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Concert at C-256 Hz
June 6, 1990
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Leading Violinist to Hold Concert for LaRouche Freedom
LaRouche on Classical Aesthetics
About the Works
The Importance of This Concert
The Role of Great Music Today
Amadeus Quartet: A Musical Institution
The Campaign to Lower the Tuning Pitch
Giuseppe Verdi on Tuning
On Performance of Music in the Verdi Tuning
A Unique Experiment
Schiller Institute Petition to Lower Tuning
NORBERT BRAININ, GÜNTER LUDWIG
Concert at C-256 Hz
Wednesday, June 6, 1990, 8:30 P.M. Lisner Auditorium
Sponsored by: Schiller Institute, Inc. and
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Sonata in E-flat major KV 481
Molto allegro Adagio Allegretto--Tema con variazioni
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Sonata in A major, Op. 100
Allegro amabile Andante tranquillo Allegretto grazioso (quasi Andante)
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
First Partita for Violin Solo Saraband and Double
Dr. Brainin will perform the Saraband and Double twice: First at today's arbitrary, high International Standard Pitch, A-440 Hz, and then at C-256 (which gives an A of about 432 Hz)
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Sonata in G major, Op. 96
Allegro moderato Adagio espressivo Scherzo-Allegro Poco allegretto
Norbert Brainin, Violin Günter Ludwig, Piano
The Yamaha piano is from Gordon Keller Music, Fairfax, Virginia.
Washington, D.C. May 3--Noted violinist Norbert Brainin, founder and first violinist of the legendary Amadeus Quartet, in a statement today demanded the U.S. government act immediately to free political prisoner Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
Announcing his plans to perform in concert for Lyndon LaRouche in the Lisner Auditorium at The George Washington University on June 6, Dr. Brainin released the following statement from his home near London:
"It is my deep-felt desire to express in this way--through a concert of classical music in the scientific tuning as laid down by Giuseppe Verdi--my friendship with Lyndon LaRouche, who, years ago, initiated the fight to restore this level of musical tuning.
"I know Lyndon LaRouche, who is currently being forced to suffer great injustice, as a gentle and learned man; as a poet, philosopher, extraordinary politician and historian, as a man who is versed in literature and music. He has always fought for the idea, which I share, that great classical art, especially music, is the best way to ennoble people and uplift their spirits, above all in times of great crisis, an idea which is being borne out again, as the recent events in Eastern Europe and now in Lithuania prove.
"I consider it a shame for the United States of America, a country which I love and whose Constitution, unrivalled in the world, I admire greatly, to be treating one of its most brilliant minds in such a fashion; and I hope that full justice will be granted Lyndon LaRouche immediately."
Dr. Brainin's June concert in Washington, sponsored by the Schiller Institute, will be the first purely instrumental concert in the U.S. for the movement to set the International Standard Pitch at Middle C-256 (which gives an A of about 432 Hz), which has gained hundreds of prominent signators among musicians internationally.
The Schiller Institute, which is headquartered in Laatzen, West Germany, and Washington, D.C., was founded by Mrs. Helga-Zepp LaRouche. Dr. Brainin has already given several concerts for the lower classical pitch of C-256 for the Schiller Institute in Europe.
Besides fighting for artistic truth, Norbert Brainin, who, because of his Jewish origin, was forced to flee his native Vienna in 1938 and emigrate to England, where he later started his career as one of the world's leading chamber musicians, is also known for his support for human rights and freedom. Last December, he gave a free all-Beethoven concert, sponsored by the Schiller Institute, in Berlin for the citzens of East Germany, to honor the destruction of the hated Berlin Wall.
This concert is dedicated to Norbert Brainin's good friend Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
The following is excerpted from Lyndon LaRouche's "Tuning and Register as Policy Issues," written in early 1988 as part of the process that led to the Milan conference on tuning.
My specific contributions bearing upon aesthetics have been two. First, out of my work on the intelligible representation of creative mental activity in the physical sciences, I have been enabled to show the nature of that creative mental activity which distinguishes an artistic musical composition, for example, from an imitation of natural beauty. I have also been able to demonstrate, that creative mental activity of that sort is associated with a very specific quality of emotion, coincident with the New Testament significance of the Hellenic Agape or Latin Caritas, and more simply identified as the emotion of "tears of joy," as distinct from, and opposite to the "erotic" impulse of unbridled romanticism.
