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The Ideas Of Wagner

( Originally Published 1920 )



BY ARTHUR SYMONS.

IN "The Art-work of the Future," Wagner defines art as "an immediate vital act," the expression of man, as man is the expression of nature. "The first and truest fount of Art reveals itself in the impulse that urges from Life into the work of art; for it is the impulse to bring the unconscious, instinctive principle of Life to understanding and acknowledgment as Necessity." "Art is an inbred craving of the natural, genuine, and uncorrupted man," not an artificial product, and not a product of mind only, which produces science, but of that deeper impulse which is unconscious. From this unconscious impulse, this need, come all great creations, all great inventions; conscious intellect does but exploit and splinter those direct impulses which come straight from the people. The people alone can feel "a common and collective want"; without this want there can be no need; without need no necessary action; where there is no necessary action, caprice enters, and caprice is the mother of all unnaturalness. Out of caprice, or an imagined need, come luxury, fashion, and the whole art-traffic of our shameless age. "Only from Life, from which alone can even the need for her grow up, can Art obtain her matter and her form; but where Life is modelled upon fashion, Art can never fashion anything from Life."

In his consideration of art Wagner sets down two broad divisions: art as derived directly from man, and art as shaped by man from the stuff of nature. In the first division he sets dance (or motion), tone, and poetry, in which man is himself the subject and agent of his own artistic treatment; in the second, architecture, sculpture, and painting, in which man "extends the longing for artistic portrayal to the objects of surrounding, allied, ministering Nature."

The ground of all human art is bodily motion. Into bodily motion comes rhythm, which is "the mind of dance and the skeleton of tone." Tone is "the heart of man, through which dance and poetry are brought to mutual understanding." This organic being is "clothed upon with the flesh of the world." Thus, in the purely human arts, we rise from bodily-motion to poetry, to which man adds himself as singer and actor; and we have at once the lyric art-work out of which comes the perfected form of lyric drama. This, as he conceives it, is to arise when "the pride of all three arts in their own self-sufficiency shall break to pieces and pass over into love for one another." Attempts, it is true, have been made to combine them, conspicuously in opera; but the failure of opera comes from a compact of three egoisms," without mutual giving as well as taking.

The limits of dance are evident; mere motion can go no further than pantomime and ballet. What, then, are the limits of tone? Harmony is the unbounded sea; rhythm and melody, in which dance and poetry regain their own true essence, are the limiting shores to this unbounded sea. Yet, within the confines of these shores, the sea is for ever tossing, for ever falling back upon itself. Christianity first set bounds to it with words, "the toneless, fluid, scattering word of the Christian creed." When the limits of this narrow word were broken, and the sea again let loose, an arbitrary measure was set upon it from without, counterpoint, "the mathematics of feeling," the claim of tone to be an end in itself, unrelated to nature, a matter of the intellect instead of a voice of the heart. Life, however, was never extinct, for there arose the folk-tune, with its twin-born folk-song; which, however, was seized upon by the makers of music and turned into the "aria": "not the beating heart of the nightingale, but only its warbling throat." Then, out of that unending source, bodily motion, expressed in the rhythm of the dance, came the final achievement of instrumental music, the symphony, which is made on the basis of the harmonized dance. Beethoven carries instrumental music to the verge of speech, and there pauses; then, in the Ninth Symphony, in which he calls in the word, "redeems music out of her own peculiar element into the realm of universal art." Beyond what Beethoven has there done with music, "no further step is possible, for upon it the perfect art-work of the future alone can follow, the universal drama to which he has forged for us the key."

But poetry, has that also its limits? Literary poetry still exists, even the literary drama, written, as Goethe wrote it, from outside, as by one playing on a lifeless instrument; even "the unheard-of drama written for dumb reading!" But poetry was once a living thing, a thing spoken and sung; it arose from the midst of the people, and was kept alive by them, alike as epic, lyric, and drama. "Tragedy flourished for just so long as it was inspired by the spirit of the people," and, at its greatest moment, among the Greeks, "the poetic purpose rose singly to life upon the shoulders. of the arts of dance and tone, as the head of the full-fledged human being." Where we see tragedy supreme in Shakespeare and music supreme in Beethoven, we see two great halves of one universal whole. It remains for the art of the future to combine these two halves in one ; and, in the process of joining, all the other arts, those arts not derived directly from man but shaped by man from the stuff of nature, will find their place, as they help towards the one result.

