You pay me the honour of expressing your opinion openly about my little book. But whereas what I wrote was intended to be of an abstract and conciliatory nature, and to be aimed at no one individually, you make a controversial reply which is openly directed against one person, changing the general into the particular, the temporary and the personal.
By the title alone, "The Danger of Futurism", you lead your reader astray by heaping on my name, in the eyes of the public, all the weaknesses and faults with which you could possibly reproach a certain group of people - a group from which I am far removed.
The word "Futurism" is not used on any page of my little book. I have never attached myself to a sect: - Futurism, a movement of the present time, could have no connection with my arguments.
You consider it a defect in my work "that I have not drawn up something like an aesthetic law", while the whole tenor of the little book is against the drawing up of general rules as being a hindrance to a free art.
But also, you believe that your view of the questions started by me lies nearer to many people than mine. You say: "It will, perhaps, not be unwelcome to these to learn something more in accordance with their views."
It is just for these people that my book is written, so that for once they may hear something from "the other side" as well.
But whilst I have never questioned your art publicly either with your followers or with anyone else, you draw an unjust and ugly picture of me from which they get to know me for the first time.
You proclaim me openly as a disowner and despiser of all great composers of the past without quoting any of my sentences as proof of such a monstrous accusation; but you rely solely on "the impression as a whole, which one has from the reading of this little book".
I must, first of all, refer you and your readers to my edition of Bach Well-tempered Clavier, which certainly cannot appear to be written in a tone of disavowal or disrespect.
When I exclaim, on page 10 of my little book: " Mozart, the Secker and the Finder, the great man with the child-like heart, we gaze in astonishment at him, we hang on him", no one will be able to misunderstand the absolute reverence which is manifest therein.
I am a worshipper of Form! I have remained sufficiently a Latin for that. But I demand - no! the organism of art demands - that every idea fashions its own form for itself; the organism - not I - revolts against having one single form for all ideas; today especially and how much more in the coming centuries.
The "law-givers" (and you know who and what is intended by this symbolic word) have constructed their formulas after the creations of the masters, the latter go in front, the former follow after, and at a good distance. "The creator [p. 31 of my book] only strives for perfection and as he brings this into harmony with his individuality a new law arises unintentionally."
From the "magic child", music, I still look for what is yet undreamt of, and towards which my "desire" goes: the allhuman and the super-human. It is the desire which acts as the fast mainspring of realisation. Therefore, I cannot and should not like to say precisely what form such a development will take; no more than, thousands of years since, the longing of men to be able to fly could describe the apparatus which today fulfils this longing.
If my "promises" remind you of Jules Verne's romances do not forget that much technical fantasy in these books has now become fact.
But how do you describe the course of life of the "magic child" music?--"After [see p. 10 ] it had grown to a wonderfully vigorous and healthy baby with his nurse from the Netherlands, he passed happy times in the Italian boarding school, and after a hundred and fifty years is now at home in our Germany where, as a beautiful and strong youth, it is to be hoped he will thrive for a long time yet".
Consider, honoured friend, how with time even the most beautiful and strongest youth matures to an old man, and for the maintenance of a powerful race, cross-breeding is a wellknown expedient.
I believe you are too honest intentionally to misrepresent my book, which is well-meant and full of peace, as harmful teaching; therefore a misunderstanding must exist, which I consider it my duty - confronted by such an esteemed opponent - to put right with these few lines.
* Hans Pfitzner published a pamphlet called "Futuristengefahr" ( "The Danger of Futurism") in the Süddeutsche Monatshefte which was chiefly aimed against the Entwurf einer neuen Aesthetik der Tonkunst ( "New Aesthetic of Music"). This "open letter" was a reply published in the Vossische Zeitung, Berlin, June 1917.