If we employ the mathematical physics of Gauss and Riemann in an appropriate way, we are able to supply a rigorous form of intelligible representation of creative mental activity as this applies to valid fundamental discoveries in the physical sciences, and applies also to creativity in classical musical compositions of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, et al. By examining counterpoint from this vantage-point, we are able to show how creativity is explicitly represented in such compositions, and how the registral characteristics of vocal polyphony function within the well-tempered domain to provide the ground upon which creative activity works.
It happens, that creative mental processes have the same characteristic we associate with the classical harmonics of natural beauty. Thus, beauty, so defined, so superimposed upon natural beauty, is the proper elementary requirement of art.
The qualities of the properly trained singing voice are a form of natural beauty. The classical instruments are properly designed to imitate the quality of beauty of such a singing voice. Interpretation of a classical composition flows from this. One must grasp the way in which the composer's creative faculties have imposed a development upon the composition; that characteristic feature of the unifying developmental process becomes the idea of the composition as a whole.
However, this idea is set within certain conventions. The first set of conventions is that pertaining to natural beauty, as the registration and well-tempered ordering of the singing voice defines this. The second set of conventions is associated with the principles of classical poetry, in which the classical composers were steeped. Within insight into the creative conception defining the composition as a whole, and by adherence to those conventions of the classical musical domain, an effective interpretation in performance follows, with lesser or relatively greater degree of perfection.
Music is thus enabled to partake of all of the non-plastic arts. It is immediately poetry. Polyphony and poetry embed naturally in music the qualities of classical dramatic tragedy.
Since classical musical composition's situating of the creative processes of mind in a context of natural beauty evokes naturally the sense of Agapé, the natural emotion of great musical performance is always akin to "tears of joy." Hence, classical musical performance is a sacred, spiritual matter, whether the setting is a religious or secular one. It celebrates and affirms both human creativity and Agape in a unified way. It nourishes the soul, strengthens it, brings moments of beauty into a world filled with uglinesses, and evokes among audiences that emotion best suited for fostering social relationships consistent with agapic love for mankind.
There are few instruments so noble, so effective, to reach into the aching mass of humanity, as to teach children to sing by emphasis on bel canto methods, and by introducing to them as they are able participation in some aspects of the great classical musical repertoire. Great poetry, great classical tragedy, and music, are the great companions of a daily effort to uplift the spirits of men and women, and children most emphatically.
We have seen parents of children from families themselves in most reduced circumstances, watching and listening as their children sing in choruses working in such directions. We have seen often enough the approximations and outright expressions of tears of joy from those parents. Seeing this, we know what a precious thing it is we defend, when we work for the defense of sound principles of bel canto, and for the conditions under which those principles are preserved.
If we situate the requirements of the bel canto singing voice so, the larger importance of the issue, to all people, as well as to singers, is posed to us. The participation in beauty made intelligible to performers and audiences, is one of the means by which our imperiled civilization might be rescued from the doom toward which it seems to be proceeding.
On that account, I propose that while we defend what the empirics of bel canto singing show us must be defended, we also reflect upon the more profound implications of that which we defend. It was the classical movement in painting, architecture, poetry, drama, and music which contributed so much to the best which our civilization achieved in the past; we need those qualities, almost desperately, to preserve that which we appear to be on the verge of losing altogether.
Norbert Brainin is one of the world's leading violinists and chamber musicians. He received his first musical education in Vienna, but was forced to leave his home in 1938 after the Anschluss and escape to England, where he took up his studies with, first, the internationally renowned violin teacher Carl Flesch and, then, his assistant Max Rostal. In 1947 he won the prestigious Carl Flesch Award in London, which opened the way for him to pursue an international career as a soloist. Instead, he chose to found the famous Amadeus Quartet together with Siegmund Nissel and Peter Schidlof, like himself Jewish refugees from Austria, and British cellist Martin Lovett.
In the 40 years of its existence, a unique record in the history of string quartets, the ensemble under Brainin's passionate leadership became renowned for its dedication to reviving great classical music, above all the works of Beethoven. Brainin and his quartet performed more than 4,000 concerts in all parts of the world, especially in Western Europe and the United States, recorded all classical masterpieces many times, and were awarded countless honors, including the Order of the British Empire and the Bundesverdienstkreuz, the highest order of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Due to the sudden death of the violist Peter Schidlof in August 1987, the Amadeus Quartet was forced to close its career as a quartet, but Dr. Brainin, like his two other colleagues, is continuing to perform classical music. Furthermore, as professors of chamber music, they are teaching at the world-renowned conservatories in Cologne and London and are giving master classes throughout Europe.
