Lynn Matheson/ Ann Schnabel Mottier (eds.), Artur Schnabel – Music and the Line of Most Resistance, 144 p., hardcover, (Wolke Verlag), Hofheim 2007
We consider Schnabel’s thinking so current in its relevance that it is necessary for all his writings to be made accessible to the public. This book, with the programmatic title >Music and the Line of Most Resistance<, marks the first step. The title represents Schnabel’s conviction that the realization of truly great works demands that we not only overcome, but even actively seek out difficulties. To him, the highest form of music is even characterized by the fact that it can never be performed truly adequately, that every interpretation is merely the approximation of an unattainable ideal. This amounts to nothing less than an explanation of why generations of musicians keep interpreting the same pieces again and again: with the true masterpieces of music, this is a never-ending process. No one before Schnabel had formulated this so succinctly; in his lectures, he sometimes succeeded in condensing an entire philosophy of art into a single aphorism.
This new publication of Schnabel’s writings now offers a younger generation an opportunity to engage in depth with an artist who reflected upon the value of music in modern society like no other practicing musician, and who foresaw clearly developments that are only now becoming fully apparent decades ago.