As said, I had been lucky, getting hold of one ticket. And thus the four of us, never leaving each other, went to the concert on Monday evening.
The one of us simply enjoying some festive mood, the pleasure of the concert hall, the opportunity of delving into the music – floating with the waves of sound, getting engaged and excited by the different compositions, each reflecting different spaces and times … – also the enjoyment of gaining new meaning by forgetting to analyse and the opportunity to allow being carried away.
Of course, it had been something special not only because the special appreciation of the ticket availed of against the odds – the other fellow of the small group, the economist, said something. At least he wanted to say something, talk a little bit about the determination of value: Scarcity …. – is this and if so, in which way is it a matter of determining value, as well economic value. Is economic value about that or about the costs of production … – Come on, don’t spoil the evening …, just enjoy rather than coming up with the macro- and possibly microeconomic debate on the value determination. We may even end up with discussing the role of speculation and the current economic crisis. That is something which finds a more appropriate place in the interview that I want to do on Wednesday.
I agree, said the historian of the gang of four – all four already occupying the one seat. There is actually something else that I think is more interesting anyway. Look at the conductor: Hungarian. And the orchestra: Viennese, i.e. Austrian. Does it ring a bell? Do you remember, few years back you met the young Habsburg and complained about his arrogance, the way he still features the imperial tradition …, walking on heavy carpets in his noble office, representing nobility, at least pretending to represent the ancient regime in a legitimate way. As if such emporium would and could ever be legitimate. – Gosh, yes; but why does one have to remember this now? Because one can have the illusion that a Hungarian conductor in front of an Austrian orchestra things changed, the balance of the new world order is fundamentally different. A short look to the right is sufficient: the broad American accent is a reminder that such broad claims persist. An American president does not have to go to war to underscore the American claim of being a superpower. Nor does a Hungarian conductor mean that the power of traditional spirit could be overcome. – This historical discourse, surely interesting at one point, was either not suitable to make the evening just an enjoyable event. Not least as it brought up thoughts not only about history past but also about history present: the government, dancing with dark spectres of extreme conservatism for the sceptres as means of control and oppression. A clandestine joy would hardly be sufficient to make for that … – The first of us returned, leaned finally back with the other three: the economist and the historian who already commented, and the sociologist who had been silent, looking around at the people, thinking that there would surely be many who would not look like the typical visitor going for classical concerts. Most enjoyable – as said: the opportunity of delving into the music – floating with the waves of sound, getting engaged and excited by the different compositions, each reflecting different spaces and times … – also the enjoyment of gaining new meaning by forgetting to analyse and the opportunity to allow being carried away.
However, though the sociologist amongst us still did not speak it out, he was getting somewhat excited towards the end – towards the two ends. The second piece of the concert had been performed by the orchestra and as soloist a young pianist: Alice Sara Ott. Surely with some brilliance, having her own style already. But what the sociologist thought did not concern “multiculturalism in one person” (the artist being German-Japanese). Nor did it concern any demographic issues (finally being just over 20 is surely not the normal age for a superstar in this genre). The issue at stake had been …, well: Toennies, the sociologist, wrote in his main work about two kinds of will, linking the second to the higher development of the will to freestyle, to voluntarism, the the freedom of decision. And this was so obvious in the expression when the play moved on ‘from the program to the encore’. Actually it had not been an encore in the sense of repeating part of what had been played before, It had been a real add-on, now allowing the artist to enjoy gaining new meaning by forgetting to analyse and the opportunity to allow being carried away – and giving thus new meaning also to the pieces she played earlier and allowing the listener the same, gaining new and even more excitement than the already brilliant performance during the part which would in Toennies’ terms be guided by the ‘Wesenswille’: the more or less bare necessity. And the same was getting obvious at the end of the second part, the encore carrying conductor and orchestra away, allowing them to enter the sphere of freedom.
While the sociologist amongst us leaned back, somewhat satisfied with this insight, the historian chaffed about it: Sure, the Kuerwille carried the conductor away, but there had been something peculiar. The encore, the actually two added pieces had been …, yes, pieces from the Austrian tradition – engaging the Hungarian, carrying him away. The expressions being so different here if compared with the performance in particular of the first piece: Kodály’s Dances of Galanta. There, driven by the Wesenswille, being an ‘exercise of duty’, the Hungarian’s engagement had not been less, perhaps even stronger. Amazing to see his expressions at the end of the performance of the Dances. Proud, acknowledging the outstanding effort of the musicians, expressing it with unspoken words and an even stronger spoken body-language; and bending humbly, proudly, strongly … towards the audience, not saying anything, but still expressing something: Yes, we can!
We, the Hungarians, not children of the Habsburgs anymore – having a leading role now? We, the workers, people who are proud of what they can do, driven by duty and free will? We, the artists, neither being Hungarians nor Austrians but world citizens, creators and inhabitants of the universe?
All this shows also a development about which Hegel wrote. But this time it seems to move into the opposite direction. Hegel emphasised:
‘By love’s extension over a whole community its character changes; it ceases to be a living union of individualities and instead its enjoyment is restricted to the consciousness of their mutual love.’
And the move of the concert showed how true this is, however it showed it by going the other direction: The real love as personal engagement, as direct relationship, bar of any abstraction, therefore being a matter of immediate engagement with the matter: participation as taking part and being part; appropriation as matter of ownership in terms of a mutual belonging. Hegel saw it in the idealist way, of course, claiming that ‘only that which is an object of freedom may be called an idea.’ And of course, this had been countered by Marx, claiming that freedom is the insight into what is necessary. With this, Marx allowed the subject to transcend the restrictions of certain objectivities, thus allowing the subject gaining space for practice, allowing the subject to emerge as sovereign over any idea that claims to be absolute.
Yes, barely that one really can go to a concert, leaving the others: the economist, the historian, the sociologist and all the others home, or at least at the doorstep of the concert hall – but finally: why should they remain outside: don’t they also have the right just to enjoy music, a most beautiful, engaged and engaging performance? 😉