Günter Ludwig, one of the leading German pianists, received his early musical education at a Frankfurt secondary school ("Gymnasium") which specialized in music. He then studied piano with August Leopolder and Marguerit Long, and conducting with Kurt Thomas.
Thanks to the numerous prizes he earned in international competition, he was able to perform in concerts and on radio in almost all Western European countries as well as in many countries in South America and Asia. He has performed piano concertos with many leading conductors, including Günter Wand, Istvan Kertesc, Karl Münchinger, Sir Georg Solti, and Horst Stein.
His particular love is devoted to chamber music, especially that of the classical period. He has performed violin and cello sonatas with such internationally outstanding musicians as Janos Starker, Henryk Szering, Arthur Grumiaux, Nathan Milstein, and Max Rostal, and has recorded all the piano trios of Mozart, Brahms, and Beethoven. Günter Ludwig, currently one of the most sought-after piano teachers, is professor at the conservatory in Cologne, West Germany.
By the term "duet for piano and violin," we usually understand a work for solo violin with accompanying piano. This completely false notion was chiefly spread in our century, and originates from the numerous musical works for "violin and accompaniment," written by insignificant composers of the 19th century, such as Paganini, Sarasate, et al.
The classical sonata form for piano and violin developed not from compositions for violin and basso continuo, as we find them by Corelli, but rather from the simultaneously originating sonata for "piano and accompaniment" (by a violin or a flute), to which a third instrument (for instance a cello) was also often added. This form is the true starting point of a duet or trio with piano.
In fact, the early violin sonatas of Mozart are indeed piano sonatas with an accompanying violin voice. In his later works of this type, however, Mozart developed this form far further, and raised it to the pinnacle of a genuine dialogue between the two instruments. Beethoven followed him in this direction, and it was still considered "modern" in his time to designate such a work as a "sonata per pianoforte con accompagnanto di un violino obligato," that is, as a piano sonata with an accompanying obligato violin. And Beethoven continued to use this designation for all 10 of his sonatas, including the famous "Kreutzer Sonata."
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Sonata in Eb major, KV 481
Much to our good fortune the year 1785 was most eventful for Mozart; a year about which a considerable amount is known. In the days immediately following the completion of this sonata, Mozart realized one of his greatest moral and personal victories: he learned that the Emperor Joseph the Second would commission him to compose his immortal opera The Marriage of Figaro. But until then, Mozart is known to have suffered terribly, facing perpetual defeat at the hands of his professional and aristocratic enemies. If their envy is detestable, it is nonetheless understandable. Today, we remain in awe of what Mozart could produce under the most bestial conditions. Can we imagine how his weaker contemporaries must have felt?
That he had already obtained creative powers beyond any imagination (he was only 29 years old), can be seen by Haydn's famous declaration to Leopold Mozart: "I tell you, calling God to witness ... that your son is the greatest composer I know, either personally or by reputation. He has taste and, in addition, the most complete understanding of composition."
An even greater testimony is the music of that year itself: the last three of the six "Haydn" quartets (which prompted the above declaration), the incomparable C minor Fantasy and Sonata for piano, two piano concertos, including the great D minor, the passionate G minor Quartet and our Eb major Duo Sonata, among other works.
Concerning the sonata itself, little is known of what may have prompted its composition. It is certainly one of his finest, about which it is often said, that never before had Mozart so closely approached the (as yet) unknown world of Beethoven. So it is, in the second movement, whose wealth of ideas is counterpoised to produce a simple and yet profound piece of poetry, whose dimensions indeed exceed imagination. The first movement is notable for its sharply contrasting ideas: notice the abrupt manner in which the C minor second phrase interjects itself. Also of interest is the evolution of a new, third idea in the development section: its melody, featured by the violin, was later to immortalize itself as the theme of the "Jupiter Symphony's" last movement. As for the last movement, we can only wonder at such a variety and breadth of variations as Mozart could derive from so simple a theme.
