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Review: A Stranger in Sicily – the premiere of the new opera by Paolo Rosato at Metropolia, Helsinki

After the premiere,  composer and libretist  in the middle holding flowers

After the premiere, composer and libretist in the middle holding flowers

Tero Halonen as Lars Cleen

Tero Halonen as Lars Cleen

Whoever has visited Northern Italy, Sicily or Calabria has noticed that there are blond and blue-eyed Italians there; they are descendants of the Normans who settled there in medieval times. The first idea for the opera by Paolo Rosato ripened when Rosato was teaching in Trapani, Sicily, where the castle of Erice evokes those ancient times. Therefore the novel of Pirandello’s in which a stranger, a Nordic sailor, stays in Sicily due to the shipwreck of his boat has a certain cultural basis. Yet in the libretto by Walter Zidaric, it has been changed a little so that when Pirandello’s sailor is actively observing his new environment and attending to its life, in the opera he is passive, object of his new community’s hostile attitudes. He is called a ‘beast’ (or bête in French) in the opera, not quite a human being at all, with strange manners, strange language and strange physiognomy. In Pirandello he is Lars Cleen, a Norwegian. In the opera he is made a Finn. However, Finnish is not used in the opera, which is mostly sung in Italian. Only the Finnish folk song Minun kultani kaunis on refers to Finland, when Lars hums it in his hopeless homesickness. In fact, I had heard fragments of the opera in Louvain three years ago. There the audience said the opera is a tribute to Finland since the composer has often stayed in and visited our country. However, one national tune does not make an opera a national one – as little as, say, Glazunov’s Finnish Fantasy is ‘Finnish’ in its style merely due to quoting the folk tune Kukkuu, kukkuu, kaukana kukkuu. When I heard Paolo was going to use the Minun kultani melody, I warned him that the tune is definitely a humorous one in a Finnish context. But here it does not matter: It is part of Lars’s nostalgic souvenirs.

The basic atmosphere of the opera is existential. It portrays a person who is ‘thrown’ (Geworfen as Heidegger puts it) into a world but does not find his place there; he feels alienated. But so is the Italian coastal village community, in which Lars’s hosts – who call Lars Larso – are dominated by one rich man, Don Nica, who is master while others are ‘slaves’. The fisherman Don Pietro Milo has found Larso seriously ill on the shore and taken him to his home out of mere Christian compassion since local hospitals had no place for such a creature. Larso is thus taken care of by Milo’s niece Venerina and her aunt Donna Rosolina. They are scared of this new person, but at the end Venerina and Larso have a baby. However, this does not save the situation; Lars only wants to get out, home, and finally the Swedish boat arrives. Nevertheless, it is too late; Lars in the end gives up on all things and commits suicide. Why he does it remains slightly a mystery.

So this is the plot of this opera, whose music is mostly contemplative, melodious, mostly very singable and sonorous in spite of an avant-gardist and almost atonal tonal language. The original work was written for a large orchestra, but for the Helsinki performance the composer made an arrangement for a 10-membered chamber ensemble. The sound of accordion has an important role in the soundscape of the work. The music in its somewhat minimalist expression is impressive, evoking musica povera. Yet, the climaxes, in which a choir is also needed, are expressionistic and overwhelming.

The production of the opera at Metropolia, together with the Music Society of the University of Helsinki, was a long project; it became possible through support from the Niilo Helander Foundation and the Pacius Memorial Foundation. Metropolia provided singers, the conductor Edward Ananian-Cooper, the stage, correpetition by Ilona Lamberg and the producer Meri-Kukka Muurinen. The University provided the choir under the direction of Kati Pirttimaa and the stage director Jukka von Boehm, and of the singers Tero Halonen, performing the main role of Lars Cleen, also has an academic background. We can be very happy about the result! For Metropolia this was certainly also a pedagogical project for its singers. But it has been able to produce in recent times a lot of highly professional and entertaining stage works. Now the Helsinki audience experienced an avant-garde work by a remarkable Italian composer of the young generation. At the premiere there were people from Helsinki high societies, as well.

