Was she not gay and lively, as I had wished to see her? What right have we to let ourselves be swayed by the vagaries of our instinct and expect our companion to feel the same obligation of silence or speech at any given moment? Our emotion should strike chords so strong and true that no minor dissonances of varying temperaments can make them ring false.
A macabre march, containing some dangerous dissonances, gravely ushers us to ascending staircases of triplets, only to precipitate us to the very abysses of the piano. That first subject, is it not almost as ethically puissant and passionate as Beethoven in his F minor Sonata? Chopin's lack of tenaciousness is visible here.
Religions to-day have lost much of their asperity one toward the other. The study of Comparative Religion has led men everywhere to magnify the assonances, rather than the dissonances, of the Great World Faiths. Theosophy magnifies into a cult this function of bringing religions together.
This method of "imitation" was employed by all the polyphonic composers. Continuity was assured; lovely or unlovely harmonic dissonances were always arising, and being resolved through the collisions and onward movement of parts; the music, both melodically and harmonically, could be as expressive as the particular composer's powers allowed.
A cork fixed to a wire served as a hammer. Imagine an unskilled hand striking at random on this key-board, with a sudden clash of octaves, dissonances and topsy-turvy chords; and you will have a pretty clear idea of the Toads' litany. As a song, this litany has neither head nor tail to it; as a collection of pure sounds, it is delicious. This is the case with all the music in nature's concerts.
We are not mere individual organ-stops, each without use or significance apart from the rest, waiting for our mutual dissonances to be swallowed up in some "music of the whole," but members of a family, each with a place in the Parent's heart and thought.
So well are they written that they are a safe guide, and worthy that supreme trust, the first formation of a child's taste. Even dissonances are used, sparingly but bravely enough to give an idea of the different elements that make music something more than a sweetish impotence.
Victor Hugo, in his "Contemplations," has been carrying me from world to world, and since then his contradictions have reminded me of the convinced Christian with whom I was talking yesterday in a house near by.... The same sunlight floods both the book and nature, the doubting poet and the believing preacher, as well as the mobile dreamer, who, in the midst of all these various existences, allows himself to be swayed by every passing breath, and delights, stretched along the car of his balloon, in floating aimlessly through all the sounds and shallows of the ether, and in realizing within himself all the harmonies and dissonances of the soul, of feeling, and of thought.
Immortality and Divine love these were the great words pronounced by Paul and by Christ. Cleon is the despairing cry of Pagan culture for the life beyond the grave which would attune to harmony the dissonances of earth, and render intelligible its mournful obscurities.
There is the balance of contrasted or competing themes; the subordination of the lesser to the more striking and insistent motives; the preparation for, emergence and triumph of, a final passage that resolves all dissonances and adjusts all conflicts.