Johannes Brahms, Sonata in A major, op. 100
The second sonata of Brahms for piano and violin was written during the summers of Brahms's retreats to the Lake of Thon, 1886-1889, whose natural beauty he adored, and where a high-point is witnessed in his creative powers. Already savoring the completion of his fourth and final symphony, he finished the violin concerto, the violin-cello concerto, the C minor piano trio, the second and third piano and violin sonatas, the Zigeunerlieder and the songs op. 105-107. This is a body of work--from which the second duo sonata stands out for its intimate, always sweet lyricism--which, while ever rigorous in classical form, is characterized by an epic grandeur and a monolithic force which is Brahms's trademark.
In the sonata, instead, we witness a softening of the formal structure, a thinning of the usually orchestral texture (another Brahms trademark), and the employment of pacific, song-like melodies, in the place of the fiery, dramatic passion which we often find in his music.
In this regard, a parallel is drawn to Beethoven's G major Sonata (also in this program), and to the notable contrast posed by it to the Olympian "Kreutzer Sonata." But, in this case, the Brahms work is more reminiscent of Schubert, ironically, than of Beethoven. (Owing to the mastery with which Beethoven generated and juxtaposed musical ideas, he is unmatched in his contrapuntal floridity.) Schubert, instead, while no freshman in counterpoint, worked his tragically foreshortened opus, informed by lyric German poetry, and in an intimate environment of preferred friends and singers. This, then, is the lyrical style which Brahms imitates in his atypical A major Sonata. Throughout, his thematic material seems chosen for avoiding contrasts, seeking instead homogeneity, as Schubert often does.
And yet, as with poetry, we are never without exceptions: note, for example, the originality and elegance with which the second movement combines Andante and Scherzo elements.
Johann Sebastian Bach, Saraband and Double from the First Partita for Violin solo
The years 1717 to 1723 were among the happiest in Bach's life. During this period Bach's true greatness emerged in a rich array of musical compositions, among them the sonatas and partitas for violin solo, the six cello suites, the six Brandenburg concertos, numerous other concertos and the Well-Tempered Clavier, among other works.
Through these works, Bach forced a breakthrough in the evolution of many instruments, which developed according to the greater technical and contrapuntal demands Bach made upon instrument and player alike.
To date, the sonatas and partitas are among the few instances in which the violin must actually become a four-voice ensemble itself. The partitas are a collection of dances whose forms originated primarily in the folk-dances of France.
The First Partita is very interesting, not only for the fact that each dance is followed by a double--a variation in which the tempo of each dance is actually doubled--but furthermore, that each dance is a closely related variation of the others, thus giving this vast work a rigorous cohesion.
The Saraband of tonight's performance is, in keeping with the tradition, a slow dance--stylized to suit the properties of the violin with three beats to the bar. The Double follows the form, as already described.
Ludwig v. Beethoven, Sonata in G Major, op. 96
Beethoven's last violin sonata was composed in 1812 and dedicated to Archduke Rudolph. It is unique among the 10 sonatas.
In place of the brilliant vitality of the "Kreutzer Sonata," we find a dialogue sensitive and intimate as seldom before. That becomes clear right from the beginning in the simplicity of the single-measure theme, which is played by the violin alone and then repeated by the piano. The subsequent development is astonishing: The challenge in the "Kreutzer Sonata" (in the Andante con variazioni) was to work out a rather complicated theme in expository style; this time, we are astonished by Beethoven's artistic ability in elaborating a very simple idea so richly.
The second movement Andante espressivo points, through its kinship to the first (unique among the 10 sonatas), to the homogeneity of the entire sonata: Had the first movement Allegro moderato been an Allegro vivace, then the second movement would indeed have seemed beautiful, but singularly abstract. However, the successive voice lines, each more beautiful than the previous, serve to elucidate the deceptive simplicity of the first movement.
The direct transition attaca to the third movement underscores the compositional unity of the whole work, which is much greater than the sum of the movements. The humor of the Scherzo, evoking through the repeated sounding of three partial beats, prepares for--by retaining the intimate character of the whole--the fourth movement, but leads us first quickly to the Trio, which evokes reminiscences of the lyrical second movement.
The last movement Poco allegretto passes through variations on a joyful theme that recalls a popular Viennese song of the time. Particularly striking is the strong contrast between the fourth variation--in which the two instruments exchange blows, so to speak--and the following Adagio con variazioni, whose tenderness again recalls the second movement. The last variation Allegro was not conceived by Beethoven as a brilliant, breathtaking finale, for he wrote this piece for the violinist Pierre Rode, of whom he gave his opinion in a letter to the Archduke Rudolph: "We would have gladly had thundering passages in our finale, but R. doesn't agree and--it seemed to me yet some...."