The sections which follow, dealing with architecture, sculpture, and painting, form a special pleading to which it is hardly necessary to give much attention. Each art may indeed legitimately enough be utilized in the production and performance of such an art-work as Wagner indicates, and as he actually produced and performed; architecture building the theatre, sculpture teaching man his own bodily beauty and the beauty and significance of his grouping and movement on the stage, and painting creating a landscape which shall seem to set this human figure in the midst of nature itself. 1n going further than this, in asserting that sculpture is to give place to the human body, and painting to limit itself to the imitation of nature as a background of stage-scenery for the actor, we see the German? We see also the propagandist, who has a doctrine to prove; perhaps the enthusiast, who has convinced himself of what he desires to believe. In his conclusion of the whole matter he goes one step further, and identifies the poet and the performer; then finds in the performer "the fellowship of all the artists," and, in that fellowship, the community of the people, who, having felt the want, have found out the way. "The perfectly artistic performer is therefore the unit man extended to the essence of the human species by the utmost evolution of his own particular nature. The place in which this wondrous process comes to pass is the theatric stage; the collective art-work which it brings to the light of day, the Drama."

In a letter to Berlioz, written in 1860, Wagner reminds his critic, who has chosen to fasten upon him the title, "Music of the Future" (the hostile invention of a Professor Bischoff, of Cologne), that the essay was written at a time when "a violent crisis in his life" (the Revolution of 1848, and his exile from Germany) had for a time with-drawn him from the practice of his art. "I asked myself," he says, "what position Art should occupy towards the public, so as to inspire it with a reverence that should never be profaned; and, not to be merely building castles in the air, I took my stand on the position which art once occupied towards the public life of the Greeks." In the thirty thousand Greeks assembled to listen to a tragedy of AEschylus he found the one ideal public; and, in the whole situation, a suggestion towards an art which should be no pedantic revival of that, but a similar union of the arts, in the proportions demanded by their present condition and by the present condition of the world. For, as no one has realized more clearly, there is no absolute art-work; but each age must have its own art-work, as that of the preceding age ceases to be living and becomes monumental. "The Shakespeare who can alone be of value to us is the ever new creative poet who, now and in all ages, is to that age what Shakespeare was to his own age."

"Opera and Drama," which closely followed "The Art-work of the Future," was written at Zurich in four months; it fills 376 large pages in Mr. Ellis's translation. In a letter to Uhlig, written January 20, 1851, Wagner says : "The first part is the shortest and easiest, perhaps also the most entertaining; the second goes deeper, and the third goes right to the bottom." In the dedication to the second edition, written in 1868, he says : "My desire to get to the bottom of the matter and to shirk no detail that, in my opinion, might make the difficult subject of Festhetic analysis intelligible to simple feeling, betrayed me into a stubbornness of style which, to the reader who looks merely for entertainment, and is not directly interested in the subject itself, is extremely likely to seem a bewildering diffuseness." And the translator confesses that no other of Wagner's prose works has given him half so much difficulty as the third and portions of the second part of "Opera and Drama"; for in them, as he says, "we are presented with a theory absolutely in the making."

"Opera and Drama" is an attempt to state, in minute particulars, what "The Art-work of the Future" stated in general terms. It is based upon a demonstration of the fundamental error in the construction of opera: "that a means of expression (music) has been made the end, while the end of expression (drama) has been made a means." How fatal have been the results of this fundamental error can be realized only when it is seen how many of the greater musicians have thus spent their best energies in exploring a labyrinth which does but lead back, through many vain wanderings, to the starting-point.

The musical basis of opera was the aria, i.e., "the folk-song as rendered by the art-singer before the world of rank and quality, but with its word-poem left out and replaced by the product of the art-poet composed to that end." The performer was rightly the basis of the performance, but a basis set awry; for the performer was chosen only for his dexterity in song, not for his skill as an actor. Dance and dance-tune, "borrowed just as waywardly from the folk-dance and its tune as was the operatic aria from the folk-song, joined forces with the singer in all the sterile immiscibility of unnatural things." Between these alien elements a shifting plank-bridge was thrown across, recitative, which is no more than the intoning of the Church, fixed by ritual into "an arid resemblance to, without the reality of, speech," and varied a little by musical caprice for the convenience of opera.

