Classical Music Forum banner
101 - 120 of 144 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
670 Posts
It is wrong. The whole thought process is wrong. The music has nothing to do with the war in Ukraine. These orchestra managers are powerless regarding the war and they try to compensate it by sorting out music. This is poor and reveals mental weakness.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,335 Posts
Honestly, I can see ditching The 1812 Overture. Aside from the inspired opening, and a few good moments here and there, for Tchaikovsky it's really a bit of hack-work. To me it always has come across as pointlessly jingoistic, even before Putin's madness.

But ditching the Second Symphony (which I will forever now always refer to only as Tchaikovsky's Second Symphony or "Tchaik 2" or "The Ukrainian") to me seems very misguided. We know the nickname "Littlle Russian" is offensive. Lets ditch it. It wasn't Tchaikovsky's nickname in the first place. The symphony itself is not offensive.
While we're ditching names, we should get rid of all the titles for Mahler's symphonies like "Resurrection", "Symphony of a Thousand", etc. Not only are they stupid, meaningless titles, but Mahler never assigned any of his symphonies with a nickname. Only Das Lied von der Erde has a name and we all know this is a symphony in all but a name. The same with Bruckner's symphonies with the exception of the 4th, which he did nickname "Romantic". I recall one of Bruckner's symphonies being nicknamed "The Saucy Maid" or something like this? WTF?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Knorf

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,779 Posts
While we're ditching names, we should get rid of all the titles for Mahler's symphonies like "Resurrection", "Symphony of a Thousand", etc. Not only are they stupid, meaningless titles, but Mahler never assigned any of his symphonies with a nickname. Only Das Lied von der Erde has a name and we all know this is a symphony in all but a name. The same with Bruckner's symphonies with the exception of the 4th, which he did nickname "Romantic". I recall one of Bruckner's symphonies being nicknamed "The Saucy Maid" or something like this? WTF?
I totally agree. It bugs me when someone uses these spurious nicknames for Bruckner symphonies, "Wagner," "Apocalyptic," and worst of all "Die Nullte." And no, one should not refer to Mahler's First as "Titan"!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
625 Posts
A far bigger public will hear the overture when the Royal Philharmonic play it next week. Cardiff, in their little world, got it wrong.
Well no doubt the people of Cardiff will be flocking to hear the RPO! I still cannot see what is so wrong in not playing the 1812 overture. Is it equivalent to sacrilege not playing this awful piece that even its composer didn't rate?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,066 Posts
Discussion Starter · #105 ·
Well no doubt the people of Cardiff will be flocking to hear the RPO! I still cannot see what is so wrong in not playing the 1812 overture. Is it equivalent to sacrilege not playing this awful piece that even its composer didn't rate?
Move on, marlow - even I have, and I'm anally retentive!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,962 Posts
While we're ditching names, we should get rid of all the titles for Mahler's symphonies like "Resurrection", "Symphony of a Thousand", etc. Not only are they stupid, meaningless titles, but Mahler never assigned any of his symphonies with a nickname. Only Das Lied von der Erde has a name and we all know this is a symphony in all but a name. The same with Bruckner's symphonies with the exception of the 4th, which he did nickname "Romantic". I recall one of Bruckner's symphonies being nicknamed "The Saucy Maid" or something like this? WTF?
Even though Mahler didn't call his symphony "Resurrection," it hardly seems like a "stupid, meaningless title"--considering how magnificently the choir shouts out the idea at the climactic moment. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,335 Posts
Even though Mahler didn't call his symphony "Resurrection," it hardly seems like a "stupid, meaningless title"--considering how magnificently the choir shouts out the idea at the climactic moment. :)
It's meaningless to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
625 Posts
Even though Mahler didn't call his symphony "Resurrection," it hardly seems like a "stupid, meaningless title"--considering how magnificently the choir shouts out the idea at the climactic moment. :)
Considering it deals with the resurrection of the dead I would've thought it was a pretty appropriate title.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
While we're ditching names, we should get rid of all the titles for Mahler's symphonies like "Resurrection", "Symphony of a Thousand", etc. Not only are they stupid, meaningless titles, but Mahler never assigned any of his symphonies with a nickname. Only Das Lied von der Erde has a name and we all know this is a symphony in all but a name. The same with Bruckner's symphonies with the exception of the 4th, which he did nickname "Romantic". I recall one of Bruckner's symphonies being nicknamed "The Saucy Maid" or something like this? WTF?
I for one would relish the prospect of all of those nicknames attached to the works of Chopin being permanently dropped; the only remotely funny one - even though perhaps also the silliest - is Op. 10 No. 12, the so-called Revolutionary study when every one of those 12 studies is revolutionary!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
625 Posts
I for one would relish the prospect of all of those nicknames attached to the works of Chopin being permanently dropped; the only remotely funny one - even though perhaps also the silliest - is Op. 10 No. 12, the so-called Revolutionary study when every one of those 12 studies is revolutionary!
The problem is that that particular work gets exposure because of its nickname not necessarily because of its musical value.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,335 Posts
I for one would relish the prospect of all of those nicknames attached to the works of Chopin being permanently dropped; the only remotely funny one - even though perhaps also the silliest - is Op. 10 No. 12, the so-called Revolutionary study when every one of those 12 studies is revolutionary!
Not being a Chopin fanatic, I wasn't aware of these nicknames until you mentioned them. Yeah, they're pretty stupid.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,153 Posts
As a public gesture, anything - ANYTHING - that makes Russia a pariah state at the moment is a good thing. What they have done is utterly utterly unforgivable. Maybe we can pick and choose what we wish to discard from civilized society, maybe we can't at the moment. And maybe we shouldn't....? Maybe dropping Tchaikovsky from a concert programme is a good expression of the disgust people feel, however unculpable poor old Piotr is in this.