Nevertheless, this closing variation, with humorous interplay between the two instruments, the fast figures, a fugal section, the repetition of theme with accompaniment, and the drawn-out scales, reaches its spirited climax in the difficult run of the violin to the high D, in order then, after a short moment of respite, to indeed close with a "thundering" coda.
Finally, the listener is invited to relate this work to its immediate successor, the "Archduke Trio," op. 97 in B major, in which we find the same spiritual depth and clarity, so characteristic of Beethoven's late works. Seth Taylor pp 12-13:
Tonight's concert must be called world-historic on several counts: It is the first purely instrumental concert in the U.S. for the movement to return to the tuning used by the classical composers for their music--a middle C set at 256 Hz--which has gained hundreds of adherents among musicians internationally. It is the only American appearance this season by Norbert Brainin, one of the leading violinists of Europe, and former first violinist of the legendary Amadeus Quartet. And perhaps most important, it is taking place at a time when Americans--and particularly those in this nation's capital--most need the inspiration of this great music to rise to the quality of leadership that the worldwide freedom movement demands of us.
Dr. Brainin has dedicated this concert to his good friend Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., the man who inspired the campaign to lower the pitch to C-256, former presidential candidate, and one of America's leading minds. It is a sad commentary on our great nation, that today this universal genius, whose work has revolutionized the fields of economics, political science, philosophy, and music, and whose leadership is so clearly needed, as our nation confronts the twin realities of worldwide political upheavals and economic collapse, is condemned by his enemies to a life sentence in federal prison.
Just prior to LaRouche's unjust imprisonment in January 1988, Dr. Brainin stated on a national television broadcast in the United States on Nov. 5, 1988: "I met LaRouche through my work with the Amadeus Quartet, of which I used to be leader until one of my colleagues died last year. I was always astonished about Lyn's knowledge of music, which was far above that of many practicing musicians and certainly way above that of most laymen. He displayed the kind of analytical mind, the kind of truth-seeking which one associates with a real scientist."
At his historic all-Beethoven concert in Berlin, played in honor of the fall of the Berlin Wall in December of last year, Norbert Brainin explained the reason for giving such a concert as ours tonight, at such a time in human history:
"It is my desire in this way--through the music of Beethoven--to greet the people of the German Democratic Republic and to congratulate them, as they have risen up peacefully and without force against dictatorship and now speak out for freedom. These historical developments inspire the entire civilized world--their consequences are yet to be seen, but are at the same time blessed. Long live Western culture and with it the entire German people."
In April of this year, at the height of Lithuania's battle to become a free republic, Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis, who is a musicologist by profession, was asked by Cable News Network, "Do you believe that President Bush should get tougher with Gorbachov?" His reply also bore on the role of great music in the world today:
A: Yes, I would want that. Q: What would you want Bush to do?
A: I offer no advice except we need support which is best expressed by music.
Q: What kind of music? A: Beethoven, the Fifth or the Ninth Symphony, yes, the Ninth.
Q: Why the Ninth? A: Why, because the Ninth is the symphony of hope and the symphony of the future.
The Schiller Institute, which was founded in 1984 by Helga Zepp-LaRouche and dedicated to fostering republican freedom throughout the world, responded to President Landsbergis's plea, by mobilizing the performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in dozens of cities throughout the United States and Western Europe.
Our concert tonight was conceived in much the same spirit. Washington, D.C. has recently been a battle zone for the worldwide Freedom Movement: from the Lithuanian independence struggle, to the Chinese students commemorating the massacre at Tiananmen Square, to the U.S.-Soviet summitry. What role our nation plays in this struggle will determine the fate of freedom in the world.
As our namesake, the great German playwright and Poet of Freedom, Friedrich Schiller, wrote in his Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man, improvement in the political realm can occur only through the ennoblement of the individual, which it is the unique role of great art to achieve. We therefore bring you this concert, in hopes that it can contribute to the ennoblement of those in this city, who hold the fate of nations in their hands. Marianna Wertz
Without any doubt, the Amadeus Quartet, which would have celebrated its 42nd anniversary this year, was the world's most famous string quartet, and in fact, its very best. The outstanding quality of this ensemble, which has had an immense impact on the world cultural scene, flows from several facts, the most notable of which is their total dedication to revive the greatest music ever written: the music of the classical period, especially the outstanding works of Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, and particularly, Beethoven.
