My window on paradise from Stalin’s hell
Friday, January 21, 2011 E-Mail this story Free Headline Alerts
Lev Navrozov emigrated from the USSR in 1972.
In 1914, the year when WWI began, many inhabitants of Russia, well-educated in the humanities or unusually intelligent in those fields, had ceased to believe that the government of Russia would ensure a sufficient prosperity for the population of Russia. As a “revolutionary song” of those times proclaimed:
No, not to heaven, But to earth, throw your dice, It is on earth that we shall build a paradise!
Let me tell you how I became blessed with paradise in hell — in Stalin’s Russia.
Before 1945, Stalin persecuted and “eliminated” those who endangered his power, however conjecturally or fantastically.
After 1945, Stalin started the persecution of Jews. He planned to exterminate them but did not accomplish that because he died. During that hell, against the background of the overall scarcity of goods and empty stores, sold at ordinary shops in Moscow were gramophone records of classical music.
Here I should make several reservations about myself. My mother played the piano only when she had lived in Vitebsk as a young girl. Neither my father nor I nor anyone I knew played any musical instrument.
Yet here was in my teenage a gramophone I had acquired, as well as records of German classical music!
Let me recall the German composers, whose music of genius was immortalized on those records.
The time limits I take were the youth of Bach (he was 15 years of age in 1700) and Wagner’s death (1883). Within the span between those two remarkable events creating their music of genius were Beethoven, Brahms, Handel, Hayden, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Mozart, Schubert, C. Schumann, and R. Schumann.
Yes, all those composers were Germans. The two-century feast of musical genius was discontinued when Gavrilo Princip, a “19-year-old Serbian patriot” used his pistol to kill the Austro-Hungarian Arch-duke and his wife in June of 1914.
Through mutual exchanges of retaliations, WWI (1914 to 1918) was on. And WWI led to WWII, since the Versailles Treaty, which Germany signed after WWI, declared Germany as being the aggressor, though Gavrilo Princip was not even a German, but a “Serbian patriot.” As a result, many Germans were offended, frightened, and turned to support Hitler, a soldier in WWI, who they thought might bring Germany back to its prewar power, and proclaimed him the “leader.” Since then history aimed at WWII.
What about the two-century feast of German music of genius? It has never reappeared. There was a turn of history. Since then, Germany has become a hostile province for the rest of the West.
In my teenage, I escaped into that German music of genius as into the paradise on earth. Were those Germans human or superhuman?
Apart from music, there are painting and literature in art and culture. But no matter how hard artists and writers tried to go from earth to heaven, their “abstractions” were “human.” The music of genius created by those Germans does not resemble any reality. If that music of genius is human, it is to the human soul that it belongs. But what is a “human soul”? It is meaningless in this case except as music of genius which one can associate with the word “soul.” But the word “soul” is different in different languages, and none of the words connotes what those Germans heard in their heads as they wrote their music.
Yes, their music of genius first appeared in their brains. But then any insanity or stupidity also originates in the brain.
The attitude to Germany had changed: It became both despicable as a criminal den and ridiculous (after Stalin’s Russia threw Hitler’s Germany out of the country and its “leader,” a comical hoodlum, killed himself).
The entire period of German history — music of genius for about two centuries — came to an end with the final military farce, in which only the corpses were genuine, including that of the suicidal “leader” himself.
This phenomenon of the German spirit suggests that history should be divided not into Roman decimals such as centuries, but into spiritual states like genius in music.
In a sense, the studies of human spiritual life and hence of human history have not yet begun in earnest. Was there a spiritual connection between composers of genius in Germany? Why did that flood of genius in Germany occur in those times? Will it ever recur somewhere or never anywhere?
Why Germany? Indeed, what do we know about Germany, pushed into two wars within half a century? Should Germany be judged not by its greatest composers who ever lived, but by the illiterate clown, declared to be the “leader” of Germany?