Music as Autobiography- Translated by Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch
2 Part Two: Theoretical Presuppositions
2Part Two: Theoretical Presuppositions
2.1Questions Regarding the Psychology of Creation
2.1.1Inspiration as Gift from On High
“What is usually called invention, that is, a real idea, is, so to speak, a gift from on high, inspiration, i.e., it is not my doing.” Johannes Brahms195
“One does not compose, one gets composed.” Gustav Mahler196
“The artist’s creative activity is instinctive. Consciousness has little influence on it. He feels as if what he does is being dictated to him.” Arnold Schönberg197
The question as to the relative weighting between life and creation, and specifically the question as to the priorities the artist himself sets down in his life’s plan, opens central perspectives for a deeper understanding of the psychology of the creative individual. Theodor W. Adorno made some statements about this question that bear thinking about.
In the eleven years in which I knew him [he writes about his teacher Berg] I always sensed more or less clearly that as an empirical person he was not quite with it, did not fully play along; at times that came through in moments of mental absence, which exactly tallied with the expressionless expression in his eyes. He was not identical with himself in the way that is idolized by the existential ideal, but had something oddly unassailable, even something indifferent, spectator-like, such as Kierkegaard, merely from his Puritanism, has decried it about the aesthetic. Passion itself became, while he...
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