This unsound structure was untouched by the theory and practice of Gluck, whose "revolution" was now more than revolt on the part of the composer against the domination of the singer. The singer was made to render more faithfully the music which the composer set before him; but the poet "still looked up to the composer with the deepest awe," and no nearer approach was made to drama. In Spontini we see the logical filling out of the fixed forms of opera to their fullest extent. Along these lines nothing further can be done; it is for the poet to step into the place usurped by the musician. The poet did nothing, but still continued to work to order, not once daring to pursue a real dramatic aim. He contented himself with stereotyped phrases, the make-believe of rhetoric, straitened to the measure of the musician's fixed forms, knowing that to make his characters speak "in brief and definite terms, surcharged with meaning," would have caused his instant dismissal. Thus music, which in the nature of things can only be expression, is seen endeavoring to fill the place of that which is to be expressed, to be itself its own object. "Such a music is no longer any music, but a fantastic hybrid emanation from poetry and music, which, in truth, can only materialize itself as caricature."

Mozart's importance in the history of opera is this, that, taking the forms as he found them, he filled them with living music, setting whatever words were given him, and giving those words "the utmost musical expression of which their last particle of sense was capable." Had Mozart met a poet who could have given him the foundation for his musical interpretation, he would have solved the problem for himself, unconsciously, by mere sincerity to his genius for musical expression.

After Mozart, in whom form was nothing and the musical spirit everything, came imitators who fancied they were imitating Mozart when they copied his form. It was Rossini who showed how hollow that form really was, and he did so by reducing aria, the essence of opera, to its own real essence, melody. 1n the folk-song words and tune had always grown together; in the opera there had been always some pretence of characterization. Rossini abandoned everything but just "naked, ear-delighting, absolute, melodic melody," a delicious meaningless sound. "What reflection and aesthetic speculation had built up, Rossini's opera melodies pulled down and blew into nothing, like a baseless dream." Rossini gave every one what he wanted. He gave the singer what he wanted, display.; and the player what he wanted, again display; and the poet a long rest, and leave to rhyme as he chose. Above all he gave the public what it wanted : not the people, but that public which need only be named to be realized, the modern opera public. "With Rossini the real life-history of the opera comes to an end. 1t was at an end when the unconscious seed-ling of its being had evolved to naked and conscious bloom."

The one genuine, yet futile, attempt to produce living opera was the attempt of Weber, who saw in opera only melody, and who went to the true source, to the folk-song, for his melody. But he saw only the flower of the woods, and plucked it, taking it where it could but fade and die, because it had lost the sustenance of its root. On his heels came Auber, and then Rossini himself, who pilfered national melodies and stuck them together like a dressmaker giving variety to an old dress. The chorus came forward, and played at being the people; and there was "a motley, conglomerate surrounding, without a centre to surround." Music. tried to be outlandish, to express nothing, but in a more uncommon way. Opera became French, and, partly through a misunderstanding of Beethoven, neoromantic.

Until Beethoven had done what he did, no one could have been quite certain "that the expression of an altogether definite, a clearly intelligible individual content, was in truth impossible in this language that had only fitted itself for conveying the general character of an emotion" : the language, that is, of absolute music. Beethoven attempts "to reach the artistically necessary within an inartistically impossible"; he chooses, in music, a form which "often seems the mere capricious venting of a whim, and which, loosed from any purely musical cohesion, is only bound together by the bond of a poetic purpose impossible to render into music with full poetic plainness." Thus, much of his later work seems to be so many sketches for a picture which he could never make visible in all its outlines.