It still strikes the whole musical world as a tragedy, that this truly unique musical institution abruptly ceased to exist on August 15, 1987 when violist Peter Schidlof died suddenly of a heart attack while vacationing in Sunderland, England. Sticking to their firm commitment only to perform the great works of art in the most perfect way possible for them, they had to make the sad decision never to play string quartets again, since, as they expressed it, "Peter is simply irreplaceable.' It is, therefore, all the more important that the remaining players of the legendary Amadeus Quartet not only keep up the tradition of teaching, but also that of performing classical music in other forms: by joining other musicians in playing string sextets and piano trios, as was the case recently in Paris, Cologne, and London, or violin sonatas, as Norbert Brainin is doing tonight in Washington.
The underlying reason why these four excellent European musicians have enjoyed a constantly increasing, extraordinary influence worldwide, was their common cultural background: They all took pride in being representatives of our great Judeo-Christian civilization and were convinced that performing great classical art first of all meant "ennobling people." Three of them, violinists Norbert Brainin and Siegmund Nissel as well as violist Peter Schidlof, were Austrian Jews, driven out of Vienna after Hitler's Anschluss of 1938, when they were still teenagers. Arriving in England with almost nothing but their instruments in hand, they did not have much time to rejoice about the fact that they had just narrowly escaped the fate of being thrown into a concentration camp by the Nazis, since they were put into British internment camps as "enemy aliens" only months later.
This misfortune, which they were forced to share with many other Jewish refugees, ironically turned out to be a great advantage in the long run, since it was in one of these camps that Norbert Brainin first met Peter Schidlof. They became close friends instantly and performed classical music together for the other inmates. While Brainin was able to leave the camp after a few months to continue his studies with Max Rostal, the assistant to the world-renowned violin pedagogue Carl Flesch, Schidlof had to stay on, but was fortunate enough to meet violinist Siegmund Nissel. With the help of Brainin, Rostal, and other friends, they managed to leave the internment camp as "outstanding artists," and were fortunate enough to be able to take up studies with Rostal without having to pay "a single penny."
These war years represented the greatest challenge to them. Threatened by the constant bombardments of London and working for eight hours a day in armament factories, they had only their evening hours to study their instruments. By mastering these extraordinary personal and political problems, they learned to master all the musical and cultural problems which were to come up in the future. It was through their teacher Max Rostal that they came to know the excellent young English cellist Martin Lovett, and it was also Rostal who recognized their high-ranking talent for performing chamber music. So, in the summer of 1947 they gave their first public concert as the "Brainin Quartet" and in January 1948 they started their outstanding, long-lasting career as the Amadeus Quartet.
The Amadeus Quartet became famous worldwide not only for its unique ability to perform classical music and for the special quality of its sound (the "Amadeus sound"), but especially for its absolutely ruthless dedication to artistic perfection. They took great pains in studying and restudying time and again the music they were about to perform, and they demonstrated on stage a visible, extraordinary personal commitment to perfoming the music in the best possible way.
These qualities, combined with their constant search for artistic truth and musical beauty, a search conducted by way of "terribly honest" discussions among the four (as Norbert Brainin has explained it), were the reason that each and every performance of the Amadeus Quartet sounded as fresh and lively as the very first one. What an accomplishment, that four outstanding individuals not only "stick together" and make progress as an ensemble for almost 40 years, but also manage to truthfully and beautifully create the music as if it had just been composed.
It is very sad that since August 1987, we can no longer participate in a live performance of the Amadeus Quartet, and therefore have to console ourselves by listening to their many, many recordings of the masterworks of Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, and Beethoven. But their great classical tradition is being kept alive, not in the least by this concert of their former first violinist.
On April 9, 1988 at a conference on "Music and Classical Aesthetics" sponsored by the Schiller Institute at the Casa Verdi in Milan, Italy, a worldwide campaign was launched to restore the lower tuning pitch of the classical composers from Bach through Verdi, a pitch based on a Middle C of 256 Hz, which in turn is grounded in the physical laws of our universe.
This campaign had been originally inspired by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., whose collaborators uncovered the historical evidence that Giuseppe Verdi, Italy's great composer and nation-builder, had successfully battled to impose a diapason of A-432, based on Middle C-256, as the official tuning of the Italian armed forces in 1884. The Milan conference heard presentations, among others, from Prof. Bruno Barosi of the Cremona International Institute of Violinmaking, Dr. Jonathan Tennenbaum on the astrophysical basis of the C-256 tuning, and soprano Renata Tebaldi on the absolute necessity to reverse the tendency toward raising the pitch in performance, in order to save the voices of today's and tomorrow's singers. World-famous Verdi baritone Piero Cappucilli demonstrated the difference between the Verdi tuning and today's higher pitch by singing two Verdi arias in the two tunings.