The staging by Jukka von Boehm used the stage just as it was appropriate, dividing it into two chambers with space between. The ascetic visual image by Eero Erkamo underlined the basic atmosphere. The lights by Tuukka Törneblom and costumes by Hanna Hakkarainen were just suitable to the story. The characters on stage became clearly profiled. The tempo of events was slow, hesitative, contemplative, existential, which was an enjoyable change from many too fast and noisy contemporary productions. The orchestra played with intensity, and the same has to be said about the choir. Tero Halonen’s role as Lars Cleen was a new achievement for this young tenor, who is actively performing in various operas and productions in Helsinki. He is just the right ‘type’ for the role, a little clumsy and shy Nordic youngster; vocally he mastered excellently the difficult pitches of his role. Matias Haakana was a dramatic tenor in the second role as Don Milo; his voice has a large volume and an electrifying impact on stage in every appearance. Marja Kari also had a singing quality to her voice, with strong expression needed by her role as Venerina. Sirja Pohjanheimo-Vikla was a contrast to her in the role of Rosolina, just suitable by its bright colours. Samuli Takkula was convincing as the patriarchal order in the role of the capitalist Di Nica. The mute role as a Turkish boy by Muhamed Awadi emphasized the highly actual topics of the whole work.

The audience received the premiere with great enthusiasm. There are already plans to bring this production to Italy as well, which it definitely would deserve.

— Eero Tarasti

Iitti Music Festival opened with avant-garde music: Heiner Goebbels in Finland


The wooden church of Iitti, which serves as the concert venue

Iitti Music Festival started last Wednesday  for the 12th time, so it can be said to be a tradition. Every successful festival seems to follow the recipe: one famous artist who knows the place, who is homme ou femme de terrain, as it is said. In Iitti she is of course the pianist Laura Mikkola. Iitti is a charming, small country place, with a wooden church with good acoustics, a nice cafeteria, delicious local food for buffets and coffees, about 100 volunteers to prepare all, some sponsors and a cultural history – for instance, Bertolt Brecht was in Iitti when writing his Puntila.

The opening concert on June 11 at Iitti Church, which is like Mikkeli’s wooden church in miniature, first featured Sibelius, namely the melodrama Skogsrået recited by Hannu-Pekka Björkman and played by Andres Mustonen, Florin Szigeti, Katariina Ruokonen, Jakob Kullberg, Pauliina Koskela, Maria Luhtanen and Kristian Attila. The piece is always suggestive to be heard; the Sibelian ‘driving force’, as the Estonian composer Leo Normet used to say, appears there. Melodrama may seem to have vanished as a genre, but this is not true. It is the winner – namely in the form of film music. What else is cinema music than just speech upon tones?

Malinconia is a brilliant concert piece for cello and piano from the early output of Sibelius, performed brilliantly by Jakob Kullberg and Laura Mikkola. After the intermission we heard the lovely Forelle Quintet by Schubert, always gemütlich and attractive, which has the rare combination of using also a double bass. Famous musicians played it, among others, Andres Mustonen from Estonia, violin, Vladimir Mendelssohn, alto, Petri Mäkiharju on the double bass, at the piano again Mikkola and the cellist Kullberg.

Heiner Goebbels in a dialogue with Eero Tarasti at IItti Music Festival June 11,2015

Heiner Goebbels in a dialogue with Eero Tarasti at IItti Music Festival June 11,2015

Yet, between these enjoyable classics we heard the world premiere of Heiner Goebbels’s Surrogate Cities (1994) on the text of Hugo Hamilton; it was a seven-minute trio version (at the piano Mikkola, on percussion the skilful Japanese Kazutaka Morita) abridged from the original, huge one-hour orchestral piece with 100 musicians, as the composer told in the dialogue with him before the concert. The text portrays urban spaces from shopping centers to slums, but this fragment was about a woman who runs through a city, which is nowhere else than Berlin. She rushes through landscapes, but why? There is an anguished and hurried atmosphere which Björkman expressed very convincingly.

Heiner Goebbels is not unknown in Finland; he has been performed by Avanti, and he has visited the Finnish Broadcasting Company. For the dialogue I asked beforehand five younger Finnish composers, Facebook fellows, what they thought of Goebbels and what they considered his major work. The answers were interesting and told a.o.: He is well known as a theater-oriented composer who has collaborated with Heiner Müller; this friendship has been compared to the relationship between Hanns Eisler and Bertolt Brecht. A well-known piece is his Songs of Wars I Have Seen on Gertrude Stein’s texts portraying her war experiences in France under Vichy in 1943 (yet the issue here is that what is told consists of completely everyday matters, weather, food and noise of bombers only at a distance).

