I guai dell’avanguardia musicale

Interessante sentire un conservatore intelligente come Roger Scruton pronunciarsi sull’avanguardia musicale. Lo fa per esteso nel saggio THE MUSIC OF THE FUTURE.

Parte a razzo dal XIX secolo: per Richard Wagner aveva senso solo la musica proiettata nel futuro. Un’adamantina mentalità avanguardistica, sembrerebbe…

… In 1860 Wagner published a now famous pamphlet entitled The Music of the Future– Zukunftmusik. In it he expressed his view that it was not enough for music to be merely contemporary– zeitgenössisch; it had to be ahead of itself, summoning from the future the forms that already lay there in embryo…

La visione wagneriana si ispirava a Feuerbach e Hegel

… We should not forget, however, the wider context of Wagner’s argument. The obsession with the future comes from Ludwig Feuerbach, and ultimately from Hegel’s philosophy of history, which represents human events as motivated by the always-advancing logic of the dialectic. For Hegel history has a direction…

Per i due filosofi la dimensione del futuro era quella decisiva. Feurbach, per esempio, credeva in un miglioramento cumulativo

… The future, Feuerbach believed, is not merely a development of the past; it is better than the past…

Questa mentalità progressista ci contagia ancora oggi, almeno nelle arti…

… We spontaneously incline to the view that each artistic form and style must be superseded as soon as it appears, and that the true values of art require constant vigilance against the diseases of nostalgia and pastiche….

Tutti ricercano “originalità” e “autenticità“, ripetersi è l’errore da evitare.

Tuttavia, quando si passa dalle parole ai fatti, in Wagner la tradizione restava ben riconoscibile. La sua musica cresce organicamente su quella del passato, la grammatica di base resta la stessa…

… Wagner’s emphasis on the future of music was influenced by the Hegelian theory of history and Feuerbach’s use of it. But it was also rooted in a real sense of tradition and what tradition means…

Ma anche a parole Wagner è in fondo consapevole del suo debito

… Wagner was aware of this, and indeed dramatized the predicament of the modern composer in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, which is his own striking reflection on ‘tradition and the individual talent.’…

Nulla del genere nell’avanguardia radicale del dopo guerra. Lì non si fanno concessioni.

E Schoenberg è senz’altro  più vicino a Wagner che ai suoi nipotini…

… Right up until Schoenberg’s experiments with serialism, musical innovation in the realm of ‘classical’ music proceeded in Wagner’s way…

Ma la stessa cosa può dirsi per altri protagonisti dell’avanguardia storica…

… new rhythms and time-signatures were adopted, and with Stravinsky and Bartók organisation was inspired more by dance than by the classical forms….

Non fanno eccezione Debussy o Rimsky-Korsakov. Nessuno di loro, per quanto innovativo, è impegnato attivamente nel rigettare la tradizione.

Possiamo concludere che prima della seconda guerra, sia i classicisti che i modernisti, rientravano nel “solco”…

… Both the continuous development of the romantic symphony in Sibelius, Vaughan Williams, and Shostakovich, and the incorporation of modernist devices into the tonal language, lay within the scope of the existing language: these were developments that issued naturally from the pattern of musical discovery that has characterised Western classical music from the Renaissance…

Poi, la rottura.

Il passato doveva essere sfidato…

… modern works of music tend to be self-consciously part of an avant-garde, never content to belong to the tradition but always overtly and ostentatiously defying it;…

Il dogma diventava: azzerare la melodia e moltiplicare gli effetti sonori

… these works seem to be melodically impoverished, and even without melody entirely, relying on sound effects and acoustical experiments to fill the void where melody should be…

Un esempio…

Nathan Davies used live filtering to give the effect of resonators, extracting tones from white noise, and turning those tones towards music. The effect was undeniably striking, at times entrancing…

Il guaio di fondo in questo approccio:  la musica si compie nel nostro cuore, ma il mero effetto sonoro non ha alcun contenuto affettivo.

Non è la novità da sola che puo’ far prosperare la musica…

… It is only the loved and repeated repertoire that will ensure the survival of music…

Un repertorio consolidato e sempre rivisitato è essenziale.

Con un motto potremmo dire che necessitiamo di affetti più che di effetti

… Music exists in the ear of the listener, not on the page of the score, nor in the world of pure sound effects…

Il nuovo compositore, invece, è più filosofo che musicista

… a new kind of music has emerged which is less music than a reflection upon music, or perhaps even a reflection on the lack of music…

Ma perché siamo arrivati a questo punto? Bè, ci sono alcuni responsabili.