In July, 1988, at a press conference in Rome, Senators of the Republic Boggio and Mezzapesa announced they were introducing a law into the Italian Senate to make A-432 the mandatory pitch for all state-subsidized performances and teaching institutions. While passage of this law was ultimately sabotaged by supporters of the Communist Party in the Italian Senate, the campaign to lower the pitch has continued to spread internationally, as its salutary effect on the singing voice, in particular, has gained the lower pitch hundreds of adherents around the world.
In the United States, the Schiller Institute has championed the effort for a return to the "scientific pitch" of Middle C-256. The Institute has just made available to schools and music teachers a documentary slide show with audio cassette sound track entitled, "The Primacy of the Singing Voice."
In 1884, Giuseppe Verdi directed the letter translated here to the Music Commission of the Italian War Ministry, which had responsibility for the Military chorus, and thus selected its tuning fork, to set the pitch uniformly at A-432 Hz:
Genoa, February 10, 1884
"Since the standard tuning fork was adopted in France [435 Hz], I suggested that Italy follow this example. I formally asked orchestras in various Italian cities, among which is the orchestra at La Scala, to adjust their pitch to the lower pitch of the French. If the Musical Commission of our government now believes, based on mathematical considerations, that the vibrations of the tuning fork should be reduced from 870 [435 complete vibrations] to 864 [432 complete vibrations], the difference is so small, almost unhearable by the human ear, that I would be glad to support it.
"It would be a very bad mistake, as it was proposed in Rome, to adopt a tuning fork of 900 vibrations [450 complete vibrations]. I agree with you, that lowering the pitch does not at all reduce the sonority and brilliance of performance; on the contrary, it gives something nobler, fuller, more majestic, and not as shrill as does a higher tuning fork.
"On my side, I would like to have a single tuning fork adopted in the whole musical world. Music is a universal language: Why should the same note be called A in Paris and Milan and B-flat in Rome?"
It has become a universally recognized fact, that the lower tuning of A-432 Hz is a great help for all singers. On the other hand, the advantage that the lower tuning offers instrumentalists is not so well documented. It is universally accepted that for wind instruments--brass and woodwinds--the difficulties in playing in the lower tuning are insurmountable and, in fact, will require a complete reconstruction. With string instruments there is, obviously, no problem. They need only be tuned somewhat lower. This has several consequences. The burden of the tension on the instrument is less--the tone is richer in substance, that is, it is broader, since it is possible for the player to draw the bow nearer the bridge, without there being unavoidable "scratches." That means a more economical use of the bow, which increases the breadth of tone-color and the dynamics. Of course, the projection is diminished--but only minimally. Everyone knows that the higher tones have a greater projection than lower--but high tones sound uniformly the same. The greater multiplicity of sound that is produced by the lower tuning is therefore worth the sacrifice, if it really is a "sacrifice." The lesser tension on the instruments in the lower tuning also means a substantial extension of the lifespan of these irreplaceable instruments.
I myself can remember many recordings, which have subsequently become historic, of great performances by Casals, Heifetz, Elman, Milstein, Kreisler, Huberman, Adolf Busch, Enesco, Kulenkampff, Menuhin, etc. Anyone who has heard these can remember their tonal quality. In all these performances, the tuning was considerably lower than is customary today. Certainly it was not higher than A-440 Hz. This is a fact that can be easily proved, because we have these records and can compare them with today's recordings.
I am personally of the opinion, that the trend to an ever higher tuning is simply senseless and will only lead to the complete destruction of voices and instruments.
November 6, 1988 will undoubtedly go down in musical history since, on this day, in an internationally famous musical institute, the scientific proof was given that music sounds more beautiful in the "Verdi tuning" of C-256 Hz (corresponds to A-432 Hz) than in the higher tuning commonly used today.
In a simple but extraordinarily conclusive experiment, it was demonstrated that the sounds produced in the low tuning have a greater abundance of overtones. The result: The sounds have more color, and their volume and projection are greater.
