October 21, 2006


Charles Ives
. . . This reduces, or rather brings the problem back to a tangible basis namely:—the translation of an artistic intuition into musical sounds approving and reflecting, or endeavoring to approve and reflect, a "moral goodness," a "high vitality," etc., or any other human attribute mental, moral, or spiritual.

Can music do more than this? Can it do this? and if so who and what is to determine the degree fo its failure or success? The composer, the performer (if there be any), or those who have to listen? One hearing or a century of hearings?—and if it isn't successful or if it doesn't fail what matters it? A theme that the composer sets up as "moral goodness" may sound like "high vitality," to his friend and but like a "stagnant pool" to those not even his enemies. Expression to a great extent is a matter of terms and terms are anyone's. The meaning of "God" may have a billion interpretations if there be that many souls in the world. . .
"Prologue," Essays Before a Sonata

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