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Thread: Do political viewpoints/actions of musicians/composers alter your opinion of them?

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    Default Do political viewpoints/actions of musicians/composers alter your opinion of them?

    Something that I always wonder about is not so much the biographies of musicians and composers, but how much people research the musicians or composers, as in, how much they look into the personality behind the music.

    I know some people who are iffy about the Vienna Philharmonic because of their late coming to accepting women performers. I have heard a story of a big conductor guru who thought poorly of Simone Young before she showed him her conducting. I know at least a few people who do not listen to Wagner...for the usual reason. I have read scathing reviews of music by Shostakovich, Bernstein and a few others which make multiple references to the reviewers' political/religious viewpoints as arguments against the work of the composers.

    How much, to you, do political viewpoints/actions of musicians/composers alter your opinion of them?

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    Senior Member aleazk's Avatar
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    *yawn*

    It doesn't alter my opinion of their musical products. May alter my opinion of them as citizens, human beings, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aleazk View Post
    *yawn*

    It doesn't alter my opinion of their musical products. May alter my opinion of them as citizens, human beings, etc.
    Same deal with me, I find that the best way to look at the music is in complete abstraction to anything apart from the musical content itself (and the context of the music with other music composed at the time)

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    Senior Member amfortas's Avatar
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    It's not necessary to know the background of composers or conductors in order to enjoy their work, but it can add interest. One more way of hearing the music within a broader context.

    But I don't base my opinion of the music on the character of the artist. As far as their works go, I love the despicable Wagner even more than the kind-hearted Verdi.
    Alan

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    It's difficult to be a fan of any composer for any length of time without learning something of the individual behind the music. I am a fan of Schoenberg's music and I read that he had once conducted (?) some of his expressionist (?) music and the audience went wild with applause. Schoenberg turned his back on the audience. I think he did this because he was writing 12-tone music at the time and the audience reaction had been extremely disparaging of his endeavours, while applauding his early music enthusiastically. I think his reaction was rude and arrogant. However, I still love his music as much as always

    Composers are human. Like anyone, they don't all share my views on everything. I'm in it for the music. If I like it, I'm there for the ride; if I don't, there's someone else doing something I do like.

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    Why do you (plural) think that there are people willing to criticise the work of musicians and composers based on political/religious viewpoints?

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    Quote Originally Posted by brotagonist View Post
    It's difficult to be a fan of any composer for any length of time without learning something of the individual behind the music. I am a fan of Schoenberg's music and I read that he had once conducted (?) some of his expressionist (?) music and the audience went wild with applause. Schoenberg turned his back on the audience. I think he did this because he was writing 12-tone music at the time and the audience reaction had been extremely disparaging of his endeavours, while applauding his early music enthusiastically. I think his reaction was rude and arrogant. However, I still love his music as much as always

    Composers are human. Like anyone, they don't all share my views on everything. I'm in it for the music. If I like it, I'm there for the ride; if I don't, there's someone else doing something I do like.
    The Schoenberg story is about Gurre-lieder, the audience applauding the fact it isn't atonal I believe

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    I have never had much interest in the personal lives of people whose work is important to me - musicians, athletes, or scientists. Their work is what interests me, not anything related to their personal lives. I'm interested in the music alone and not the composer or performer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ComposerOfAvantGarde View Post
    Why do you (plural) think that there are people willing to criticise the work of musicians and composers based on political/religious viewpoints?
    It might be (misplaced) political correctness. People like to hide behind the sentiment of the masses, as they are afraid to stand up for their own values and boundaries. They then censor or discredit the validity of ideas or works coming from those who openly express views counter to the prevailing politically correct ones.
    Last edited by brotagonist; Jul-12-2014 at 07:14.

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    Senior Member amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ComposerOfAvantGarde View Post
    Why do you (plural) think that there are people willing to criticise the work of musicians and composers based on political/religious viewpoints?
    You can definitely find cases of people (sometimes in large numbers) rejecting the work of an artist on that basis. For example, there has long been an informal ban on performing Wagner in Israel. Over the years, conductors like Mehta and Barenboim have tried with limited success to thwart this restriction, but as recently as two years ago a planned Wagner concert in Tel Aviv was cancelled due to protests.
    Last edited by amfortas; Jul-12-2014 at 05:45.
    Alan

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    Senior Member Richannes Wrahms's Avatar
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    In most cases, my first listen to a composer's works was before knowing anything about them, and I consider a listening a success If the music has completely eclipsed my conscious thoughts. I support the 'abstract' solely musical approach not because of some pseudo-philosophical argument but because I've found it to be the most immersive and rewarding.

    I love Gesualdo's music. I do not care If he was Italian or a Prince or a murderer. Although, a Freudian might say that I have subconsciously become his birch like those infamous women attracted to prisoners.

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    Nope, not really relevant. If it helps me to understand some musical themes, that's good. Otherwise I could care less.
    Last edited by Lukecash12; Jul-24-2014 at 21:57.
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
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    Senior Member Marschallin Blair's Avatar
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    Do I separate art and politics?

    Certainly.

    Would judging an artist's work by non-aesthetic criteria affect the intrinsic aesthetic value of the work?

    Or alternatively: Could a person of perfect virtue but with a non-existent aesthetic sense, create a great work of art?
    "Let me have my own way in exactly everything, and a sunnier and more pleasant creature does not exist." - Thomas Carlyle

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    "Do political viewpoints/actions of musicians/composers alter your opinion of them?"

    of course not, but their political viewpoints/actions are of great interest to me,
    because they have affected their art.

    Politics and art can not be easily separated, especially when the artist has strong political views.

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    As people, of course; as composers, absolutely not. Though it must be said I am not thinking about them at all while listening to the music.

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