[ by Charles Cameron — music, mildness and massacres — do we have a scalpel that can peel the mildness back to explain where the massacres come from? ]
Lenin listens, muses:
From the Russian film, Appassionate, Here’s Lenin listening and, towards the end, musing, to the music:
Vladimir Lenin asks Rudolf Kehrer to play Beethoven’s Appassionata, Piano Sonata no. 23, op. 57, and at the end says, ‘Nothing I know is better than the Appassionata’. … The footage comes from this rare film entitled Appassionata:
Here’s the full Lenin quote:
I know of nothing better than the Appassionata and could listen to it every day. What astonishing, superhuman music! It always makes me proud, perhaps with a childish naiveté, to think that people can work such miracles! … But I can’t listen to music very often, it affects my nerves. I want to say sweet, silly things, and pat the little heads of people who, living in a filthy hell, can create such beauty. These days, one can’t pat anyone on the head nowadays, they might bite your hand off. Hence, you have to beat people’s little heads, beat mercilessly, although ideally we are against doing any violence to people. Hm — what a devilishly difficult job!
Some people already know this quote, some don’t.
Here, Lang Lang plays Beethoven’s Appassionata in its colossal entirety:
Mildness and massacres.
Hitler, who began as an art student, liked Wagner; Lenin liked Beethoven. Shall we blame classical music for the Shoah and Gulags?
Somehow, if we could peel back the mildness, we might find the massacres. Does anyone have a suitable psychiatric or spiritual scalpel?