Others said: He is famous for radiophonic works; he would hardly write any string quartet or piano pieces (the composer admitted in the dialogue that he never just writes music like Pierre Boulez). Moreover, one said: “Strange guy, academic, a sociologist if I recall, studies in the theater discipline. Discovered his field between theatre and opera. As an experimentalist and innovator has a remarkable position in the European scene. His roots are in the axis Müller-Eisler-Brecht; he has been able to ‘brand’ himself, good social skills; I cannot mention any major work of his, perhaps he is himself his major work.” Again one said: “As a German his music is stylistically more many-sided and postmodern than many an angry German modernist. He has a lot of style quotations and visual narratives.” Then my friend and colleague from Paris Professor Ivanka Stoianova wrote to me:

Je connais bien Heiner Gœbbels, il faisait partie de notre catalogue Ricordi München, j’ai bien suivi son travail que j’ai toujours trouvé très intéressant, mais je n’ai rien écrit sur lui! (Moi-même je suis étonnée…) C’est quelqu’un de très bien, très intelligent, cultivé et inventif, surtout dans le domaine du théâtre musical. Il a beaucoup travaillé avec l’Ensemble Modern (ils ont, peut-être, beaucoup d’information sur son travail). Je ne connais pas son nouveau livre, bien sûr. En tout cas, ce sera une très belle rencontre avec lui pour toi! Tu peux lui dire bonjour de ma part et que je serais ravie de le revoir/ré-entendre à Paris et de lire son livre. Il est venu ici plusieurs fois avec de beaux spectacles!

In fact, the book mentioned here is the quite new essay collection by Goebbels entitled Aesthetics of Absence. I could not get it because only one copy is in a Finnish library, and it was checked out.

Now my questions to the composer were the following:

You have just published a book Aesthetics of Absence, almost like Struttura assente once by Eco in 1968. You always have some kind of philosophical aspect in your activities: time, space, subject stemming from Immanuel Kant’s categories. You quote philosophers like Merleau-Ponty and others. You like intellectual writers from Canetti to Gertrude Stein. Would you tell something of this and your new book? John Cage seems to be important to you. Did you know Daniel Charles, author of For the Birds? Aesthetics of freedom, liberty, deliberation is central for you like for Cage. The spectator should be active, creative like once in the French nouveau roman etc.

“Yes, from John Cage I have staged his work Europeras, which deconstructs the traditional opera. I took all its parameters, singers, costumes, scenery, orchestra separately and treated them at random by chance with a computer. This is against the traditional opera in which one just receives and emotionally identifies oneself with the ‘message’ from stage. The important thing does not happen on stage but in the mind of the receiver. I am against a totalitarian theater in which there is no free space for a spectator.”

You move in all arts; you are very interartistic. Do you take yourself primarily as a theater man or a musician, a composer? You have the same dilemma as Richard Wagner, theater or music. Nietzsche criticised the idea of Gesamtkunstwerk: It was for him dilettantish to try to combine various arts.

Goebbels strongly refused any analogy with Wagner.

There is much collage and citation in your music: Zofia Lissa wrote about the functions of musical citations; Yuri Lotman said that the quoted element must remain strange in its new environment; Lévi-Strauss spoke about ‘bricolage’.

“I do not cite or quote any composer with the idea that I would then compose my own work upon it. I have the respect for the music and composer whom I cite. I am rather confronting it as such with my music.”

 You are also a kind of anthropologist. For instance, your work Eraritjaritjaka refers to the Australian aboriginal language and quotes a word which means “longing for something which has been lost forever”. For me this evokes also Bruce Chatwin and his Songlines! Your music represents multiculturality and also the mixture of genres and styles. We have in Finland Erik Bergman who also used different cultures as his musical source. Do you consider yourself a postmodern composer?

Goebbels did not want to put himself into any such category. “Yes, the aforementioned piece was based on Elias Canetti’s work with the subtitle ‘Museum of Lost Phrases’. My theme was to create Abstand, distance. Abstand um das Publikum zu motivieren. Die Bühne wird vom Publikum besetzt, weil es nie genau das sieht, was er erwartet.

Is there a political aspect in your output? Are you Adornian in your aesthetics? How much are you indebted to Hanns Eisler and Brecht’s epic theater? Verfremdung?

