By Joseph Horowitz
Oseph Horowitz writes in ethical hearth: “If the Met’s screaming Wagnerites status on chairs (in the Nineties) are unthinkable at the present time, it really is partially simply because we distrust excessive feeling. our kids avidly focus on vicarious kinds of digital interpersonal diversion. Our laptops and televisions ensnare us in a surrogate international that shuns all yet facile passions; purely Jon Stewart and invoice Maher proportion moments of ethical outrage disguised as comedy.”
Arguing that the prior can end up instructive and inspirational, Horowitz revisits 4 magnificent personalities—Henry Higginson, Laura Langford, Henry Krehbiel and Charles Ives—whose missionary paintings within the realm of tradition signaled a trust within the basic decency of civilized human nature, within the universality of ethical values, and in development towards a country of peace and love.
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Extra info for Moral Fire: Musical Portraits from America's Fin de Siècle
He might go to church to hear cousin Thomas Wentworth Higginson—“Colonel” versus “Major” Henry Higginson, even though Henry had also in wartime advanced to the rank of colonel—preach an antislavery sermon. He might visit Dr. Holmes’s Pittsfield farm on the banks of the Housatonic. Higginson’s mother was herself a Lee. She died of tuberculosis in 1849 when Henry—the second of five siblings—was fifteen. But George Higginson, who did not retire until 1874, was at all times a close companion and correspondent.
In the fall of 1861, barely missing action in the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, he encountered the mortally wounded William Lowell Putnam—whom his uncle James Russell Lowell would commemorate in The Biglow Papers. Another, less dire casualty was the future Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. ” In August 1862 Higginson lost two intimate friends—Jim Savage and Stephen Perkins—at Cedar Mountain: a useless encounter. 5 Communications of another sort came from Jim Higginson, by now a prisoner of war reading Virgil in confinement.
Irony coexisted with faith, antagonism with celebration, reason with unreason” (p. 131). 12 | Prologue Klimt or Freud. One proof is Mahler’s American sojourn of 1908 to 1911. At the Metropolitan Opera, with the New York Philharmonic, he electrified and inspired. He also perplexed and exasperated. Henry Krehbiel, his New York nemesis, found Mahler’s symphonies vulgar: they debased their own uplifting Romantic ideals. ”12 Krehbiel’s notorious Mahler obituary proclaimed his American career a failure.