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Thread: Which Composers were the Most Political?

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    Senior Member regenmusic's Avatar
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    Default Which Composers were the Most Political?

    Which composers were the most politically active? Who voiced their opinions the loudest?

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Beethoven wasn't very politically active but wasn't shy about expressing his opinions. It got him crosswise with the authorities, it seems, on one occasion ca 1815-16. This was dramatized in the movie Immortal Beloved. I don't see reference to it in his biographies, but it rings true!

    Wagner was very politically active and became a fugitive from justice (or what passed for it in those days) in 1849, reportedly passing grenades to fighters on the barricades in Dresden. He was unable to return to Germany until 1862.

    A number of American composers were Communists or close to it (no crime in the 1930s) and had to pay their dues in front of the House Committee on Unamerican Activities (HUAC) in the early 1950s during the anti-red purges of those days. Aaron Copland was among them.
    Last edited by KenOC; Jan-31-2017 at 08:34.


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    Senior Member Dim7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Wagner was very politically active and became a fugitive from justice (or what passed for it in those days) in 1849, reportedly passing grenades to fighters on the barricades in Dresden. He was unable to return to Germany until 1862.
    We know what you all are thinking when Wagner and politics is mentioned, but it has to be said that Wagner was involved in a left-wing, pro-democratic uprising.
    Last edited by Dim7; Jan-31-2017 at 10:03.
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    Senior Member Sloe's Avatar
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    Ignaz Paderewski he was prime minister of Poland.

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    Benjamin Britten was a conscientious objector.

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    Verdi fervently advocated Italian unification and became a member of the first Italian parliament.

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    Senior Member EddieRUKiddingVarese's Avatar
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    Gabriel Fauré was not overtly political but his surname sounds alot like Führer
    "Everyone is born with genius, but most people only keep it a few minutes"

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    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    Bela Bartok was outspoken politically, especially against Fascism and Nazism, leaving Hungary for the USA after the absorption of Austria into the Reich. In his last few years, just before he emigrated, he requested that no memorial of any kind was to be erected in his honor in Hungary if anyplace or anything there was named for either Hitler or Mussolini. He died in the US in 1945.

    Rimsky-Korsakov also was somewhat political. As I recall, he was fired as a teacher from the Saint Petersburg conservatory for supporting someone or something that the tsarist regime opposed--don't recall any details.
    Last edited by Strange Magic; Feb-05-2017 at 04:35.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettina View Post
    Benjamin Britten was a conscientious objector.
    As were Michael Tippett and Ronald Stevenson (although the former had been very pro-Mussolini during the 1930s but underwent an almost total volte-face between then and the middle of WWII). Bernard Stevens embraced Communism and Alan Bush went as far as to join the party.

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    Hanns Eisler. See link.

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    Senior Member Meyerbeer Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EddieRUKiddingVarese View Post
    Gabriel Fauré was not overtly political but his surname sounds alot like Führer
    Mrs. Betty Norday, whose name sounds remarkably like Norway, Mr. Brian Waynor, whose name is an anagram of Norway, Mr. and Mrs. Ford, whose name sounds like Fjord, of which there are a lot in Norway, Ron and Christine Boslo

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