According to Schopenhauer – in a theory that was of great importance to Wagner and which was firstly adopted and then much criticized by Nietzsche – there is a special kind of universality in music, which gives it the highest value among human artistic endeavours, making it capable of disclosing to us the most secret meaning of any scene, of any action and of any event of the human life. Despite what it has in common with the universality of concepts, the universality of music’s way of grasping the world is different from the universality of concepts. In music, as everywhere in art, the concept is unproductive. Music gives us immediate access to the innermost kernel from which all forms precede, it puts us in contact with the heart of things, not with their stripped-off outer shell. Through harmony and melody, it discloses all the deepest secrets of human willing and feelings and reveals their inseparability from the whole world. Moreover, an analogy can be drawn between the strata nature and the organization of an orchestra, as both music and the phenomenal world are objectivations of that which the author of The World as Will and Representation calls the Will.
5 Dec 2019
International Conference on the 250th Anniversary of Alexander von Humboldt: “To Grasp the Whole World”