What in Beethoven was a "struggle for the discovery of a new basis of musical language," has been seized upon by later composers only in its external contrasts, excesses, inarticulate voices of joy and despair, and made the basis of a wholly artificial construction, in which "a programme reciting the heads of some subject taken from nature or human life was put into the hearer's hands; and it was left to his imaginative talent to interpret, in keeping with the hint once given, all the musical freaks that one's unchecked license might now let loose in motley chaos." Berlioz seized upon what was most chaotic in the sketchwork of Beethoven, and, using it as a misunderstood magic symbol, called unnatural visions about him. "What he had to say to people was so wonderful, so unwonted, so entirely unnatural, that he could never have said it out in homely, simple words; he needed a huge array of the most complicated machines in order to proclaim, by the help of many-wheeled and delicately-adjusted mechanism, what a simple human organism could not possibly have uttered, just because it was so entirely unhuman... Each height and depth of this mechanism's capacity has Berlioz explored, with the result of developing a positively astounding knowledge; and, if we mean to recognize the inventors of our present industrial machinery as the benefactors of modern State-humanity, then we must worship Berlioz as the veritable saviour of our world of absolute music; for he has made it possible to musicians to pro-duce the most wonderful effect from the emptiest and most inartistic content of their music-making, by an unheard-of marshalling of mere mechanical means."

In Berlioz, Wagner admits, "there dwelt a genuine artistic stress," but Berlioz was but a "tragic sacrifice." His orchestra was annexed by the opera-composer; and its "splintered and atomic melodies" were now lifted from the orchestra into the voice itself. The result was Meyerbeer, who, when Wagner wrote, could be alluded to, without need of naming, as the most famous opera-composer of modern times.

Weber, in "Euryanthe," had endeavored in vain to make a coherent dramatic structure out of two contradictory elements, "absolute, self-sufficing melody and unflinchingly true dramatic expression." Meyer-beer attempted the same thing from the standpoint of effect, and with the aid of the Rossini melody. Thus, while "Weber wanted a drama that could pass with all its members, with every scenic nuance, into his noble soulful melody, Meyerbeer, on the contrary, wanted a monstrous piebald, historico-romantic, diabolico-religious, fanaticolibidinous, sacro-frivolous, mysterio-criminal, autolyco-sentimental, dramatic hotch-potch, therein to find material for a curious chimeric music-a want which, owing to the indomitable buckram of his musical temperament, could never be quite suitably supplied."

In his summing-up of the whole discussion on opera and the nature of music, Wagner tells us that the secret of the barrenness of modern music lies in this, that music is a woman who gives birth but does not beget. "Just as the living folk-melody is inseparable from the living folk-poem, at pain of organic death, so can music's organism never bear the true, the living melody, except it first be fecundated by the poet's thought. Music is the bearing woman, the poet the begetter; and music had therefore reached the pinnacle of madness when she wanted not only to bear, but to beget" He now turns, therefore, to the poet.

The second part of "Opera and Drama" is concerned with "The Play, and the Nature of Dramatic Poetry." Wagner first clears the way of his theory by pointing out that when Lessing, in his "Laocoon," mapped out the boundaries of the arts, he was concerned, in poetry, only with that art as a thing to be read, even when he touches on drama; and that, figuring it as addressed wholly to the imagination, not to the sight and hearing, he was rightly anxious only to preserve its purity; that is, to make it as easy as possible for the imagination to grasp it. But, just as the piano is an abstract and toneless reduction backward through the organ, the stringed instrument, and the wind instrument, from the "oldest, truest, most beautiful organ of music," the human voice, so, if we trace back the literary drama, or indeed any form of poetry, we shall find its origin in the tone of human speech, which is one and the same with the singing tone.

Modern drama has a twofold origin : through Shakespeare from the romance, and through Racine from misunderstood Greek tragedy. At the time of the Renaissance poetry was found in the narrative poem, which had culminated in the fantastic romance of Ariosto. To this fantastic romance Shakespeare gave inner meaning and outward show; he took the inconsequential and unlimited stage of the mummers and mystery-players, narrowed his action to the limits of the spectator's attention, but, through the conditions of that stage, left the representation of the scene to the mind's eye, and thus left open a door to all that was vague and unlimited in romance and history. In France and Italy the drama, played, not before the people, but in princes' palaces, was copied externally from ancient drama. A fixed scene was taken as its first requirement, and thus an endeavor was made to construct from without inwards, "from mechanism to life"; talk on the scene, action behind the scene. Drama passed over into opera, which was thus "the premature bloom on an unripe fruit, grown from an unnatural, artificial soil."