Prof. Bruno Barosi, director of the Physical Acoustics Laboratory at the International Institute for Violin-making in Cremona, and Dr. Norbert Brainin, first violin of the unforgettable Amadeus Quartet, carried out the experiment together at the institute's headquarters in historic Palazzo Raimondi. Brainin played the Omobono Stradivarius of 1736.
In carrying out the experiment, Brainin played on the four open strings G, D, A, and E, as well as the corresponding octaves, first in the low tuning and then in the high.
Using computers, Barosi and his assistants carried out spectroscopic analysis of the recorded sounds that were finally drawn in the form of curves. Comparison of the curves produced an unambiguous picture: The sounds in the deep tuning were distinguished by their abundance of overtones, both with regard to the number of such and to the volume.
In a further experiment, the recording demonstrated the rate at which the Omobono Stradivarius reacted to the entire spectrum of frequencies from 20 to 20,000 Hz, the typical pattern of an "old violin of the Cremona School," and really quite similar to the famous Il Cremonese Stradivarius of 1715, which is displayed in the Cremona Town Hall. Remarkably, the violin showed its best resonance at 259 Hz, and thus quite close to C-256 Hz.
The Cremona demonstration was recorded for TV, and broadcast on the regional news. On Nov. 24, Professor Barosi explained the experiment at a hearing in Rome at the Ministry of Culture.
This petition calls for the return to Verdi's "scientific tuning" of C-256 Hz. The legislation was introduced at the Schiller Institute's April 9-10, 1988 conference on Music and Classical Aesthetics, in Milan, Italy. If you have not yet signed the petition, please do so and return it. If you have already signed it, pass it to a friend! These are only some of the fine musicians who have signed the petition, presented as legislation before the Italian Parliament:
Sherrill Milnes (baritone) Dame Joan Sutherland (soprano) Piero Cappuccilli (baritone) Richard Bonynge (conductor) Carlo Bergonzi (tenor) Christa Ludwig (mezzosoprano) Giuseppe di Stefano (tenor) Elly Ameling (soprano) Bidu Sayao (soprano) Peter Schreier (tenor) Birgit Nilsson (soprano) Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (barit) Fedora Barbieri (mezzosoprano) Grace Bumbry (soprano) Fiorenza Cossotto (mezzosoprano) Norman Shetler (pianist) Luciano Pavarotti (tenor) Leona Mitchell (soprano) Mirella Freni (soprano) Diane Kesling (mezzosoprano) Gilda Cruz-Romo (soprano) Louis Quilico (baritone) Nikolai Ghiaurov (basso) Joseph Rouleau (basso) Ivo Vinco (basso) Jascha Silberstein (cellist) Renato Bruson (baritone) Henry Pleasants (author) Ruggero Raimondi (basso) Mara Zampieri (soprano) Kurt Moll (basso) Maria Chiara (soprano) Bruno Rigacci (conductor) Elizabeth Mannion (mezzosoprano) Gian Paolo Sanzogno (conductor) Bodil Frolund (pianist) Alberta Masiello (conductor) Anthony Amato (director) Jodi Laski-Mihova (soprano) Anthony Morss (conductor) James Morris (bass) Gino Bechi (baritone)
PROPOSED LEGISLATION AND PETITION FOR THE RETURN
The following is the text of a proposed bill to lower the standard pitch to C-256 Hz (A-432), which was presented by the Schiller Institute to the Italian Parliament in 1988, and which is being circulated for international endorsement by friends of music.
The continual raising of pitch for orchestras provokes serious damage to singers, who are forced to adapt to different tunings from one concert hall or opera to the next, thus altering the original texture and even the key of the works they perform; and
The high standard pitch is one of the main reasons for the crisis in singing, which has given rise to "hybrid" voices unable to perform the repertoire assigned to them; and
In 1884, Giuseppe Verdi mobilized the Italian government to issue a decree establishing A-432 cycles (corresponding to middle C-256) as the "scientific standard pitch," correctly stating in a letter to the government's Music Commission, that it was absurd that "the note called A in Paris or Milan should become a B-flat in Rome"; and
Even for many instruments, among them the Cremona violins, ancient organs and even the piano, modern high tuning is deleterious, in that it does not take physical laws into account;
Therefore, the undersigned demand that the Ministries of Education, Arts and Culture, and Entertainment accept and adopt the normal standard pitch of A-432 for all Italian music institutions and opera houses, such that it become the official Italian standard pitch, and, very soon, the official standard pitch universally.
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