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Tension in classical Music

JOURNALIST: Herr Hübner, what is your attitude towards the aspects of tension, the dramatic or the sensational in classical music?

PETER HÜBNER: From a musical point of view, classical music contains the element of tension in its pure and natural form.

But most interpreters of today confuse two things: tension and conflict.
Conflict in classical music reveals itself mainly as an expression of personal incompetence on the interpreter’s side, which he brings into music.

He calls that – whilst musically escaping his human-musical incapability – his very own personal interpretation, and through this he would clearly like to stand out from his colleagues.

Thus, in his blindness, he finally sees himself as an independent artist.
Why should the classical composer, who regards conflict as a human inability and as unnatural, artistically structure it in his music? He doesn’t see this as his task – after all, the world is full of such inabilities, without classical music.

But let’s get it right: when I speak of personal incompetence, I am not talking of musical but of human incompetence.

We know of Beethoven, one of the greatest composers, that, during his life-time, he suffered from serious headaches. The same more or less applied to Tschaikows-ky, and, beyond that, he was also very depressive.

Nevertheless, they kept their music free from their daily problems.

What is at present called tension in music, I would call “stress”.

It is said that Beethoven’s music possesses more tension than Mozart’s music. That is simply wrong. Only, the interpretation of Beethoven’s music is disfigured in such a way that, in the end, it has more tension.

But this tension is artificially simulated: the conductor pulls a concentrated face, starts moving wildly and tensely, the members of the orchestra must increasingly exert themselves and play more loudly, and that finally leads to more tension – or better: convulsion – a great human-musical misunder-standing.

In naturally structured music, harmony is the expression of tension.

Disharmony, in contrast, means nothing more or less than “without regard of each other” – just as the meaning of harmony is “with each other”.

Let’s take the example of man and woman. There is a natural tension between them. But this natural tension is not expressed between them by them quarrelling at the top of their voices?

It’s the same in music. Tension is not the hard debate – that is “stress”.
Musically, harmony means the natural getting on with each other of opposites, therefore: tension.

Harmony means: the playful natural integration of opposites. There is no natural musical harmony between things that are the same – i.e. natural tension – even if musical keeping in step is carried out so persistently that it produces stress in the musicians and listeners. This is perhaps personal incompetence of the interpreters – but never natural musical tension.

If, in classical music, the interpreter turns natural tension into stress, then we experience the same kind of thing that happened to Richard Wager’s music.

This great tone creator was convinced that natural human dignity would hardly develop in a dictatorial system, and he was therefore a convinced democrat.

Wagner’s musical presentation of the liberation of the human genius was later presented in such a distorted way by the interpreters, that a first-class dictator like Adolf Hitler used these interpretations, when he drove a whole nation and many other races alike into war.

Wagner is still fundamentally misinterpreted, and if you want to know, what I mean, then go to the festival in Bayreuth and look around, whether the representatives of human dignity gather together there, and whether the world can really expect improvement from there – as Wagner had imagined it.

Wagner’s musical scores were the first scores I experienced in my inner being, when I read them as an eighteen-year-old.

And when I heard a performance of this music much later, I felt it to be a crime against the musical inspiration of this brilliant tone creator.

Interpretation today is upside down. How should it be any different if money-oriented stars, under the protection of large concerns, increasingly rule the official music world, where personal engagement for human dignity is not alive at all.

Many of them don’t know what I am talking about, and probably think we have to give more benefit concerts for charitable causes, and then human dignity will be satisfied.

Wagner’s human personal interest must get justice in a performance of his music in such a way that the listeners are inspired to respect and support their fellow men in their freedom, and not overcome them with “superior force” as a supposed “hero” and “strengthener”, and then have “control” of their wealth.

Are there not more and more of these representatives of this unnatural mental culture in the audience? But such people only come, because the distorted performance pays tribute to their strange principles.

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