A couple of weeks ago, Putin/Russia hit the Babyn Yar monument, just below the TV tower in Kyiv. I visited that place back in 1984, and saw my first and only concentration camp number tattoos, on the forearms of an old couple who were on our Intourist group. I have to confess I have played Shostakovich 13 a few times in the past two weeks, and have purged the crying. Yes I do that occasionally. Maybe we need to completely erase everything Russian even the culture, or maybe we need to listen to the likes of Shostakovich, or Tchaikovsky, to remind ourselves that something good can come from a toxic nation, and that there is hope for the future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
Moderator note: this post was originally submitted to the weekly string quartet thread. We have decided to copy it here (and edit the one in the string quartet thread) because of the politics and music content, and because it fits in with the discussion in this thread.

Okay, good and gentle friends, with me luck with this one, and I apologize in advance for a long and somewhat meandering post. With your indulgence, I'm going to start with a short piece that is not a string quartet at all. This is "Prayer for Ukraine" by Kyiv-born Valentin Silvestrov:


Mr. Silvestrov, currently 84 years old, was apparently in Kyiv when the bombing began. It has been reported that he has since fled to Berlin, and that he was still composing music, even on the train.

Now, I know that this forum has been a welcome respite from the upside-down times we're all living through, and I hesitate to drag any of the insanity into this place. But for me it's hard to avoid, for a number of reasons*. But the reason most relevant to my turn coming around this week is that, if you know me by now, you know that I'm the guy who always picks Russian music. Recent events have made me wonder, however, just how comfortable I'd feel about continuing this program. In fact, even though I'm more a fan of Silvestrov's piano music than his chamber music, I was actually thinking of choosing his first string quartet for this week. But then it occurred to me that this quartet, a bleak and somber one-movement affair that I have to be in the mood for even in normal times, would pretty much stop the conversation dead. Because what else can you say about it, other than how its opaque darkness perfectly captures the current mood of Silvestrov's battered home city? Beyond that, who's going to feel like going any further and picking apart a quartet while the composer himself is literally fleeing for his life?

But more importantly, as Silvestrov himself has pointed out, we should never reduce an entire nation and culture to one madman. "I think Putin is simply insane," Silvestrov said in a 2014 interview, days after the last time Putin invaded the Ukraine (Crimea). Silvestrov went on to distinguish the "political face of Russia" from its "authentic face," which for him means "Chaikovsky, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and the holy Orthodox Church."

