Wagner vs. Bach, 1

The fourth part of El Grial begins with a dream that I now translate into English:

I was walking on a street by day next to Dad, who pointed out to me, enthusiastic and joyful as his character, the great church—or wall of a great church, rather like a Gothic cathedral—while I felt real horror for the (not glimpsed, only felt) kind of gargoyles, low relief sculptures or external figures of a very dark-stone cathedral. The contrast between the spirited Dad in pointing out to me that Christian bastion as something so positive that he even smiled at me and the horrified son—although I corresponded to Dad’s smile from my height as a child with another smile to be nice with him—couldn’t be greater.

Then I commented that over the years I had several dreams with that theme. I interpreted that my father lacked enough empathy to realise that traditional Catholic doctrine, which seemed so positive to him, horrified his little firstborn.

I recently said that Parsifal’s music has been one of my favourites, despite the fact that the opera characters are quasi-Christian knights that Wagner devised. Wagner’s last opus is not a hundred percent Christian insofar the script never names Christ or Christianity. Rather, it resembles the spirit of the Germanic sagas in times of Christian conversion, when something of the ancient pagan spirit was still breathed. In this first entry about how I contrast Wagner with Bach I confess that, unlike Parsifal, traditional Christian music has horrified me as much as that series of dreams with which I opened this post.

Iconoclasm, even in music, is a thorny topic. If we proclaim the transvaluation of all values the question immediately arises: What to do with the so-called sacred music after the anti-Christian revolution conquers the world? We have already seen that Nietzsche loved Parsifal’s music but abhorred its message, especially the chastity of the quasi-Christian knights. In my opinion, Wagner, Hitler’s favourite composer, is salvageable but how should we treat sacred music from his predecessors?

Unlike Richard Wagner (1813-1883) who flourished a century after the death of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Bach had no passion for the Germanic sagas of the pagan past. On the contrary: Bach composed his music for the main Lutheran churches in Leipzig, and adopted Lutheran hymns in his vocal works. The hundreds of sacred works that Bach created are generally seen as a manifestation not only of his craft, but of his great devotion to the god of Christians: the very god of the Jews. Bach even taught Luther’s catechism as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, and some of his pieces represent it. For example, his very famous St Matthew Passion, like other works of this type, illustrates the Passion of (((Christ))) directly with biblical texts.

Compare all this with Wagner’s relatively paganised work who didn’t quote the gospel: a musician who, by introducing pre-Christian elements in his operas, was already starting to shake off the Judeo-Christian monkey from his back. But before continuing my talk about Bach I would like to quote, once again, the words of Nietzsche that appear in The Fair Race:
 

§ 61

Here it becomes necessary to call up a memory that must be a hundred times more painful to Germans. The Germans have destroyed for Europe the last great harvest of civilisation that Europe was ever to reap—the Renaissance. Is it understood at last, will it ever be understood what the Renaissance was?

The transvaluation of Christian values: an attempt with all available means, all instincts and all the resources of genius to bring about a triumph of the opposite values, the more noble values… To attack at the critical place, at the very seat of Christianity, and there enthrone the more noble values—that is to say, to insinuate them into the instincts, into the most fundamental needs and appetites of those sitting there…

I see before me the possibility of a heavenly enchantment and spectacle: it seems to me to scintillate with all the vibrations of a fine and delicate beauty, and within it there is an art so divine, so infernally divine, that one might search in vain for thousands of years for another such possibility; I see a spectacle so rich in significance and at the same time so wonderfully full of paradox that it should arouse all the gods on Olympus to immortal laughter: Cæsar Borgia as pope!… Am I understood? Well then, that would have been the sort of triumph that I alone am longing for today: by it Christianity would have been swept away!

What happened? A German monk, Luther, came to Rome. This monk, with all the vengeful instincts of an unsuccessful priest in him, raised a rebellion against the Renaissance in Rome…

Instead of grasping, with profound thanksgiving, the miracle that had taken place: the conquest of Christianity at its capital—instead of this, his hatred was stimulated by the spectacle. A religious man thinks only of himself. Luther saw only the depravity of the papacy at the very moment when the opposite was becoming apparent: the old corruption, the peccatum originale, Christianity itself, no longer occupied the papal chair! Instead there was life! Instead there was the triumph of life! Instead there was a great yea to all lofty, beautiful and daring things!