“I do not see that the political moment in music or theater would be in any message transmitted from stage to audience. The political is purely in the form, in the new utopian form of communication which I try to create in the space of the arts.”

 My last questions were: How do you see the future of classical music amidst popular culture? Do you feel the dichotomy between popular or commercial music and classical music is relevant for you?

“Good popular music is not the commercial one. You have to separate these issues. The best popular music written, say, in the 1980s was not at all the most marketed one.”

— Eero Tarasti

Review: Émilie – The Female Faust

Kaija Saariaho’s opera Émilie at the Finnish National Opera, Helsinki, Monday, April 6, 2015.

Saariaho’s opera takes the spectator/listener immediately into its network and texture of music, image, colour and stage. To stay 1h 20 min inside this sound bath is pleasant. One is as if floating in an oniric state. Yet, here the narrative is definitely Europe in the 18th century. Amin Maalouf has utilized original texts and sources, but made a dramatic arrangement. The historical time is indicated by a harpsichord from beginning to end, an instrument which the real Émilie du Châtelet played. But as to the stage, it is true what the director Marianne Weems says, namely that the elegant and complex composition of Saariaho calls for a design beyond the boundaries of backdrops and set pieces. This is namely an opera of a human mind, not necessarily woman or man, transgressing the boundaries of the empirically observable world. So it is transcendental.

Saariaho is fascinated by protagonists with some obsessional ‘project’ to be filled – like in Simone’s passion. Here Émilie’s passion is to get immersed into the universe dominated by the beauty of mathematical, geometrical, eternal and rational laws. In the climax of the opera she sings high pitched about Principia mathematica (in monk Latin pronouncing prinsipia and sisero) as an extatic declaration. The feminist rhetoric gesture is less convincing. She is united with the whole macrocosm. Unfortunately her microcosm is limited by and bound with triviality: biological processes of her body. Here is the inner conflict of the whole opera. Is is a great narrative, strong enough to captivate the interest of the audience during the whole performance.

There are not many operas about science and scientists. Oswald Spengler has said that science dies if it does not become an experience to anyone. For Émilie, her science of mathematics is indeed a deeply felt personal issue, even more important than life itself. Of course what comes first to one’s mind is Faust. The Germans never got their dream: a Faust composed by a German composer, a Mozart, Beethoven or Wagner. Faust is at the beginning somewhat in the same situation as Emilie: Habe nun, ach! Philosophie, Juristerei und Medizin und leider auch Theologie durchaus studiert, da steh ich nun ich armer Tor, und bin so klug als wie zuvor! (I have studied all sciences and here I stay as stupid as before.) Then comes Mephisto with his offer which Faust accepts. There is a remarkable difference, however, since Émilie never doubts her science, erudition and wisdom. They remain her major aspiration and belief until the end of the opera. She imagines how her great work would appear posthumously. It is important because she wants to be remembered and ‘eternalized’ . Even at the risk of what Jean Cocteau said later: C’est mieux d’être l’homme vivant et l’artiste posthume que le contraire. Emilie’s Mephistos are Voltaire and thereafter her lover Saint-Lambert. However, she does not abandon herself totally to worldly temptations, but keeps her passion for science.

In music, the comparison points would be Schoenberg’s Erwartung or Poulenc’s La voix humaine. As Émilie sings the tragedy and death always loom in the finale. Yet, if one likes, one could recall Luonnotar of Sibelius, a work about the myth of the creation of the world, not far afield from Emilie’s visions albeit in the Age of Reason. True, Saariaho’s music has a fateful atmosphere as if anticipating a personal tragedy, but it also has an exaltation of orchestral effects apt to portray the universe. If Émilie’s own microcosm approaches its end because the principles of mathematics did not reach it, this is one version of the destiny of the universe. This reminds me of a lecture by Nobel prize winner in physics, professor Saul Perlmutter last November at the University of Aix-Marseille: The universe has three alternatives: 1) if everything started with the Big Bang it will also end the same way: so, not so nice, 2) everything is getting faster and faster and so at the end we will disappear: neither a good idea 3) everything is getting slower and slower and so the universe will never end: this sounds good! Saariaho’s musical universe is somewhat an analogy with the idea of an unending nature. Fortunately so as I said, and so the experience of listening to it is analogous to a Japanese Nô theater. Nevertheless, the music also has its dramatic moments. Variety is created by adding a duetto voice of Voltaire or a child but it more or less duplicates the soprano voice. Visually the most impressive is perhaps the fourth one, Rays. Camilla Nylund mastered her role with much devotion, style and vocal splendour. The orchestra performed skillfully under André de Ridder, who kept the global form in his hands and built dynamic highlights convincingly. The harpshichordist distinguished herself as well.

