Die musikalischen Themen sind in gewissem Sinne Sätze. Die Kenntnis des Wesens der Logik wird deshalb zur Kenntnis des Wesens der Musik führen.

Musical themes are in a certain sense propositions. Knowledge of the nature of logic will for this reason lead to knowledge of the nature of music.

Wittgenstein´s journals, 7 Februar 1915, tr. Anscombe

George Steiner would disapprove of most of my musical tastes, as would Wittgenstein; i even quite like Mahler, whom Wittgenstein abominated. Murtaugh, who i’ll be visiting again for Christmas, suggested that Mahler’s music is all about the end of the world, the end of the civilisation which birthed it – which is also the civilisation that birthed Wittgenstein, namely mid-to-late 19th Century Vienna. Ludwig Wittgenstein’s father, i hear, was the first man in Vienna to own an automobile. It is strange to think of Wittgenstein arising from the collision between the old world and the new, the new being, on the whole, nothing more than the destruction of the old. He was born a week after Hitler, as if to say, “i will witness the destruction of the old world”. And indeed he witnessed this.

In 1930 he wrote:

Ich habe einmal, und vielleicht mit Recht, gesagt: Aus der früheren Kultur wird ein Trümmerhaufen und am Schluß ein Aschenhaufen werden, aber des werden Geister über der Asche schweben.


I once said, perhaps rightly, – the earlier culture will become a heap of rubble and finally a heap of ashes, but spirits will hover over the ashes.