Or if I can update that list of "authentic faces" of Russia, I would add these:

Product Handwriting Computer keyboard Event Suit
Hand Product Lighting Orange Fan
Military uniform Military person Security Non-commissioned officer Soldier


This distinction between the two faces of Russia is a challenge that not everybody is agreeing on, as some program directors in the West are actively cancelling events featuring Russian music. But as Norman Lebrecht recently said in a recent piece about a certain philharmonic that cancelled a performance of the 1812 Overture: "This is unutterably stupid. At the start of the First World War, the Proms conductor Sir Henry Wood informed the British government that he would continue performing Wagner and other Germans. The same rule prevailed in the Hitler war. Only the Nazis ever banned Tchaikovsky."

I realize that taking an "anti-Hitler" position isn't exactly going out on a limb, but this idea has helped me in my resolve to continue with the selection that I had already planned for this turn, long before Putin ordered a bunch of 20-year-old kids to invade a neighboring country.

And so, finally, here's the quartet I had scheduled for this turn:

Nikolai Myaskovsky, Quartet No. 13 in A minor, Op. 86


Myaskovsky (sometimes spelled Miaskovsky) would come to be known as the "Conscience of Russian Music." Even though his music would remain largely true to the ideals of Romanticism, he was nevertheless persecuted in the Soviet system, finding himself on the wrong side of the Zhdanov decree alongside his younger classmate Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and other composers guilty of so-called "decadent formulism."

And regarding the present state of affairs, it's worth pointing out that Myaskovsky knew well the horrors of war. He was wounded and shell-shocked on the Austrian front during World War I, and this experience affected him deeply for the rest of his life.

As much as I enjoy Myaskovsky's quartets, it has always amazed me that this Number 13 (his last) is the only one with a list of recordings that goes further than just the Taneyev Quartet, who've done them all. If you have the Pacificas' excellent "Soviet Experience" set, you'll recognize it as the last quartet on Disk 1. The Borodins have also recorded this quartet (see the video above), as well as the Quatuor Renoir, the Kopelman Quartet, the Gosteleradio Quartet, and apparently the Beethoven Quartet on an old LP that never made it to CD.

I can say more, but I'll save it for further posts this week. And you're probably as worn out from reading this post as I am from writing it. So for now I'll just say thank you for indulging me on this one, and I hope you enjoy this quartet.

* The other reason why this hits extra close to home is that we have many Ukrainian families living in our area. My son's best friend comes from such a family, and he just had dinner at our house this evening. His whole family is understandably worried every day about the safety of relatives back home.

(Oh, and his mother is quick to point out that the amazing borscht she makes was invented in Ukraine, not Russia. If you wish to argue this point you are free to take it up with Mrs. Muzyka, but I wouldn't recommend it!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Saying "I really don't like the 1812 anyway therefore...." is meaningless. Many people do. That would be a reason for buying tickets. I think replacing the pieces with others by Tchaikovsky, perhaps suite #3, or an additional page of notes explaining the situation at the concert would be better that "Cancelling" the great, beloved Russian master.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,310 Posts
(Oh, and his mother is quick to point out that the amazing borscht she makes was invented in Ukraine, not Russia. If you wish to argue this point you are free to take it up with Mrs. Muzyka, but I wouldn't recommend it!)
Eh ... there isn't any borscht that is amazing to me. I dislike beets. Couldn't Ukrainians invent something better?
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
2,024 Posts
It's sort of like WWI: sauerkraut became "liberty cabbage", Frederick Stock was fired from the Chicago Symphony; Karl Muck was actually arrested and imprisoned for continuing to program German music as conductor of the Boston Symphony. Beethoven was banned in some places. A statue of Goethe was vandalized.
Was that right? Where do you draw the line?This episode and the pandemic have had some vivid examples of herd mentality and "virtue signaling".
As a public gesture, anything - ANYTHING - that makes Russia a pariah state at the moment is a good thing. What they have done is utterly utterly unforgivable. Maybe we can pick and choose what we wish to discard from civilized society, maybe we can't at the moment. And maybe we shouldn't....? Maybe dropping Tchaikovsky from a concert programme is a good expression of the disgust people feel, however unculpable poor old Piotr is in this.
...
Who is "we"? Just about every country has done things that are utterly, utterly unforgivable, most especially my own. Every state could justifiably be a "pariah state". Some things though are easier to do than others. Wiping out Tchaikovsky is a lot easier than giving up all that inexpensive Chinese stuff, for example. Tchaikovsky isn't empowering Putin; Russian oil and natural gas are.
 
101 - 120 of 144 Posts
Top