— Eero Tarasti

Music-space and time

Atso A. Eerikäinen
Professor at Metasciences Academy
Music is the most universal phenomenon. It is sounding everywhere, but what is music? David Butler defines it in Encarta encyclopedia: “Music is artful arrangement of sounds across time.” On the one hand, this definition is obviously very broad, but not sufficiently broad. On the other hand, the narrower one would exclude too much essential, as caricaturist Kari Suomalainen’s definition concerning string music: “It is rubbing of pig’s intestine with horse tail hair.” The concept “time” in Butler’s definition is the most essential in music. Time and its two variables open up us the breathtaking view into music, when we listen to it and when it is performed publicly at concert halls or privately at home for own pleasure.

One cannot progress very far in answering the questions concerning music without considering the riddle of time. Time may be the most enigmatic of all metaphysical, philosophical, and physical problems, and it must be resolved in order to understand reality, which is filled by music.

Time as metaphysical problem

Two opposite views of time have been clashing from the dawn of Western thinking. Heraclites (ca.540-480 B.C.) thought that the basic feature of reality is “becoming,” that is, time is a “flux” or perpetual change. As such, time is something physical: measurable, countable, and computable, that is, a posteriori. Parmenides (ca. 515-445 B.C.), in turn, thought there is no change in the universe, because the permanent forms of reality are motionless and mathematical. The universe is timeless and hence, it is something eternal: immeasurable, uncountable, and incomputable, that is, a priori.

Western metaphysicians have mainly argued in favor of Heraclites. There have been three paradigmatic topics concerning time in philosophical enquiry: change, causation, and modality.

Time as change. It is commonly accepted that only time, not space, is the variable of change. The genuine change involves temporal variation in the properties of things, also sounds, when time “passes.” Time is the changing process, where the future is becoming the present, and the present is changing into the past. It is just the change that goes on in the event while it is occurring. The presentness of an event is its happening, as opposed to its having happened or being about to happen. The present is a factual point in the flux of time or a number of motions, which separates and unifies the past and the future, or earlier and later, as Aristotle (384-322 BC) thought. From the ontological difference between the past and the future follows that the past expands in the flux of time: more facts are added to the totality of facts. Changing time can be very long or very short but never zero. In other words, time t is always > 0.

J.M.E. McTaggart showed in his famous paper concerning the unreality of time (in Mind, 17/1908:457-474) the movement of time consists in the fact that later and later terms pass into the present, or that the present passes to later and later terms. In other words, the so-called “B series” of time is sliding along a fixed “A series” of time, or A series of time is sliding along a fixed B series of time. In the first case, time presents itself as a moment from the future to the past. In the second case, time presents itself as a moment from earlier to later. The events seem to come out of the future, while we ourselves move towards the future. B series of time runs backwards, whereas A series of time runs forwards, that is, the future has been, the present is, and the past will be, and vice versa.

Time as causal relation. The main point in the causal theories of time is that time, as a temporal becoming, is asymmetric, deterministic, and continuous. If A causes or is among the causes of B, then B does not cause or is not among the causes of A, and A is sufficient cause for effect B. The asymmetry of time entails that time has a direction because causation has a direction. Asymmetric time is the variable of causality.

Yet within physical time, we cannot affect the past, because it is determined. The future, instead, is not yet determined. There is no present fact about whether A will exist tomorrow, so anything we do or happens now can make a difference for the future. If there is no ontological difference between the present and the future, then future-tense statements must have a determined truthvalue. Hence, the rejection of temporal becoming means a rejection of indeterminism, that is, free will.

The flux of time seems to be continuous. The changing things in time exist continuously. Kant (1724-1804) proposed in his principle of contradiction that a thing cannot be itself and something else simultaneously. If one state exists, the other cannot exist simultaneously. One cannot be both existing and non existing, or neither existing nor non-existing simultaneously. Reality is a continuity of the temporal states.