And Luther restored the church.

9 Comments

  1. Leo X, whom Nietzsche seems to be referencing, was friends with all sorts of heretics, deists and atheists, like Erasmus, Raphael, Copernicus et al. who would be condemned by much more christian and orthodox popes after him. Leo X was a Medici, one one of his relatives or ancestors wrote a play extolling Julian the apostate. There is a statue of wisdom, in Saint Peter’s basilica, with an owl in it… to represent the pagan goddess of wisdom, Minerva.

    • Erasmus a religious dissident? LOL!

      Nietzsche was referring to the revival of classical sculpture and painting. The god of the Sistine Chapel looks like Zeus; he doesn’t resemble in the least the Hebrew god. Incidentally, these are the first bars of the music that Nietzsche liked:

  2. “Iconoclasm, even in music, is a thorny topic. If we proclaim the transvaluation of all values the question immediately arises: What to do with the so-called sacred music after the anti-Christian revolution conquers the world?”

    Oh, I touched already this important topic somewhere in my replies. What will be destiny of the Christian era art in general, not only music? It seems even from the tenth level point of view (Mauricio’s brief summary of awakening) it’s heartbreaking to think that metaphorical Berlin (old world and its inhabitants) must be totally and unconditionally destroyed for new genuine capital (Welthauptstadt Germania) could arise. And yet, salvageability of the venomous masterpieces poses hazard to temper of future generations. So, with a quaking conscience, I have no doubt we are able to create much more beautiful and powerful artworks from “point zero”, after a Culturocide.

    • No hazard at all: as religion is a parental introject (again, cf. El Grial). The trick is to break the chain in a single generation and no one will be mesmerized by Xtianity afterwards.

      After the elimination of non-gentiles and non-whites, I am far more interested in eliminating staunch Xtians who continue to teach their children the doctrine of hell than eliminating Christian art. It is fundamental to keep art in museums in order to understand Xtian psychopathology after the new calendar is established (anno Hitleris).

      • Well, Cesar, you should be happy that most young people today are leaving Christianity behind. The churches are mainly composed of boomers and their grandchildren whom they insist in bringing.

        Christianity will die off soon, thanks to the arrival of Internet.

        The question is: with what we will replace it?

        Some people are organizing and creating pagan communities in the countryside, I think that’s a good approach.

        I personally have an idea of creating my own sect targeted to men with the purpose of promoting masculine values and such.

        We will see.

      • The problem is Christian morality, which includes the ethics of agnostics and atheists and liberals. Giving up Xtianity while maintaining its axiology is not what I meant.

    • I’d like to agree with you, really, but (sub specie Aryan aeternitatis) those museums of psychopathology vary little from, say, cultural preservation (hmmm, for the purpose of scientific research?) some porn movies with white girls starring.

      It’s impossible to get away fully from Christian context when listening to baroque and classical music (like Bach’s Messe in h-moll or Mozart’s Requiem), and when contemplating some famous canvases and statues of Renaissance, and when reading Dante’s Divine Comedy etc. European culture swarms with worms of the Old and New Testaments, and that codifies all our mentality. Christians stood on ruins of Antiquity and were forced to adopt for example Plato and Aristotle. Those who will stand on bones of Christianity inevitably drag its faded remains in their psyche.

  3. Mr. Tort, what do you think about Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies?

    • Exactly the same that Pierce thought about him in Who We Are:

      It is ironic that the father of the Reformation, Martin Luther, who inadvertently helped the Jews fasten their grip on the West, detested them and vigorously warned his Christian followers against them. His book Von den Jueden und ihren Luegen (On the Jews and their Lies), published in 1543, is a masterpiece. Luther’s antipathy to the Jews came after he learned Hebrew and began reading the Talmud. He was shocked and horrified to find that the Hebrew religious writings were dripping with hatred and contempt for all non-Jews…

      Alas, Luther could not have it both ways. He had already sanctified the Jews by elevating the status of their history, their legends, and their religion to that of Holy Writ. His translation of the Old Testament into German and his dissemination of the Jewish scriptures among his followers vitiated all his later warnings against the Jews. Today the church he founded studiously ignores those warnings.

      The above aso appears in The Fair Race.


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