Innanzitutto il rifiuto ideologico della tonalità. Adorno ne è il principale responsabile…

… the radical attack on tonality by Theodor Adorno and his immediate followers. Although Adorno linked his argument to his advocacy of Schoenberg’s twelve-tone serialism, the force of the argument is largely negative…

Per un comunista come lui la critica all’ordine tonale equivaleva alla critica dell’ordine borghese…

… Adorno’s critique of tonality was part of a systematic theory of the death of bourgeois culture. Tonality had to die because the bourgeois order had to die…

La musica tonale si sarebbe esaurita producendo solo cliché

… the desire nevertheless to cling to tonality, in the manner of Sibelius or Copland, even in the manner of the neo-classical Stravinsky, is bound to lead, Adorno thought, to empty clichés or sterile kitsch…

Thomas Mann sollevò dubbi, ma nell’ambito specifico della musica passarono inosservati…

… Thomas Mann wrote a great novel about this, Doktor Faustus, meditating on the fate of Germany in the last century. Mann takes the tradition of tonal music as both a significant part of our civilisation, and a symbol of its ultimate meaning…

Seguì l’invenzione del serialismo

… the invention of serialism. I call this an invention, rather than a discovery, in order to record the wholly a priori nature of the serial system….

Si badi bene: invenzione (artificiale) non scoperta (naturale)…

… serial organisation was an invention– a set of a priori rules laid down by Schoenberg and adapted and varied by his successors. These rules were to provide a non-tonal grammar for music…

Con il serialismo il cervello soppianta l’orecchio

… Serialism asks us to hear in another way, with the brain rather than the ear in charge…

I capolavori seriali esistono ma sono tali per gli elementi antiserialisti che contengono…

… In a great serial composition, such as the Berg Violin Concerto, we hear harmonies, melodies, sequences, and rhythmical regularities, just as in the great works of the tonal tradition, and we do so because we are hearing against the serial order…

La serie fu poi estesa a tutti i parametri musicali trasformando la composizione in un enigma astratto…

… In a great serial composition, such as the Berg Violin Concerto, we hear harmonies, melodies, sequences, and rhythmical regularities, just as in the great works of the tonal tradition, and we do so because we are hearing against the serial order…

Paradossalmente, questi pezzi musicali iper-ordinati suonano come composizioni aleatorie: nelle une come nelle altre l’elemento umano è espulso…

… Randomisation had the same effect as serialisation, which was to deprive musical elements of their intrinsic ways of relating to each other…

La musica si trasforma da esperienza in concetto

… The effect of such innovations was to replace the experience of music by the concept of music…

Esempio: Gruppen di Stockhausen…

… The score is not a notation of musically organized sounds, but a mathematical proof, from which the sounds can be deduced as theorems…

La pittura, come sempre, ha anticipato la musica. E all’inizio è stato anche eccitante. Ma che noia, oggi…

… The eclipse of art by the concept of art occurred at around the same time in the visual arts, and for a while the game was amusing and intriguing…

Infine, c’è quanto dicevamo prima: l’effetto sonoro ha rimpiazzato i toni.

I precursori…

… Varèse, Pierre Schaeffer and their immediate successors awoke composers and audiences to the many new sounds, some of them produced electronically, that could enter the space of music without destroying its intrinsic order…

Ma cosa distingue un tono da un suono?…

… Sounds are objects in the physical world, albeit objects of a special kind whose nature and identity is bound up with the way they are perceived. Tones are what we hear in sounds when we hear the sounds as music….

Il tono è la realtà interiore del suono, porta con sè una lingua, delle emozioni, degli affetti. Il suono è solo una realtà fisica.

Non possiamo rinunciare ad un ordine e a una durata se vogliamo che la musica si articoli in un discorso e ci parli…

… Music goes up and down, it leads and follows; it is dense, translucent, heavy, light; it encounters obstacles and crashes through them, and sometimes it comes to an end which is the end of everything. Those metaphors, and the order derived from them, are shared by all musical people. The order that we hear is an order that we– the musical public– hear, when we hear these sounds as music…

L’effetto rumoristico può starci ma va addomesticato (contestualizzato)…

… Of course there are sound effects too: sounds from the real world intrude into music, like the unpitched sounds of the percussion section, or the recorded bird-song that intrudes into Respighi’s Pines of Rome. But when we hear these sounds as part of the music they change character….