It was in Germany, in whose soil the drama has never taken root, that a mongrel thing, which is still rampant on the European stage, came into being. When Shakespeare was brought over to Germany, where the opera was already in possession of the stage, an attempt was made to actualize his scenes, upon which it was discovered that dramatized history or romance was only possible so long as the scene need only be suggested. In the attempt to actualize Shakespeare's mental pictures, all the resources of mechanism were employed in vain; and the plays themselves were cut and altered in order to bring them within the range of a possible realistic representation. It was seen that the drama of Shakespeare could only be realized under its primitive conditions, with the scene left wholly to the imagination. Embodied, it became, so far as embodiment was possible, "an unsurveyable mass of realisms and actualisms."

It therefore remained evident that the nature of romance can never wholly correspond with the nature of drama; that, as an art in which drama was at once its inner essence and its embodied representation, the drama of Shakespeare remained, as a form, imperfect. The result of this consciousness was that the poet either wrote literary dramas for reading, or attempted an artificial reconstruction of the antique. Such was the drama of Goethe and Schiller. Goethe, after repeated attempts, produces his only organic work in "Faust," which is dramatic only in form, and in "Wilhelm Meister," which returns frankly to romance. Schiller "hovers between heaven and earth" in an attempt to turn history into romance and romance into classical drama. Both, and all that resulted from both, prove "that our literary drama is every whit as far removed from the genuine drama as the pianoforte from the symphonic song of human voices; that in the modern drama we can arrive at the production of poetry only by the most elaborate devices of literary mechanism, just as on the pianoforte we only arrive at the production of music through the most complicated devices of technical mechanism-in either case, a soulless poetry, a toneless music."

The stuff of the modern drama, then, being romance, what is the difference between this romance and the myth which was the stuff of ancient Greek drama? Myth Wagner defines as "the poem of a life-view in common," the instinctive creation of the imagination of primitive man working upon his astonished and uncomprehending view of natural phenomena. "The incomparable thing about the mythos is that it is true for all time, and its content, how close soever its compression, is inexhaustible throughout the ages." The poet's business was merely to expound the myth by expressing it in action, an action which should be condensed and unified from it, as it, in its turn, had been a condensation and unification of the primitive view of nature.

The romance of the Middle Ages is derived from the mingling of two mythic cycles, the Christian legend and the Germanic saga. Christian legend can only present pictures, or, transfigured by music, render moments of ecstasy, which must remain "blends of color with-out drawing." The essence of drama is living action, in its progress towards a clearly defined end; whereas Christianity, being a passage through life to the transfiguration of death, "must perforce begin with the storm of life, to weaken down its movement to the final swoon of dying out." The Germanic saga begins with a myth older than Christianity, then, when Christianity has seized upon it, be-comes "a swarm of actions whose true idea appears to us unfathomable and capricious, because their motives, resting on a view of life quite alien to the Christian's, had been lost to the poet." Foreign stuffs are patched upon it; and it becomes wholly unreal and outlandish, a medley of adventures, from whose imaginary pictures, how-ever, men turned to track them in reality, by voyages of discovery, and by the scientific discoveries of the intellect. Nature, meanwhile, unchanged, awaits a new interpretation.

The first step in this interpretation is to seize and represent actual things as they are, individually. History comes forward with a more bewildering mass of material than fancy had ever found for itself; and from this tangle of conditions and surroundings the essence of the man is to be unravelled. This can be done by the romance writer, not by the dramatist. The drama, which is organic, presupposes all those surroundings which it is the business of the romance writer to develop before us. The romance writer works from without in-wards, the dramatist from within outwards. And now, going one step further, and turning to actual life as it exists before our eyes, the poet can no longer "extemporize artistic fancies"; he can only render the whole horror of what lies naked before him; "he needs only to feel pity, and at once his passion becomes a vital force." Actual things draw him out of the contemplation of actual things; the poem turns to journalism, the stuff of poetry becomes politics.

