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The Power of Classical Culture - Why classical Music and Poetry are more powerful than all the geo-political Astrology

von Thomas Trautzsch

Schiller Institute - Dialogue of Cultures
Schiller Institute - Dialogue of Cultures
It has been last Saturday that I attended one small, but very fine Venue by the Schiller Institute in Dresden, which went by the title "Dialogue of Cultures along the New Silk Road". The Event took place near the Kreuzkirche in Dresden. Since I was spending nearly 10 years of my life in Dresden, I always fancy a ride to this beautiful town from where I live now. Even more so, if there is a chance to attend some very fine classical music and high-culture, as I knew would be the case. Classical Culture, Music and Poetry always have been a vital element in the policies formulated by the Schiller-Institute and its political counter-part BUESO (Civil Rights Movement Solidarity). When I became a silently supporting member of this organization back in 2005 I think it was, I was mostly attracted by its physical-economic policies for global development cooperation between sovereign nations, as it is far from rocket-science to figure out that this is currently the only way to bring sustaining peace to the world.

Yet, back at that time I was always considering the classical music and poetry component as a mere side show to the political work done by the organizers, being merely for the purpose of attracting members with a certain background and intelligence to become politically active supporters. While this method certainly works on a number of occasions, it only became clear to me after many years, that it is actually what I took for the classical side show, which builds the main fundamental basis for all the humanist policies that had been put forward. Classical Culture, the term of which does not really confine itself to the known European Version of it, ... its music and poetry are reflections of an inherent principle of human and likewise universal creativity, which is the most fundamental basis for our progress and development in human society. I heard these words many times on the numerous conferences and events, which I attended, but I never really pondered them until I started to engage myself in learning and playing music and reading the works of classical philosophers, to which I had no real self-propelled access earlier, because my mind was in an all too common pleasure and pain survival mode, which retrospectively is actually the most inhumane state of mind one can encounter. The revelation by classical literature and music that there is a higher force and purpose than your own little self and to which you can contribute by means of your own creativity was pretty strong and sudden, i.e. when I read Plato's Cave Allegory or his Apology of Socrates. That changed something in my mind almost instantaneoulsy. Revelations of this type make you lose your all too common fear of loss and for yourself. Yet, if the energy, which these kind of discoveries and revelations create, are not put to effective use and if they are not channeled for the right target in the right time and with the right amount of support, one can quickly encounter extreme emotional exhaustion, which I happened to witness on some occasions over the time. The experience of classical music, either by listening or playing, always is a reminder of this universal principle as a source of strength and energy to carry on. It is as if you tap a force of the universe, which makes you endure in accepting that you may not be able to reap the benefits of your deeds during your own lifetime, but generations after you may, because you act as a part in harmony with an intrinsically good and beautiful whole.

Every humanly populated region on this planet houses one or more cultures, which all may be different in many aspects, but which all originate from the same principles and desires to improve human life for our and coming generations and passing on the aqcuired knowledge and capabilities to do so. Even, if there are many diverse views on how to do that and by what means, every genuine culture has its classical elements of achieving, maintaining and promoting genuine human creativity for this purpose. Hence, in that domain of principle most of our cultures have more in common than they have differences. Insofar, it was a pleasure to see for the first time at a musical venue by the Schiller Institute not only a focus on western classical music and poetry, but also incorporating music from other regions all over this world, sharing the same passions. Music, and in particularly classical music itself is a universal principle, to which all mankind can connect to, and which hence is probably the most effective way to transport messages.

The performance, which struck me most was the one by an african-american young man by the name Frank Mathis, who, in accompaniment by the virtuosic danish pianist Benjamin Lylloff of the Schiller Institute, sang a Russian Song in the original language, Russian. It is particularly powerful, because first of all it is probably not too often that one encounters a young black american singing a russian song and secondly, considering the currently very stressed relationship between the great Nations of Russia and the United States on the global stage, this performance is exactly the right kind of gesture to show the world that the people and in particular their governments should build bridges instead of walls, which is particularly relevant, when considering the idea, that the United States should ideally join rather than fight the New Silk Road Initiative by China.

Ya pomnyu chudnoye mgnoveniye (A moment so wonderful.) A. Pushkin, Music by Mikhail Glinka, performed by Frank Mathis (Bariton) and Benjamin Lylloff (Piano) at the Schiller-Institute

No geo-political astrology and commentary as it is predominantly taking place in today's social media and bloggo-sphere, can actually replace the effect of such a wonderful and powerful performance. While the mere analysis of geo-political developments is always bound to react to events and some more or less truthful news, and to extrapolate the future from the past and the presence, a classical performance like this one can actually reach and change minds and set a whole vector of a new kind of development into motion that is sourced in genuine sincerity. No mere analysis can do that, even though they are sometimes necessary tools.

Another very powerful aspect of the Schiller Institute Musical Events is the fact, that the majority of performers are not professional musicians, but rather people with a profound interest in and a connection to the principle of genuine human creativity. Everyone can connect and tap this creative power inside of him- or herself for the purpose of genuine improvement of oneself and the surrounding world. Everyone can do that and in that respect it does not matter, whether you are virtuosic as a musician or not, it does not matter, whether you are rethorically gifted speaker or not, ... what counts is that you are trying and your genuinely good intentions and if you let them guide your activities instead of the fears of the pleasure-and-pain dogma, then the 1st step is made.

In that light it is a pleasure to observe that the Schiller Institute and particularly its artistic and musical department have reached a level of maturity that resonates much better with many people than many of the past attempts of intensive political convincing and organizing. This is a much more effective way of reaching people, especially in the age of multi-media, where it is not required to have big venue to reach a large audience.

There were in total 12 performances and speeches at this event, all of which can be watched either here:

Schiller Institute - Dialogue of Cultures along the New Silk Road - Performances

or directly at the home page of the Schiller Institute:

Schiller Institute Web-Site


Best Regards

Thomas Trautzsch
Jacob-Michelsen-Str. 3                  
07749 Jena


Tel: +49 1575 92 38 449