What does it mean to be a musician in our time and in our place? What is to be the fate of music—serious, great music, timeless music—in our civilization? For reasons which I trust will become apparent, I want to take as my model in exploring these questions one of the most important humanistic statements of our century: the German sociologist Max Weber’s lecture at the University of Munich more than seventy years ago, a lecture simply titled “Politics as a Vocation.”[1]On that occasion in the winter of 1918-19, Weber spoke to Germany just after its defeat in World War I and at the beginning of a revolutionary movement modeled on the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia a year earlier. In a world torn apart by slaughter and the collapse of every social structure, in a world fated to bring forth new barbarisms in some ways more terrible than the old, Weber...

 
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