It was Napoleon who said to Goethe that, in the modern world, politics play the part of fate in the ancient world. "The Greek Fate is the inner nature-necessity, from which the Greek-because he did not understand it-sought refuge in the arbitrary political state. Our Fate is the arbitrary political state, which to us shows itself as an outer necessity for the maintenance of society; and from this we seek refuge in the nature-necessity, because we have learnt to understand the latter, and have recognized it as the conditionment of our being and all its shapings." In the myth of Oedipus is seen a prophetic picture of the "whole history of mankind from the beginnings of society to the inevitable downfall of the state." The modern state is a necessity of an artificial and inorganic kind; it is not, as society (arising from the family, and working through love rather than through law) should rightly be, "the free self-determining of the individuality." Within these artificial bounds of the state only thought is free; and the poet who would render the conflict of the individual and of the state must content himself with appealing to the understanding; he cannot appeal to the understanding through the feeling. Dramatic art is "the emotionalizing of the intellect," for, in drama, the appeal is made directly to the senses and can completely realize its aim. "In drama, therefore, an action can only be explained when it is completely justified by the feeling; and it is thus the dramatic poet's task not to invent actions but to make an action so intelligible through its emotional necessity that we may altogether dispense with the intellect's assistance in its justification. The poet, therefore, has to make his main scope the choice of the action, which he must so choose that, alike in its character and in its compass, it makes possible to him its entire justification by the feeling, for in this justification alone resides the reaching of his aim." This action he cannot find in the present, where the fundamental relations are no longer to be seen in their simple and natural growth; nor in the past, as recorded by history, where an action can only become intelligible to us through a detailed explanation of its surroundings. It must be found in a new creation of myth, and this myth must arise from a condensation into one action of the image of all man's energy, together with his recognition of his own mood in nature-nature apprehended, not in parts by the understanding, but as a whole by the feeling. This strengthening of a moment of action can only be, achieved "by lifting it above the ordinary human measure through the poetic figment of wonder." "Poetic wonder is the highest and most necessary product of the artist's power of beholding and displaying. . . . It is the fullest understanding of Nature that first enables the poet to set her phenomena before us in wondrous shaping : for only in such shaping do they become intelligible to us as the conditronments of human actions intensified." The motives which tend towards this supreme moment of action are to be condensed and absorbed into one; and from this one motive "all that savors of the particular and accidental must be taken away, and it must be given its full truth as a necessary, purely human utterance of feeling."

Only in tone-speech can this fully realized utterance of feeling be made. Modern speech, alike in prose and in the modern form of verse, in which "Stabreim," or the root alliteration by which words were once fused with melody, has given place to end-rhyme ("fluttering at the loose ends of the ribands of melody"), is no longer able to speak to the feeling, but only to the understanding, and this through a convention by which we "dominate our feelings that we may demonstrate to the understanding an aim of the understanding." Speech, therefore, has shrunk to "absolute intellectual speech," as music has shrunk to "absolute tone-speech." The poet can thus only adequately realize his "strengthened moments of action" by a speech proportionately raised above its habitual methods of expression. Tone-speech is this "new, redeeming, and realizing tongue"; tone-speech not separately made, an emotional expression ungoverned by this aim (as we see it in modern opera), but tone-speech which is the fullest expression of this aim, and thus "the expression of the most deeply roused human feelings, according to their highest power of self-expression."

Wagner now passes, in the third part, to a consideration of "The Arts of Poetry and Tone in the Drama of the Future." He begins by pointing out in minute detail, through the physiology of speech (the actual making of speech by breath), that it is only from a heightening of ordinary speech, and not from the recognized prosody of verse, that we can hope to find the means of ultimate expression; and that, our language having lost all direct means of emotional appeal, we must go back to its very roots before we can fit it to combine with that tone-speech which does possess such an appeal. He shows that the metre of Greek choric verse can only properly be understood by taking into account its musical accompaniment, by which a long-held note could be justified to the ear. That these lyrics were written to fixed tunes, tunes probably fixed by dance movements, is evident from the great elaboration of a rhythm which could never have arisen directly out of the substance of poems so largely grave and philosophic. The oldest lyric arises out of tone and melody, in which human emotion at first uttered itself in the mere breathing of the vowels, then through the individualization of the vowels by consonants. In a word-root we have not only the appeal to thought of that root's meaning, but also the sensuous appeal of the open sound which is its "sensuous body" and primal substance. Tone, with its appeal to feeling, begins by passing into the word, with its appeal to the understanding; the final return is that of the word, through harmony, to that tone-speech in which the understanding is reached through the feeling, and both are satisfied.

