The Beauty Makers

Karl Goldmark was one of 20 children born to an impoverished Jewish cantor in 1830 in Hungary. Someone handed the child a battered violin when he was still small, and history was made.

Margaret Sanger, founder of the international killing machine known as Planned Parenthood, once said that the most merciful thing you can do to a child from a big family is kill “it.” Think for a moment of all the beauty the world has lost because of that worldview. Karl Goldmark would have been just another murdered baby had his parents held that view.

Beauty comes from God. He is the source of all beauty. Satan can only kill, steal and destroy. God is the giver of life and all that is lovely, and even our ability to perceive what beauty is is the result of God’s image stamped on mankind.

God does not need our permission to show forth His glory. It often comes from unusual and unlikely places in this world. A poor boy in Hungary was bestowed with the precious gift of music, and the world is a richer place because of it.

Marie Avinov, the Soviet dissident and author of the book, Pilgrimage Through Hell, wrote of the nightmare of living through the Stalin purges and losing her husband to the vicious brutality of communism. There is a scene in that book that I will never forget.

She was on a train, a cattle car, on her way to Siberia for being the wife of one of the men randomly thrown into Stalin’s prisons. On board the cattle car to hell was an opera singer who had sung in the famous opera house in Moscow. Her crime was being an artist. Stalin viewed beauty as a dangerous thing because it pointed to God. The communists institutionalized ugly and evil instead and tried to shut down all artists as enemies of the state unless they agreed to create only propaganda.

Marie was so thirsty on the train she thought she would die, and she begged the guards for a small drink. They refused. Finally, the opera singer bargained with the guards to get her a drink and promised to sing a famous aria in exchange for water.

Marie told of that unbelievable juxtaposition of beauty that shone forth from the voice of the singer under the stars that night, as human beings who had committed no crime were hauled away like cattle to untold evil and suffering. Beauty against a backdrop of horror. God and Satan. Truth and lies. Beauty and abject ugliness. That is the human reality. Man rejects God and barbarism soon follows.

In a world of natural disasters, terrorism, and so much sorrow, beauty is a bursting forth of the eternal into our temporal lives. God knew how much we would need it.

If you have an artistic or musical child, encourage them in every way you can. They are carriers of truth whenever they create something of loveliness and they show forth God’s glory. These artists are a reminder to all who hear and see and watch what they create that God is real, and that no matter how hard evil tries to destroy what is good and lovely and true, God will prevail in the end.

Here is a six-minute clip of Karl Goldmark’s Violin Concerto, the second movement, which I find so exquisite. (The second movement ends at 6:43 and goes right into the final movement on the video.) Turn your speakers up as the beginning is soft. One minute in, the voice of the violin comes in over the sound of the orchestra like a hymn rising before God. Let the music remind you of that little boy among his 19 siblings in a Hungarian village and how God graced us all because of him.