This website was launched in September 2002. Here you will find the most interesting reactions this year.
"your website looks wonderful!!!! It's really a pleasure seeing
something so beautiful on the internet..looking forward to the developments.."
"...Congratulations! What a beautiful website. Great intiative..."
"with thanks for your spiritual website."
"your website, which I have visited a few times. Short reaction:
"it looks great!"
"thanks for your European composition. It is an inventing idea to
bring existing designs together."
"I have fully explored your website for my opera encyclopedia."
"your website is impressive.your music and vision is a beacon of
light in this commercial world."
"my compliments on your internet page. It looks fantastic and gives
a complete idea of your past and present life."
"just spent a wonderful hour surfing through your website.
"what a splendid idea that musical autobiography!"
"...lovely site. Your hard work paid off."
|"Talk of fame, honor,
all are dirt compared with affection."
|Here you will find the most interesting correspondents of this site, beginning with a letter to the New Yorker of 1 April 2002|
THE NEW YORKER
Referring to the essay on "Schoenberg's unfinished revolution"
Split the lark -
Though writing music is far more satisfying than writing about it, the
latter can't always be avoided. Especially in the case of Arnold Schoenberg,
who himself was an unstoppable writer on music and
But Schoenberg, no doubt, had a lot to explain. And I have, as a pupil
of the French Schoenbergian Pierre Boulez in the early sixties, even more
Ross sums up the ever recurring reactions to Schoenberg's work. He describes how he recently heard his Suite for piano and came away the first time, "feeling as though I'd swallowed a bad oyster." And he quotes an elderly woman after she heard Moses und Aron: "I survived Auschwitz", she said, "I don't have to sit through this." (A particularly painful remark for a composer who survived the nazis.) A reader of the Los Angeles Times also used a political metaphor to express his anger: "Schoenberg's rejection of tonality is a profound act of egotism. Can't we please let it die in the twentieth century along with that other great affront to human nature - Communism?". "The reader had a point", Ross adds here, "Schoenberg's ideas are noxious in their grandiosity, chief among them the very idea of the 'dissolution of tonality'".
At some point or another in the seemingly unending Schoenberg discussion one word always turns up - badly understood however, even by composers, critics and other professionals. The word is: tonality. What could it mean? Many music lovers think that it simply means 'using major and minor triads'. It would therefore be helpful, even decisive, to first agree on a definition before we go on, though this is not easy.
Ross writes that Schoenberg's Harmonielehre from 1911 "was not so
much on behalf of atonality as against tonality: the old order
was an artificial construct that had to die
He saw tonality exclusively
as a journey away from and back toward a home key "Schoenberg hated
the word atonal, though the rest of the world used it to describe his
style - or even modern art as a whole.
After an initial period of 'free atonality' (the extreme expressionism
of it sounded indeed like coming from "the laboratory of world destruction",
as Karl Kraus described the turn-of-the-century Vienna) Schoenberg descended
from the mountain of faith with the new law of dodecaphony:
I think we could best agree on the definition of the French musicologist
F.J. Fétis. He wrote, in 1844:
Every music-lover knows the bliss of a harmonic resolution: one chord
resolving into the next, in an all-round satisfying way. This phenomenon
has been described as "the 'rightness' of the way the harmony moves
through its changes" (McLeod).This 'rightness' is based on the sensitivity
of the ear to recurring note-repetitions in too short a distance (the
'Tonwiederholungsempfindsamkeit' of the Viennese School). A sensitivity
that is trained in the diatonic realm of old Palestrinian counterpoint.
A note that comes back 'too early' can weaken, even destroy a melody.
Like the untimely recurring of a word can destroy a phrase, or a poem.
(A similar mechanism works in the domain of harmony and rhythm.)
This political metaphor however, remains unsatisfactory. Schoenberg wasn't a political animal after all, even if he wanted, in the heat of the war against the nazis, to sacrifice his musical carrier to become president of a new Jewish republic - no lack of ambition also here. But it wouldn't have worked. He was an archetypal artist: everything he touched turned into art. Religion, as a form of art, was no exception. So a religious metaphor for his biography would be more appropriate. The more so because he'd found one himself - for what had to become his (unfinished) masterpiece: Moses und Aron. He saw himself as the Moses of music, the messianic deliverer of Dodecaphony, of a new law to resurrect the old (chromatic) notes.
Arnold Schoenberg had grown up as a musical foundling - in his youth
he never sought or found a father-composer to teach him the basics of
his art, as the masters of the First Viennese School all did. He was an
exponent of the fatherless century he was born in, and he remained an
autodidact all his life. Instead he trained himself at the tonal court
of pharaoh Gustav Mahler to become the brilliant young prince of both
Verklärte Nacht and the Gurrelieder, as most people still prefer
to remember him.
Climbing his last mountain in the dessert of atonality, the tragic, biting, dear old Arnold Schoenberg was graciously given a glimpse of the promised land, the land he himself would never tread - a truly moving image. What he saw was the vision of the new chromatic tonality. Only a later generation (my generation) could enter, discover and explore that promised land.
I've called it THE TONE CLOCK..
It is the point of departure of all my work (and not only mine) since
my First Symphony (1978), and it is the subject of my books and my website.
