The Science of Music
What Is Beauty, and Why Is It Necessary?
In his Kallias Letters on Beauty, Friedrich Schiller described the perfection of the human character to his friend Gottfried Körner as moral beauty, which arises when duty becomes nature. When a human being entirely forgets himself and fulfills his duty with the same effortlessness as if simple instinct were acting through him. Such human beings – such 'beautiful souls' – appear over and over again in history. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Joan of Arc and many others still inspire us today, and Schiller gives the artist the task of ennobling the public playfully and humorously. Beauty, he says, is 'freedom showing itself.' And the cultural work of the Schiller Institute emanates from this idea, beauty, which dwells within every great artist.
The crucial example of this was the Schiller Institute's campaign for the return of the musical (Verdi) tuning, middle C = 256 Hz, which hundreds of opera singers supported from 1986 onward, including, for example, Renata Tebaldi, Piero Cappuccilli, Christa Ludwig, Peter Schreier, Birgit Nilsson, Mirella Freni, Alfredo Kraus, Montserrat Caballe and Placido Domingo. The central subject of this campaign was the defense of the Classical tradition in the field of bel canto singing, for as Giuseppe Verdi himself wrote in February 1844, hisgreatest desire was for a uniform tuning for the entire musical world, whereby, due to the lower tuning, the sonority is more noble, fuller, more majestic, and not so shrill as with a higher tuning. Not accidentally, Giuseppe Verdi took precisely the dramas of Schiller as the subjects of some of his most beautiful operas. And just as little is it an accident that he fought for the tuning of C = 256 Hz and thus for the correct interpretation of the Classical works.
The campaign for the Verdi tuning led, on April 9, 1988, to an international musical symposium of the Schiller Institute in Milan, which clearly demonstrated the difference between the tuning of A = 440 Hz customary today (in Vienna, up to 448 Hz), and the natural Verdi tuning. In the process it was also important to show that the form of human creativity found in the natural sciences, is the same form which comes to fruition in the composition of Classical music. The truth that music and science are subject to the same laws becomes very clear, not only for the singing voice but also for instrument-making, with the problem of the shift in the change of register, or passagio.
The volumes contained in the famous Stradivari – 'Il Cremonese' – resonate to the highest degree with a tuning of C = 256 Hz, a tuning designated by the Italians as 'the scientific tuning.' Changes in violin building which aim at a higher tuning lead, says the International Institute for Violin Construction in Cremona, to damage to the sound color and interpretation. The primarius (first violin) of the renowned Amadeus String Quartet, Norbert Brainin, was a close friend of Lyndon and Helga Zepp-LaRouche, and supported the work for the 'scientific tuning,' by not only giving numerous master classes with the Schiller Institute in the 1990s on the subject of Classical 'Motivführung' (motivic thorough composition) and tuning, but also presenting many concerts himself.
Other great artists such as the baritone and Schiller Institute Board Member William Warfield, the pianist Sylvia Olden Lee and the Fisk Jubilee Singers also took part at that time in this growing movement for the revival of Classical art. They brought with them the deep tradition of the Black Civil Rights Movement in the U.S.A., and saw the efforts of the Schiller Institute as the continuation of their battle for justice and freedom.
Starting with the years 2000-2001, this work was taken up by the choruses of the Schiller Institute and LaRouche movement, in the U.S.A., France, and Germany as well as other locations. Selected works from the Classical repertoire were performed at numerous conferences of the Schiller Institute – including Johann Sebastian Bach's Jesu, meine Freude, Magnificat, and Mass in B-Minor, Mozart's Requiem, and the fourth movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony and his Choral Fantasy. The vocal training of these choruses was accompanied by the engagement of opera singers like Antonella Banaudi who sing and teach in the bel canto tradition.
The Schiller Institute has initiated a Community Chorus in New York City, as part of its 'Manhattan Project'. The Schiller Institute's idea of creating a New Paradigm which makes human creativity comprehensible, and mediating this through a social process, is just as vital for our endangered society as it is for Art. As Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. says, however, this shift in values can only come together with a specific quality of emotion, identified in the New Testament as 'agape,' 'caritas,' or 'love of mankind,' and which stands in stark contrast to the 'erotic' impulses of today's 'art.' The participation in beauty can be experienced in all the arts, whether in painting, architecture, poetry, or in drama, and in the Classical form it has contributed to the best that human civilization has achieved in its history.
Es ist nicht draussen, da sucht es der Tor,
Es ist in dir, du bringst es ewig hervor.
(It is not without, though the fool seeks it there,
But within you, and ever its fruits will you bear.)
Friedrich Schiller, Die Worte des Wahns (Words of Delusion)