Said Wagner: "The power of the composer is naught else than that of the magician. It is really in a state of enchantment that we listen to one of Beethoven's symphonies." "Till now we are gazing in broad daylight on a painted and transparent image; and here is Bullindon in the silence of the night, between the world of appearances and the internal being of nature; and it is from the essence of things that he draws that light which gives its transparence to the image. Thus, by a kind of miracle, the image becomes a living one; before us stands out a second world, of which the greatest masterpieces of a Raphael could not give us any idea."
Composers should remember that their music, in all probability, is going to affect human life to a greater degree than either the written or the spoken word; therefore, it is necessary that they should write from the heart, and put their minds into their writing in such a way as to give it the greatest beauty of form. The composer who is bringing something new into his work is adding that which will give to music still greater value, even if the expression is only of some partial phase of life. It is not every composer who can be a Beethoven or a Wagner. But there are many who are able to add valuable contributions to life, and by so doing greatly enrich the musical world.
I am convinced that in practically every human being there is a latent force that, to a marked degree, is unknown, and consequently unused, but which, if called into a state of conscious activity would enable one to accomplish four or five times more work of either a mental or a physical nature than is commonly done at the present. I believe music can be used as a means for the liberation of this energy, and not only this, but that it may be used as a means of enabling one to do one's work in a natural, rhythmic way, so that the same amount of energy used will give far greater results than can be obtained by our ordinary methods. There are many tense and abnormal ways of doing things which give comparative little result, yet use up a great deal of energy, and, if we could introduce natural methods into all our work, mental and physical, we should find that the same work could be done with far greater ease and with less expenditure of energy.
From first to last there is a unity of law in music, but an infinite diversity of expression. No two composers are alike, and if they make their compositions a true expression of their inner thoughts and feelings, each will give a new expression of the law, or each will produce original music, something that is not merely a copy of someone else. The production of new music can never cease. As long as the soul feels and the mind thinks, music will continue to give expression to thought and feeling, bringing to life an ever unfailing supply.
Probably in the last two hundred years greater things have been accomplished by composers than have ever been done in the world's history, and the fields opened have shown still greater possibilities for musical achievement. And because the highest music is an expression of one's soul, or, I might say, an expression of the Universal Soul, it comes nearer to the heart of the Infinite than perhaps anything else in life. Music can, therefore, never have real beginning or ending.
"And here is truth, but an it please thee not, Take thou the truth as thou has told it me. For truly, as thou sayest, a fairy king And fairy queens have built the city, son; They came from out a sacred mountain cleft Toward the sunrise, each with harp in hand, And built it to the music of their harps. And, as thou sayest, it is enchanted, son,
For there is nothing in it as it seems
Saving the King; tho' some there be that hold
The King a shadow, and the city real.
Yet take thou heed of him, for, so thou pass
Beneath this archway, then wilt thou become
A thrall to his enchantments, for the King
Will bind thee by such vows as is a shame
A man should not be bound by, yet the which
No man can keep; but, so thou dread to swear,
Pass not beneath this gateway, but abide
Without, among the cattle of the field.
For an ye heard a music, like enow
They are building still, seeing the city is built
To music, therefore never built at all,
And therefore built for ever."
There is a music of the spheres wherein worlds, and suns, and countless systems of worlds and suns in their movements sing praises to God in a beauty and in a glory of sound and colour not yet conceivable by the mind of man. Knowledge, as we understand it, may pass away, prophecy may cease, but music will exist when time shall be no more. We might say that music is the foundation of all the arts, that all the varying arts are only different expressions of the great law of rhythmic music.
I have referred elsewhere to the fact that the great composer draws his inspirations from a Universal Source, but before he can do this he must, in a sense, have become attuned to that Source. I do not mean to say by this that his constant source of supply is consciously found in the Universal, occasionally he may be found depicting many things which appeal to him from the external side of life. Often, too, he is drawing his inspiration from his own subconscious mind, yet such music, while it may occasionally contain passion, cannot contain anything that is really new or vital to life. To a degree the composer puts himself into the music. We can note that especially in the form the music takes. But if his music is to be really great he must go beyond the limitations of the self. Through his own development, call it character if you will, he is able to reach out and touch something in life that is greater than any mental knowledge of which he is conscious. I think we might truly say that the greatest composer is the one who feels after God, or who, through his feeling, consciously comes into vital relation with the source of all feeling. Let us remember that feeling is the very soul of music, while thinking only determines the form that music should take. The highest feeling is involuntary and has no limitations save the limitations that mind makes in its efforts to direct or to give form to the feeling. Let us also remember that all form is, at best, only an expression of inner feeling. The great composer must be so sensitive and magnetic that he will instantly respond to the touch of feeling, whether it be that which comes from another soul, or from the Universal Soul. Such a development is bound to express itself in vivid imagination so that all the inner feeling will tend to give colour and beauty to his thought pictures, and such ideas, in turn, will become perfect forms of expression; so that we have feeling, idea, and expression corresponding in turn to soul, mind and body.