My colleague Jenny McLeod from New Zealand described her first expedition to this new land in 1989:
"Even knowing nothing of the clock one can sense that this is the new tonality, that the music is permeated by some unknown but supreme logic and constancy: the harmonies have real substance, they move as a living tissue, worlds away from diatonic tonality, yet possessing the same authority and coherence It belongs to all, and it can work for anyone. A vast and prodigious universe awaits us, and I, for one, am hailing it daily with shouts of jubilation."
map of chromatic tonality
Twelve small clock-faces
combined into one large one.
This is the face of the Tone Clock.
It is a complete visual analogy
which can be read accurately
|On the eleventh second of the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the eleventh millennium since the Ice Age (i.e. since the beginning of human civilisation,as we call it), six pairs of ones, twelve 'I's, stood in a row, and I suddenly discovered Atonism. I decided to write something about it, for the lovers of deepreading.||
|Eleven times three centuries ago (in all: a hundred Jesus-lives)
the pharaoh Akhnaton created the sun-cult of Aton, the father-god, and by
doing so he installed monotheism.
In its christian form, monotheism still dominates our culture, so a journey to the origin of it should be part of our education. I did so with my son and a few friends in 1986 and we visited the essential sites:
|Until the voyage of the Beagle - to me the most important
journey in world history (even more pioneering than those of Columbus to
America, and of Apollo-XI to the moon, and the very beginning of the next
millennium which will no doubt be darwinian) - until Darwin's discovery
of life's evolution, Aton was no doubt the boldest concept of human spiritual
(Aton was the common Egyptian word for 'sun'.)
Nobody was able to see the face of the Omnipresent without being struck blind. It was impossible to create an image of it, and soon it was even prohibited to attempt this.
Yet we're all children of the sun.
But Galileo and the pioneers of the Enlightenment were bold enough to try and they played a masterful trick. By projecting the sun they found that the face of Aton was studded with spots - sunspots.
The sun, we now know, is an H-bomb with an explosion-term of some eleven
billion years. The spots are swirling gates to this giga divine fire,
they're blistering mouths, able to swallow complete planets and breathing
the sunwinds - the deadly as well as life-giving radiation. Its magnetic
climaxes, that can wipe out power stations and electronic communication
systems on earth,
This cosmic sky-machine has begotten me by the unimaginably beautiful
mother-planet I happen to live on, and has given me light and warmth like
a truly godlike, reliable father.
O Aton, how beautiful is Your appearance
As much later Saint Francis of Assisi sung, in his Canticle of Brother Sun, seventy sun cycles ago:
Brother Sun, who brings the day...
To worship this Brother I made a little altar of glass and a golden sphere.
It is my direct hotline with the sun.
We are accustomed to phase out our lifes by anniversaries, jubilee years and so on. We do that by fives and decimals, counting our fingers and toes. This is of course rather primitive and shortsighted. Therefore jubilees can be measured in a much better way: by sun cycles.
I'm anxious to know the position of sunspots at the time I was born,
the expression of Aton's face at that moment.
Since I was born in the cultural sphere of Christendom (without being
a christian myself) I divide my life in three Jesus-lifes, each containing
three suncycles: 33, 66,and 99 years.
I recently read that the fastest growing section of the population nowadays is that of the centenarians, those who have begun their fourth Jesus-life! So there is still a lot for me to look forward to.
On a new Achnaton-calender every Aton-year should have eleven months,
each consisting of three eleven-day weeks, and supplemented by two Aton-days
(every four years: three aton-days). These are the worshipping-days, the
holidays for the sun.
The knots in my Aton-years (my jubilee years, if you like) comprise in each case three sun-cycles. This is the way I travel through life: following my sunspots.
We can now fly higher and longer than ever: at eleven kilometers, on solar energy alone, with the 'immortel plane' called Helios. This is an Icarus that is really intelligent: it is not destroyed by the sun, but sustained!More down to earth we also cross the Australian continent in a sundriven car at a speed of some sixty miles an hour, and win a race, as a Dutch team recently did.
Atonism, knowledge of the solar process, is a condition for life and should therefore be an obligatory item in anybody's education.
Who ever has been present at an eclipse of the sun, who ever saw the marriage between light and darkness, between life and death, will once and for all be convinced by Aton's inconceivable power.
A power that we more and more learn to understand, a power that is anti-absolutist
(for there are billions of Atons in the universe), and that penetrates
the farthest corners of each living cell.
Akhnaton was right to worship the Aton.
And I am not atonal but Atonist.
As is clear from my seal.
This Agenda announces the main performances of my work, and related events, beginning with the third millennium.
6 March, 2000
14 march 2000
17 June, 2000
10 October, 2000
8 December, 2000
6 February, 2001
Some of these works are re-compositions of withdrawn ones from the past thirty years. They will now be premièred in their new and final form, jointly with other works.
17 and 18 may 2001
More world premieres in concert hall Vredenburg, Utrecht. :
21 may 2001
RONDGANG for chamber orchestra, op.42, (1996/2000)
ADEM a love song for chamber choir, op.32 (l984) Capella Amsterdam, under
On a Symposium that same day in the Utrecht University about the tone clock theory, a film by Fred van Dijk was premiered titled (as the music on which it is based) Arch Music for Saint Louis.
(foto St. Louis/ Vonk)
25 and 26 may 2001
web driver: Peter Schat