Time as modal relation. Finally, time can be described in modal terms. “Necessarily p” means that p is true in all possible worlds, and “possibly p” means that p is true at least in some world. The future is just a set of possible worlds, so the flux of time is the passage from the possible to the necessary.

Kant located time into the mind as a pure form a priori of sensible intuition. As such, time has no physical status. Whereas Euclidean space is the formal a priori condition of outer experiences, time is the formal a priori condition of appearances. If this subjective condition of sensibility were removed, time would be nothing at all. Thus, space and time are given a priori, whereas everything that is given in them is a posteriori.

Time as physical problem

In classical mechanics (CM) of Newton (1642-1724), time is absolute, true, and mathematical, which of itself and from its own nature, flows without relation to anything external. Material bodies move through Euclidean space along predictable paths, subject to forces that accelerate them in accordance with strict mathematical laws. The universe is a gigantic clock-like mechanism, predictable in every detail by universal and absolute time. Time is simply there, and nothing can affect it. Newtonian time is absolute calculus: the precise and continuous succession of the present moments.

Newton’s conception of absolute time was rejected 150 years later by Einstein’s (1879-1955) flexible time. Time became Riemann’s non-Euclidean “metric” space or at least an inseparable part of it. Euclidean and “phenomenalistic” SR needs observers and their time depending on how they are moving, whereas non-Euclidean and “realistic” GR does not need any observers. Strictly speaking, Einstein’s GR does not describe time but gravity, which has some important implications concerning time. On the one hand, gravity is not a mysterious mechanical force operating at a distance but a warping of space-time by the mass and energy on it. On the other hand, it is an acceleration that depends on the curvature of space-time. So to say, mass tells space-time how to curve, and space-time tells mass how to move. In fact, Einstein’s space-time as a Riemannian field is simply there, like Newtonian absolute time, but as relative, because it depends on motion of mass and energy on it.

At the quantum level of reality, there is, however, a basic limit that introduces an irreducible fuzziness to the notions of speed, rate, and time: Werner Heisenberg’s (1901-1976) uncertainty principle. The size of the wave function at a point gives the probability that the particle will be found at that point, and the rate at which the wave function changes from point to point gives the probability of different velocities. One can have a wave function that is sharply peaked at a point. This corresponds to a state in which there is a little uncertainty in the position of the particle. However, the wave function varies rapidly. It means that there is a lot of uncertainty in the velocity. Similarly, a long chain of waves has a large uncertainty in position, but a small uncertainty in velocity. One can have a well defined position or a well defined velocity but not both at the same time. This would seem to make complete determinism impossible. If one cannot accurately define both the positions and the velocities of particles at one time, how can one predict what they will be in the future? Even if time is absolute Newtonian clock-time in QM, there is no absolute clock in QM, because all physical clocks are subject to quantum uncertainty. Hence, also time itself may be subject to quantum effects.

What is Now?

Einstein was seriously worried about the question: “What is now”? He concluded that the “now” has no physical status, and hence, it was a metaphysical question that lies beyond scientific physics. Instead, Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington (1882-1944) thought (in The Nature of the Physical World, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1929, p. 97) that our impression of “becoming” is so powerful and central to our experience that it must correspond to something in the objective world. He thought: “If I grasp the notion of existence because I myself exist, I grasp the notion of becoming because I myself become. It is the innermost Ego of all which is and becomes. It seems that we experience time in two distinct ways: externally through the senses and internally within the mind.”

Although Plato (c. 428-347 BC) was obviously the first discoverer of “self” (soul, mind) in Western thinking, it was Aristotle who first put the mind into the center of changing reality. For him time was a measure of change, and as such, a number of motions in connection with earlier and later. There is no time without motion, and there is no present without the mind who realizes it. In this sense, Einstein’s SR is only a novel variation of Aristotle’s metaphysics. But what is the now? Is it only something physical: changing, measurable, countable, and computable, as Heraclites thought or; only something eternal: unchanging, immeasurable, uncountable, and incomputable, as Parmenides thought; or something physical and eternal absolutely simultaneously?

Physical and eternal time

A German theologian Karl Heim (1874-1958), who’s thinking I have researched in my dissertation Time and Polarity (Yliopistopaino: Helsinki 2000) and its expanded version Two Dimensions of Time (Peter Lang: Frankfurt a.m. 2003) defined time ontologically.

