48 / CHRONICLESnmusic, and it is as futile to try tondivorce him from it as it is to try tondivorce Einstein from the Theory ofnRelativity.nThe moral intentions of Beethoven’sncompositions are often specificnand concrete. The Eroica symphonyngives unqualified support to the moralitynof heroism; Fidelio affirms the moralitynof political freedom; the NinthnSymphony, the morality of joy; in thenAiissa Solemnis, the morality of beliefnin God. Obviously, Beethoven’s moralitynis no traditional morality—it isnthe morality of liberation, not thenmorality of suppression. It is this conceptionnof morality which the subsequentnRomantics embraced and onnwhich they rang their changes.nThe Romantic period was notablenfor its unprecedented range and varietynof styles. How much did Chopinnsound like Bruckner, or Brahms likenBerlioz, or Schubert like Liszt? Notnmuch. Similarly, modern Americanncomposers cannot escape the epithet ofn”Romantics” on the grounds of stylisticnheterogeneity; on the contrary. Romanticnmusic is identifiable by thennumber of idioms it is capable ofnsupporting. Copland and Harris don’tnsound like Schumann or Dvorak because,nlike all good Romantics, theynsound like themselves.nModern critics to the contrary, Romanhcismngoes much deeper than surfacenmannerisms; it is a matter ofnessential spirit. Listen to Copland’snThird Symphony, observe its expansivenmelodies, its epic proportions, itsncumulative energy, its power and heroism,nits highly nationalistic character,nwhich brings with it so manynconcrete extramusical associations, sonintense a realization of the moral andnpolitical greatness of the Americannexperiment—how to describe this, ifnnot as “Romantic”? Or Harris’ Third,nwith, again, its nationalism and nobility,nand also its astonishingly originalnarchitecture, its sense of being hewn inna single piece from the composer’snbrain?nHarris’ music is still a vast mystery.nCopland described his colleague asn”the American Mussorgsky,” and thencomparison is apt; both men seemed toncome from nowhere esthetically, werenignorant of or indifferent to rigid formalnprocedures, and produced, seeminglynby sheer effort of will, almostncrudely powerful and original music.nAs Glenn Gould said of the Russian,n”He is like a person who ceases to talknthe moment he has nothing further tonsay”; likewise Harris, whose works gestatenout of their basic materials: Therenis no structural padding. Each Harrisnwork strikes out into new, unchartednterritory, sometimes uncertainly butnalways full of confidence. His works allnhave their own maps, and if one isnguided by the conventional maps ofnmusical geography, one may miss thenunusual beauty of many of his landscapes.nA composer engaged in such riskynundertakings is due for more than hisnshare of failures, and to many, muchnof his music is less than completelynsuccessful. To such listeners, Harris isnoften awkward and unsophisticated; henis certainly the reverse of slick andnfacile. But to those who can see beneathnthe often clumsy surface, Harris’nmusic, even at its worst, retains a rawnemotional appeal. His music lacksnsubtlety — an overrated artistic virtue—butnHarris’ rich polyphony, vigorousnrhythms, simple melodiousness,nand dramahc sense of form have andeeply moving directness which makesnthe overrefined preciousness of lessncommitted composers seem trivial.nHarris’ most important works, his 13nsymphonies, are seldom performed.nHarris sank into near obscurity afternWorld War II, and his work has beennquite shamefully neglected for the pastn30 years. Not coincidentally, Harris’nreputation plummeted just as “atonality”nwas coming into fashion. Atonalitynwas supposed to be the only sensiblenreplacement for the theoreticallynworn-out cliches of traditional harmony.nBut the modern American Romanticsnhave either ignored atonalityncompletely or have used it only infrequently,nas a change of pace or tonstretch their technical facility. Serialismnbecame, in effect, a new form ofnclassicism in the second half of thisncentury (replacing, to a large extent,n”neoclassicism”); it became a new setnof formulae for uninspired academicnhacks to plug into.nComposers of serial music like tonposture as fiery-eyed individualistsnlaunching their art into the gloriousnfuture, but the ridiculous truth is thatnthey are typically specimens of bureaucrahcnModern Man, clinging desper­nnnately to the foundering hulk of ourncultural institutions and unable to createnanything. Safely ensconced in universitiesnand music schools, they arenonly capable of imitating the cheesyncomposihonal gimmicks of Schoenbergnand Webern. In any art, in anynperiod of history, there is always a vastnunderbelly of mediocrities who, like itnor not, constitute the overwhelmingnmajority—and it is here, and onlynhere that serialism has triumphed. In anway, the 12-tone method provides anuseful public service. It is an efficientnmeans of eliminating mediocrities andnconsigning them to oblivion.nIt is true that we have to endure thenbubble reputations (in the critic’snmouth) of people like Eliot Garter.nCarter is full of the usual expressionisticntricks and spasmodic rhythms, aimlessn”harmony,” impenetrable “counterpoint,”nand creepy modernistn”melodies” that were stale 50 yearsnago.nThere may be those who wouldnclaim that Carter’s music reveals hisnsoul—which, if true, is a more bitingnand conclusive condemnation of himnand his music than the claim that itndoesn’t. But of course Carter wouldnhotly deny that his compositions revealnanything about anything. Modern academicnatonalists subscribe to the theorynof music as “just sound,” i.e., thentheory that tonal art is an exercise innacoushcs with no significance beyondnthe noises produced. Modern musicalnesthetics, in effect, rejects Beethovennand the entire Romantic concept of artnas a philosophical, moral, and psychologicalnenterprise. The moral aspectsnof tonality being denied, tonality itselfnis considered expendable.nIt should hardly be necessary tonpoint out that moral import in musicncan only be communicated in thencontext of a tonal system—a systemnthat utilizes structural harmony and innwhich chromatic extravagances arenmade with reference to a firm diatonicnbase. There can be no atonal moralnmusic, no atonal Romanticism. “Atonalnmusic” is an oxymoron, anywayn—all music is made up of tones. Butnthe chaotically chromatic, harmonicallynunstructured music that is looselyncalled atonal is in fact amoral—itnabandons the realm of ethical choicenin art that was so crucial to Beethovennand leaps blindly into academic for-n