Wonderful World of Wordlessness II

Hen­ning Rit­ter, long years chief edi­tor for huma­nities at Frank­fur­ter All­ge­mei­ne Zei­tung, wro­te about Leonardo’s Mona Lisa, that this pain­ting gives a psy­cho­lo­gi­cal enig­ma, who­se reso­lu­ti­on seems to be urged by the pain­ting its­elf, alt­hough it also seems to keep its non- dis­solva­bi­li­ty. This is why the pain­ting has pro­vo­ked rage, he sta­tes, “becau­se it shows some­thing, what exists only through its expo­sure, and which remains undis­c­lo­sed insi­de that expo­sure. The obser­ver finds him­s­elf in front of some­thing locked up, for which the key has been thrown away.

Ever­yo­ne, who tri­es to dis­c­lo­se the secrets of music, finds him­s­elf con­fron­ted with a same dilem­ma. Inde­ed, we are able to start a descrip­ti­on or any kind of ana­ly­sis of what we hear or read in the score, but who knows if we con­ver­ge the sub­s­tan­ce of the com­po­si­ti­on? Schön­berg has sup­po­sed­ly exc­lai­med when he saw the ana­ly­sis of the Eroi­ca by Schen­ker: “Whe­re are my favou­rite moments?”. This is of cour­se a wit­ting exag­ge­ra­ti­on – sin­ce Schen­ker has immen­se­ly con­tri­bu­t­ed to the dis­clo­sure of the sub­s­tan­ce of music by ana­ly­sis of the actu­al musi­cal mate­ri­al – but what sen­se would an ana­ly­sis make any­way if we were not using it for dis­clo­sing some­thing essen­ti­al by obser­ving the actu­al musi­cal mate­ri­al, hence for unvei­ling truth – given that we are still loo­king for truth in music?

Hence, the ques­ti­on ari­ses: what is lea­ding to essence, to truth in music? It is very tempt­ing to pur­sue this ques­ti­on, and in the end the ine­vi­ta­ble next ques­ti­on might not to be eva­ded, what music is – but latest the­re we would end at being caught up again in the smi­le of Mona Lisa.

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