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Politics and the Music Review

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Old 26-03-12, 02:51 AM
Tarantella Tarantella is offline
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Default Politics and the Music Review

I've had a private discussion about this article with two friends from this forum. It is a review of a recent concert held in Berlin with the Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Christian Thielemann.

What do people think about this review? Should politics play any part in concert critiques and what is your opinion of the sentiments expressed about the particular conductor in this piece? I thought the (clapped-out) extended military metaphor was tasteless and shed little insight on the performance.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/03/...osive-tympany/

The author has also written a book called "Bach's Feet": as a music critic he is obviously a good Podiatrist!!!!

Last edited by Tarantella; 26-03-12 at 07:13 AM. Reason: losing my timing this late in my car rear!!
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Old 26-03-12, 08:06 AM
ReinerTorheit ReinerTorheit is offline
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Actually I enjoyed this review - it was entertaining and well written.

Thielemann has intentionally constructed a Karajan-style reputation for himself, as a misanthropic and dictatorial personality. Personally I have no time for that at all - and nor do the many opera-houses who have fired Thielemann. You can't do worthwhile creative work with that kind of personality. Opera is a creative process that involves not only the conductor (as Thielemann clearly believes) but also singers, stage-directors, stage-managers, lighting directors, designers, costumiers, and many others.

I wouldn't like to say whether the political criticism of Thielemann is justified or not - I don't know that facts of the matter. If it is true, then I would personally give the man a wide berth.
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Old 26-03-12, 08:18 AM
Tarantella Tarantella is offline
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Thanks for reading it, RT. It was the political criticism and the thinly disguised reference to the Nazis which got me going. Whether or not he modelled himself on Karajan is hardly evidence of some kind of crypto-fascist ideology that Thielemann wishes to resuscitate through music.
I'm sure, like many Dirigenten, he has his moods, vanity and ego - but the imagery of the German army of WW2 I found tasteless. When a German musician has an ego apparently he's wanting to invoke the Third Reich - everyone else is just 'temperamental'.

And the critique told us little about the performance. I believe it was really all about the author and the power of his language rather than the concert! Who's got the ego now?

Last edited by Tarantella; 26-03-12 at 08:32 AM. Reason: MGM has got a Leo and ma ma has got a trio!
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Old 26-03-12, 09:18 AM
ReinerTorheit ReinerTorheit is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarantella View Post
but the imagery of the German army of WW2 I found tasteless.
I agree it's a bit dubious!

But if Thielemann really has revived works written for Hitler's birthday, then that's equally dubious - in my personal opinion, of course!

Of course, a lot depends on the context! If this material was performed as part of an overview and assessment of music from the pre-war era, in attempt to comprehend "how it could have happened", then it would be justified.

I was once the target of a politically-motivated campaign against my work (including a group of protestors blocking the way into the concert-hall, with placards), so I can sympathise with being misrepresented
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Old 26-03-12, 09:44 AM
Tarantella Tarantella is offline
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Thank you for your thoughtful response. Much appreciated.
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