Questo approccio “acustico” si riflette nell’insegnamento della musica…

… The intrusion of acoustical ways of thinking into the practice and teaching of music is something we owe to Boulez and Stockhausen, and to the educational practises that they established….

Prendiamo un’opera “senza capo nè coda” come “Momente” di Stockhausen…

… As Stockhausen himself says, this work has no real beginning and no end: like all his works it starts without beginning and finishes without ending…

Altro esempio di disconnessione temporale…

… The same is true of Boulez’s Pli selon pli, in which the exotic instrumentation and serial organisation do not conceal the fact that no moment in this work has any intrinsic connection to the moment that comes next…

Una cosa è certa: la musica occidentale precedente è sempre stata qualcosa di molto diverso…

… Music (music of our classical tradition included) has until now consisted of events that grow organically from each other, over a repeated measure and according to recognizable harmonic sequences….

Ma perché siamo arrivati a questo punto?

Una causa sta nel fatto che il pubblico è stato trascurato

… If avant-garde music is ever to step down from the world of concepts into the world of tones, then it will be because the audience exists in whose ears this transition can occur. Take away the audience and you take away the concrete reality of music as an art. You turn music into an arcane exercise in the acoustical laboratory, in which groups of patient instrumentalists pump out sounds according to formulae which mean nothing, since meaning lies in the ears that have fled from the scene…

Per tornare sulla retta via si frappongono alcuni ostacoli. Innanzitutto, l’onnipresenza della musica commerciale che abbassa la durata nell’attenzione dei giovani…

… By easy music I mean the ubiquitous products of pop and rock, which influence the ears and the attention-span of young people long before they can be captured by a teacher…. to offer serious music to such an audience you must also attract their attention. And this cannot be done without rhythms that connect to their own bodily perceptions. Serious composers must work on the rhythms of everyday life. Bach addressed listeners whose ears had been shaped by allemandes, gigues, and sarabands…

per aggirare il problema, forse un compromesso accettabile ci viene da soluzioni alla John Adams (ma di molti altri americani)…

… Adams lift the ostinato four in a bar of the Rock group into an orchestral empyrean, where the flat-footed dance gives way to a gravitationless rhythm that moves and develops with the harmony. Adams uses the tonal language, not to make the kind of profound statement of a Beethoven or a Bruckner, but nevertheless to lift the young ear out of its groove and to make it listen. There is a lesson to be taken from this, which is that music is tested in the ear of the listener and not in the laboratory, and the ear of the listener is plastic, moulded both by the surrounding culture and by the everyday sounds of life as it is now…

Altro problema: la presa di potere nelle accademie dei “cervellotici” avanguardisti…

Oggi, un burocrate che deve sganciare i sussidi rischia se non privilegia la musica cervellotica. Il timore viene anche dalle gaffe fatte in passato. L’esempio dei saloni d’arte dell’800…

… The history of the French salons in the 19th century, and of the early reactions to musical and literary modernism, has made people aware of how easy it is to miss the true creative product…

Sarà anche per questo complesso storico che in Francia la “gang” di Boulez spadroneggia da decenni…

… In a book published in 1995: Requiem pour une avant-garde, Benoît Duteurtre tells the story of the steady takeover by Boulez and his entourage of the channels of musical and cultural communication, and their way of establishing a dictatorship of the difficult at the heart of the subsidy machine. At the same time as vilifying his opponents and anathematising tonal music and its late offshoots in Duruflé and Dutilleux, Boulez achieved a cultural coup d’état, which was the founding of IRCAM…

Da qui il criterio prudenziale seguito dal burocrate per la spartizione dei sussidi…

… only if it sounds difficult, disturbing, ‘challenging,’ ‘transgressive’ could a bureaucrat dare to provide it with a subsidy…

Una via per non rompere con il passato è allora quella di dare più spazio al pubblico, a costo di tagliare i fondi…

… new music addressed to the musical public… It seems to me that, if there is, now, to be a music of the future it will, in that way, belong with the music of the past…

Che è poi la via americana: una musica colta non meno innovativa ma più “vendibile”, e quindi anche meno cervellotica, con un maggiore appello alle emozioni.

Luigi-Russolo-Ugo-Piatti-and-the-Intonarumori-via-arthistoryproject-com-4

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