There are two variables of time inseparable from each other: physical and eternal or timeless. In entire reality, there are limitless or infinite objectifiable spaces (Räume). The objectifiable consciousness-spaces of my-, your-, and their combination, our-space construct the objectifiable, physical aspect of reality: G-reality (Geworden). In other words, there is an objective reality constructed by “many worlds.” This objective G-reality is relative, physical time. It is impossible to talk about time in general, but only time of individual observers: “my-time” of my-space, “your-time” of your-space or “our-time” of our-space depending on how we are moving through space-time.

Physical time as temporality is the variable of the measurable, countable, and computable change. It is an ever-changing process. The future of possibility and potentiality is becoming the present of actuality, and the presence is changing into the past of necessity. The relative flux of time as a “secondary becoming” or a process is an irreversible sequence of successive present moments (t1, t2…tn). Thus, physical time does not start at to, but at t1, because physical time can be infinitely long or infinitely short but never zero, that is, G > 0. It means that we can observe only the past of time. The events we observe lie on what is called our past light cone.

Physical time is relative space or at least inseparable from Riemannian metric space and gravity in it. The crucial difference between Einstein’s and Heim’s thinking was the question concerning the now. The “now” was, for Einstein, the mysterious question beyond physics. He was right, but because he did not want to answer this crucial question, his conception of time was like Schubert’s unfinished symphony. According to Heim, this “mysterious something” is W-reality, which as non-objectifiable and eternal time is beyond science, as Einstein clearly understood.

Thus, there are also limitless or infinite non-objectifiable spaces, which are incomputable. The non-objectifiable mind-spaces of I-, You-, and their combination, We-space construct the eternal aspect of reality: W-reality (Werden). It is the absolute “now”: nunc aeternum, that is, W = 0. W-reality is the pure nonobjectifiable, emerging, and energetic state within G-reality. Heim argued that W-reality does not include only human minds but also non-objectifiable “minds” of the whole biosphere and the material world. For example, the core of electron seems to be such a mental property. In other words, eternal Wreality is panpsychic.

Eternal time is the variable of the “primary becoming” or transition. It is a certain “imaginary zero-point,” where the “secondary becoming” or process appears into existence. In other words, “not yet become” potential reality becomes “already become,” that is, logically necessary actual reality. Entire reality is a dynamic interaction and an information exchange of physical and eternal time. Eternal W-reality of the minds or knowing, willing and evaluating subjects (I-, You-, and We-space) is the perspectival and energetic center of physical Greality (my-, your-, and our-space) of the objects. Eternal time is absolutely simultaneous with all moments of physical time, as St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) thought. Or in other words, at its deeper level, reality is a sort of “super hologram,” in which the past, present, and future exist simultaneously, as for instance, David Bohm has proposed.

Even if spaces are limitless, there are boundaries within and between spaces. The boundary of contents prevails within a space. If the number of dimensions in a space is n, then the number of dimensions in the boundary of contents is n-1. Instead, the dimensional boundary is the constant velocity of light = c between spaces of W- and G-realities. It means that within a black hole, from where light cannot escape, or within the singularity of Big bang, G-reality of physical time merges into W-reality of eternal time, and hence, W + G = 0.

Except the boundaries, there prevails also the polarity, that is, the absolute simultaneity between W- and G-realities and their spaces. The law of double polarity: A<>B<>AB (indifference condition), as Schelling defined it, is neither a causal (cause-effect) nor logical (premise-conclusion) relationship but is obvious immediately. Since Aristotle, philosophers have concluded that if there is no entity that is purely “in itself” and “through itself” (AB), then there is no secondary and dependent thing imaginable, and all actuality as a whole dissolves into illusion. The polarity implies that there is no physical time without eternal time, and no eternal time without physical time. The polarity holds physical and eternal time together. In other words, reality is not dualistic but monistic totality combined by objectifiable and non-objectifiable aspects of reality. Practically, the polarity means, for instance, that “here” and “there” is absolutely simultaneous in eternal time of I-space but relative in physical time of my-space. I can be “here” and “there” absolutely simultaneously in the eternal now of I-space (the mind) but not in the physical now of my-space.

