Saturday, July 24, 2010

Schoenberg vs. Intuition

In a 1912 essay (revised in 1948) about Gustav Mahler, found in Style and Idea, a book of Schoenberg's selected writings, Schoenberg tries his hand at understanding intuition (something Mahler had in spades):
Man is petty. We do not believe enough in the whole thing, in the great thing, but demand irrefutable details. We depend too little upon that capacity which gives us an impression of the object as a totality containing within itself all details in their corresponding relationships. We believe that we understand what is natural; but the miracle is extremely natural, and the natural is extremely miraculous.

The more exactly we observe, the more enigmatic does the simplest matter become to us. We analyze because we are not satisfied with comprehending nature, effect and function of a totality as a totality and, when we are not able to put together again exactly what we have taken apart, we begin to do injustice to that capacity which gave us the whole together with its spirit, and we lose faith in our finest ability--the ability to receive a total impression.

1 comment:

Mozart Wolf said...

Some wise words from Schoenberg. I particularly feel inclined to agree with the thoughts on over analysing and not appreciating things as a whole just as they are.