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For instance: Wagner, wrote a lot of great music, however was a big racist, Debussy, was just an all around unpleasant person, who happened to write good music. Poe was as well, seemed to like criticizing anyone and everything that wasn't his. You get the idea I hope of what I am asking, I personally can listen to anything that sounds good, and quite often do. What about yourself? Even if the person has been dead for 200 years can you appreciate someones work if you know they were the worst person ever? (In your eyes) Or is the art what is important?
 

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Some recent threads focusing on political and religious issues related to music have digressed away from music and into purely religious or political discussions. We deleted many of the posts and closed several threads. Please remember that posts in the forum should not be purely political or religious.
 

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Kant can, Hegel cannot! The question is: is art just art or is it something more? Neither point of view is stupid.
 

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Charles Manson wrote in a song "Just as long as you got love in your heart
You'll never be alone"
 

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I generally don't care, but if you gave me a string quartet composed by Adolf Hitler, I'd have a hard time being open-minded about it.
I have a better question: if you listened to a string quartet without knowing the author and formed an opinion about it, and then someone told you it had been composed by AH, would that first opinion change?
 

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If I don't know anything about the artist,
then I can enjoy the art, or not.
Once I do know something about the artist,
it does influence my appreciation of the art.
I also know that no person is without distortions in thinking
and that art is sometimes clearer than the person.
 

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I have a better question: if you listened to a string quartet without knowing the author and formed an opinion about it, and then someone told you it had been composed by AH, would that first opinion change?
I don't know. I might secretly like it, but refuse to listen to it. Possibly listening to it would make me think of Hitler and put me in a sour mood.

Of course, this is an extreme example. Wagner and Gesualdo weren't Hitler.
 

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For instance: Wagner, wrote a lot of great music, however was a big racist, Debussy, was just an all around unpleasant person, who happened to write good music. Poe was as well, seemed to like criticizing anyone and everything that wasn't his. You get the idea I hope of what I am asking, I personally can listen to anything that sounds good, and quite often do. What about yourself? Even if the person has been dead for 200 years can you appreciate someones work if you know they were the worst person ever? (In your eyes) Or is the art what is important?
I've thought a good deal about this over the years, and read on music as well as other areas such as history. While I don't think that knowledge of many of the less than positive aspects of composers' personalities, politics and behaviors towards their fellow human beings detracts from my enjoyment of their music, neither do I attempt to whitewash them and put them on pedestals as if they where removed from reality.

In some respects, its perhaps better to know less than more about composers' lives, because the more I find out the more off putting things there tends to be. There are some composers I'd barely call human, even though they where great composers. There are quite a few whose ideologies or ways of thinking about music, however eloquently expressed, I find has little or nothing to do with reality and more to do with power games between rivalling composers or their cliques.

At the same time there are quite a few who I'd be comfortable with calling humanitarians. Not many but enough to make a list of.

There are also composers of whose lives outside the bare basics we know little about, or who have large gaps in their biographies.

Bottom line is that composers and musicians are (and where) people just like us. They had their strengths and weaknesses in terms of character and other things. They had things that they could be proud of, and also things that are things that are negative aspects of their lives.

Having said all that, the music is what matters, or has to matter. I realised if I moralize too much about who or what I am listening to, I would be listening to very little in terms of music, and this applies to classical music more than the other genres. More often than not, ideologies are little more than cloaks to hide personal power games between composers (even if we try to ignore politics and so on and restrict ourselves to music).
 

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I have a better question: if you listened to a string quartet without knowing the author and formed an opinion about it, and then someone told you it had been composed by AH, would that first opinion change?
My opinion wouldn't change. I can't imagine liking a work, then not liking it when I heard the name of the composer.
 

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I could not care less about the character of the person behind the music. It's the music that counts.
Gesualdo,

I agree with you to me as well I don't care personal issues. There is little problem with me now modern artist, I can't help myself. I do not admire whom walking just for money,giving any sort of advice and make too much money. Sorry to say but some art stories make me unhappy and of course is nothing we can do about that.
 

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Morally? Like what? It depends......
 

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From what I know so far about Kant he was racist and sexist:

"a woman is little embarrassed that she does not possess high insights; she is beautiful and captivates, and that is enough ... Laborious learning or painful pondering, even if a woman should greatly succeed in it, destroys the merits that are proper to her sex."

And he listed the characteristics of different nationalities and races regarding their appreciation of the sublime and beautiful. He said the English, Germans and Spanish can appreciate the sublime ( the noble and terrifying such as storms, mountain tops and night-time, and more noble feelings like courage and honesty); and the French and Italian are more concerned with the splendid sublime (pretty, beautiful non-threatening things like flowers and characteristics like artfulness and flattery). The noble and terrifying sublime are more virtuous than the splendid sublime so he didn't think that highly of the. French and Italians. The Dutch he says have no fine feelings and the Japanese share some high feelings with the English, but not much. He says there is something grotesque about the Chinese and their art and the Indians and their religion. The Arabic are truthful and hospitable and Persians are the "the French of Asia" so he thinks they are both reasonably ok. But the "******* of Africa have by nature no feelings that rise above the trifling."

I find this laughable and just a product of the time he was living in. I am not offended by his racism or sexism as it was so long ago. I still find his philosophy interesting and will continue to read more about him.

There was a thread about this question recently. For me it's not so bad if they lived a long time ago. If they are a contemporary-ish artist then it depends what the moral or political issue is exactly, and how much I like their music or art I suppose. The composer Gesualdo was a murderer but I doubt that would put anyone off his music, as it's so far removed being like 350 years ago.

I don't like the racial stuff Eric clapton said but still listen to his music. Whereas the opera singer who was homophobic that was mentioned on the other thread, I doubt I would give the time of day to. She does have an amazing voice, but so do many other singers.
 

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If the work is highly charged, it will be controversial and is bound to offend some people, like Robert Mapplethorpe's sexually explicit photographs.

This applies to music, if it has lyrical content, or expresses some sort of social mileu or social identity which some might find different, foreign, strange, immoral or in some way unsavory. This could apply to any music, because art expresses its social environment.
 
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