THE OPPOSITES IN MUSIC
Taught by Barbara Allen and Edward Green, Ph.D.
This class is based on the Aesthetic Realism principle “Art is that which, through an individual, shows the oneness of the permanent opposites in reality.” We study music—from Bach’s Magnificat to Duke Ellington’s “The Mooche,” from the Gregorian Chant and the music of Ghana and India to contemporary rock ‘n’ roll—in relation to lectures and works by Eli Siegel, such as “Music Tells What the World Is Like” and “Animate and Inanimate Are in Music and Conscience,” and Martha Baird’s “Separation and Junction in Prokofiev and Johnny Dodds” and “Music Is Real.”
The Fall 2020 semester of classes via video conference is now in session. To audit a class, permission must be requested by telephone 2 days in advance of the date of the class. Contact Registrar at 212.777.5055, between 2-6 PM Eastern Time (USA), Monday through Friday. If you receive permission to audit, click here to pay the auditing fee.
The Opposites in Music
Syllabus for Fall 2020 Semester
This semester we’ll be studying a magnificent lecture by Eli Siegel titled: Animate and Inanimate in Music & Conscience. And we’ll ask: What is the relation of emotion and structure, of beauty and ethics to be found in music? And desired by ourselves? Throughout the lecture Mr. Siegel takes up passages from Norman Demuth’s An Anthology of Musical Criticism” and comments on them. The entire text of the lecture is online published in The Right of Aesthetic Realism to Be Known # 1291-1301.
Here is the link to the text online.
- Sep 27 Our Question, Answered in Music: How Much Feeling? Beginning with Hubert Parry on Claudio Monteverdi
“The problem here—and Monteverdi had it—is how to be fair to the inanimate world and also fair to how he felt. This thing which is in art is a large matter in conscience.”
- Oct 11 “Brilliance and Depth—How Are They Related?” William Ayrton on Karl Czerny
“Czerny corresponds to something in art, somebody who is cool, knows technique, is dazzlingly academic, and doesn’t have what human beings are looking for.”
- Oct 25 “How Well Do We Listen?” John Ruskin on Wagner’s Die Meistersinger
“How we respond to things is our lives. If we respond ill, our lives that much are not what they should be….There was a good deal of not hearing of Wagner, and others, including Beethoven.”
- Nov 8 “Disliking Something—Are We Right or Wrong?” Beginning with Samuel Butler on Handel and Wagner”
“When we dislike something, is our conscience concerned? It is. The artist has a conscience, but the listener has a conscience too.”
- Nov 22 “What Is in a Good Conscience?” Hubert Parry on Johannes Brahms“
“Parry talks of the work of Brahms, and a conscience adequately satisfied is here. Whether the conscience of Brahms was adequately satisfied is another matter, but Parry makes it seem so. Part of having a good conscience is to do one’s work in the best way and respect the work that one does.”
- Dec 6 “Melody and Turmoil.” Constant Lambert on Peter Tchaikovsky
“Tchaikovsky’s life was of two kinds, as most composers’ lives were, including Mozart’s: melody within, turmoil without; or turmoil within and melody without—the within and without are hard to see.”
- Dec 20 Students’ Papers on Music One Likes
These papers will explore the great principle, by Eli Siegel, which is the basis of our class:
“All beauty is a making one of opposites, and the making one of opposites is what we are going after in ourselves.”
Alternate Sundays, 4:00 – 5:30 PM Eastern Time (USA)
Fall 2020 semester: Sep 27, Oct 11, Oct 25, Nov 8, Nov 22, Dec 6, Dec 20
Fee: $60 per semester (7 classes)
To audit a class, permission must be requested by telephone 2 days in advance of the date of the class. Contact Registrar at 212.777.5055, between 2 – 6 PM Eastern Time (USA), Monday through Friday.
If you receive permission to audit, click here to pay the auditing fee of $12.[back to classes]