From Beethoven to Shostakovich: The Psychology of the Composing Process

By Max Graf | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III.
Classical and Romantic Fantasy

MUSICAL FANTASY has its roots in the recesses of man's emotional life. These roots reach much deeper into the soul than the roots of other types of fantasy. They extend into the night where the physical and the emotional meet, where the roaring of the blood can be heard, where the rhythmic beat of the heart pulsates, where sensuality glows and elemental emotions storm.

A great musician without an unusual wealth and strength of these deepest strata of the soul is unthinkable. The force of musical fantasy ascends from this underground of the soul to its higher layers. As it passes each stratum, it takes along some of its constituent parts: memory, old sentiments, things long past and forgotten. The sounds take nourishment therefrom, grow, assume larger proportions, until everything that originated in this manner reaches the light of consciousness. Here, the last artistic formation takes place, and that which is engendered by the night becomes clear and light.

The outbreak of musical fantasy power in a musician of Beethoven's personality is liable to have vulcanic force. It may proceed in eruptions, the artistic forming of which requires extremely sound thinking and tremendous moral energy. Or, it may be a broad, even stream that flows powerfully through the various layers of the soul, as was the case with Bach and Haen

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