Thus, eternal time is bound in certain locations in physical time, which can be described by using Boolean algebra. Eternal time is like the Boolean duration between two measurable “clock-ticks” of clocks. The Boolean non-numerical, uncountable duration and the countable duration in physical time are always in the polar relationship: (?) 1< ?>2< ?> 3…< ?>n (?) ?0. Because eternal time exists within physical time, time as a dynamical unity of physical and eternal must be a continuum. Thus, time is both physical and eternal simultaneously. In physical time, all changes are successive, and in eternal time, all happens at once. Time is in eternity, and eternity is in time

Music-space and two variables of time

If Einstein’s relativity theories are unfinished, also the definitions of music based on them are helplessly unfinished and insufficient. As a harmony of two variables of time, music cannot be only “artful arrangement of sounds across (physical) time.” Music is not but “The W-reality of the composer’s mind becoming the sounding G-reality,” that is, “from eternity into temporality.”

We usually experience reality as a three dimensional space, to where time somehow belongs. Einsteinian odd four-dimensional space-time is more difficult to understand. According to the so-called “super-string theories,” there are not only four dimensions but at least 11 or 12 in reality. Those seven or eight additional dimensions are completely invisible. Also music-space is physically at least 11-dimensional. In other words, the sound can be heard from somewhere (three dimensional places), as a time-duration, as some thickness (strong or weak), as some colorfulness, at some height of brightness and sonority, as some kind of tonality, fullness, and intimacy. We could say that what is invisible in reality is audible. The 11-12 dimensional reality is the vibration of strings in different frequencies. The entire universe is like music.

When I listen to music, the sounds come into my ears as waves of air. With help of the eardrums and hear bones, those sound-waves transfer into the liquid of my internal ear, where they change electro-magnetic waves entering into my brain, and I can hear sounds and their composition, music. In other words, when the artist plays music, it transits from his/her W-reality into my G-reality, from my G-reality into my W-reality, and back into my G-reality as a permanent or soon forgetting memory. The at least 350, 000 different kinds of tones of music-space open up me with many variations or not. Namely, the new space opens up always passively as a paradoxal gift, if it opens up at all. We cannot take it, only receive it. Schubert said in his last words: “Music in my name is not mine but received as a gift from eternity.”

When music is performed, it is the transition from eternal W-reality of the composer into physical and temporal process of G-reality. When a pianist plays the Moon Light Sonata of Beethoven, s/he and Beethoven, who has gone long ago, exist in W-reality absolutely at the same time. The pianist must become Beethoven, if s/he likes to interpret what Beethoven aimed in his music. Regrettably, only very few even famous artists realize that the music they are playing is not their own but some one’s else. If the artist do not want to change or is not able to metamorphose, that is, to become for example Beethoven, it would be better that s/he plays only his/her own compositions than raping other’s ones with peculiar and egoistic manner.

If music were only “artful arrangement of sounds across time,” that is, only a phenomenon in G-reality, a robot could be technically the best virtuoso. Such kinds of robots are constructed in Japan, where there are already lots of socalled “artists,” who play mechanically like robots. As a rhythm of two variables of time, music is, however, completely different: the harmony of W- and Greality, that is, from eternity to temporality, and vive versa.

The metamorphose, that is, the most complete unification of the composer and artist, has been know in Buddhist thinking, especially in Zen, for thousands of years. The meeting of two Zen-masters lets to suspect, what it is:

Ky?zan Ejaku asked Sansh? Enen: “What is your name?”
Sansh? said: “Ejaku!”
“Ejaku!” replied Ky?zan, “that’s my name.”
“Well then,” said Sansh?, “my name is Enen.”
Ky?zan roared with laughter.

In other words, two persons exist absolutely simultaneously and as the same person in eternal variable of time, but they are, however, absolutely different persons and relatively temporal in physical variable of time.

In the Western music world, only very few artists have drawn from the Eastern metaphysical wisdom. Menuhin was one of them, and from Finnish musicians only Ralf Góthoni. If the music heard in concerts were authentically the harmony and rhythm of two variables of time, and not only temporarily onedimensional technical and mechanical performance, it could give the listeners much more broadening and unforgettable experiences for better life. The metamorphose does not change the musicians chameleons whose original egoism gets dressed different kinds of cloths, but on the contrary, less egoistic, altruistic, humble, and really great artists.

Savonlinna Music Academy

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