actually, I had a question for John. But, just to comment on what Megan and Jenny have been saying about this social dynamic within the chorus: Weve really been working very hard on the idea of getting everybody to know each others voices, and then the personality of all of the voices, soprano, alto, tenor, bass. And weve 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, were 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 about with musical insight. Weve been having discussions on that here. I dont 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 developing insight, is that youve got to have a certain kind of humility with respect to these great composers, Beethoven, Bach, Schubert, and so forth. Youve got to really approach them with a great deal of humility, and realize that youve got a tremendous amount to learn from them. And never get so full of your own ideas, that you wont do that. I would also say that thats also the case, with relationship to Lyndon LaRouche, personally. 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, and if you only master them, then theres a lot of insight 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 youre 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, and then through Plato, Cusa, and so on.
John, Id like to thank you, and thank our panelists, today. This has been an interesting discussion. I wasnt sure how we could actually talk about music on a show, but I think it gave people a lot to think about.
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