Page:Rolland Life of Tolstoy.djvu/187

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enslaved: that the unknown power of sound can do with him what it wills; destroy him, if it please.

This is true, but Tolstoy forgets one thing: the mediocrity and the lack of vitality in the majority of those who make or listen to music. Music cannot be dangerous to those who feel nothing. The spectacle of the Opera-house during a performance of Salomé is quite enough to assure us of the immunity of the public to the more perverse emotions evoked by the art of sounds. To be in danger one must be, like Tolstoy, abounding in life. The truth is that in spite of his injustice where Beethoven was concerned, Tolstoy felt his music more deeply than do the majority of those who now exalt him. He, at least, knew the frenzied passions, the savage violence, which mutter through the art of the "deaf old man" but of which the orchestras and the virtuosi of to-day are innocent. Beethoven would perhaps have preferred the hatred of Tolstoy to the enthusiasm of his admirers.