Primitive melodies rarely modulate from one key into another; and, if we wish to address the feeling intelligibly through tone alone, we must "return to this simplicity of key. This Beethoven did in the melody to which he set Schiller's verse in the Ninth Symphony; but if we compare this, in its original form, with the broad melodic structure of the musical setting of the line, "Seid umschlungen, Millionen !" we shall see the whole difference between a melody which is made separately and, so to speak, laid upon the verse, and a melody which grows directly out of the verse itself. It is the poetic aim which causes and justifies modulation, for by it the change and gradation of emotion can be rendered intelligible to the feeling. Harmony is "the bearing element which takes up the poetic aim solely as a begetting seed, to shape it into finished semblance by the prescripts of its own, its womanly organism." Modern music has taken harmony as sufficient in itself, and by so doing has but "worked bewilderingly and benumbingly upon the feeling." The tone-poet must, instead, add to a melody, conditioned by its speaking verse, the harmony implicitly contained therein. Now "harmony is in itself a thing of thought; to the senses it becomes first actually discernible as polyphony, or, to define it still more closely, as polyphonic symphony." This, for the purposes of the drama, cannot be supplied by vocal symphony, because each voice, in a perfectly proportioned action, can but be the expression of an individual character, present on the stage for his own ends, and not as a mere vocal support for others. "Only in the full tide of lyric outpour, when all the characters and their surroundings have been strictly led up to a joint expression of feeling, is there offered to the tone-poet a polyphonic mass of voices to which he may make over the declaration of his harmony." Only by the orchestra can it find expression, for the orchestra is "the realized thought" of harmony.

The timbre of the human voice can never absolutely blend with that of any instrument; it is the duty of the orchestra to subordinate itself to, and support, the vocal melody, never actually mingling with it. The orchestra possesses a distinct faculty of speech, "the faculty of uttering the unspeakable," or rather that which, to our intellect, is the unspeakable. This faculty it possesses in common with gesture, which expresses something that cannot be expressed in words. The orchestra expresses to the ear what gesture expresses to the eye, and both combined carry on or lead up to what the verse-melody expresses in words. It is able to transform thought ("the bond between an absent and a present emotion") into an actually present emotion. "Music cannot think, but she can materialize thoughts. A musical motive can produce a definite impression on the feeling, inciting it to a function akin to thought, only when the emotion uttered in that motive has been definitely conditioned by a definite object and proclaimed by a definite individual before our very eyes." The orchestra, then, can express foreboding or remembrance, and it can do this with perfect clearness and direct appeal to the emotions by the recurrence of a musical motive which we have already associated with a definite emotion, or whose significance is interpreted to us by a definite gesture. What has been called tone-painting in instrumental music is an attempt to do this by the suggestion of tones, or with the aid of a written programme; in either case by a "chilling" appeal to mere fancy in place of feeling. "The life-giving focus of dramatic expression is the verse-melody of the performer; towards it the absolute orchestral melody leads on, as a foreboding; from it is led the instrumental-motive's 'thought,' as a remembrance." In order to arrive at perfect unity of form and content there must be something more than a mere juxtaposition of poetic and musical expression, or the musician will have roused a feeling in vain, and the poet will have failed to fix this feeling incompletely roused. Unity can be secured only when the expression fully renders the content, and renders it unceasingly; and this can be done only when the poet's aim and the musician's expression are so blended that neither can be distinguished from the other, "the chief motives of the dramatic action having become distinguishable melodic moments which fully materialize their content, being moulded into a continuous" texture, binding the whole art-work together, and, in the final result, the orchestra so completely "guiding our whole attention away from itself as a means of expression, and directing it to the object expressed," that, in a sense, it shall not "be heard at all." Thus, at its height of realized achievement, "art conceals art."

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