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Also, consider Shostakovich's wild opera The Nose. It's gigantic, hilarious, and blisteringly satirical. It's also extraordinarily audacious and imaginative! I mean, there's a two-minute percussion-only intermezzo in Act I!
Yes!! "The Nose"!! :devil::lol: really wild!! Very satirical, and bound to run into trouble....after its introduction in 1930, it did not surface again in Russia until 1974.
 

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I think this thread belongs to the section "Politics and religion" and is full of minefields (as far as the self-imposed limitations of this forum are concerned). The political context of the Craft's unfair quip cannot be understood without getting it into the contemporaneous context of the Cold War. I do not mean the general Cold War as most people remember it from the 80ies (and younger people know from mostly mendacious movies), but the specific period of the Cold War. The period when the Congress for Cultural Freedom thrived. Shostakovich was not simply one of the targets but the main boogie-man. Craft's criticism was a carefully crafted attack within the general party line of that time, coached (ostensibly) in purely musical terms. Given the seemingly total ignorance of the posters of the context, I suggest we drop the subject.
 

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Can't wait to see how all the ignorant contributors to this thread respond. Where's my popcorn...
I'll share mine. ................................
 

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Mendacious movies about the 80s Cold War? Certainly, they won't have had too much of an impact on a dead composer.
No, but they would colour the general perception of the context by the posters. Again, we are going into the political teritory here.
 

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...The political context of the Craft's unfair quip cannot be understood without getting it into the contemporaneous context of the Cold War. I do not mean the general Cold War as most people remember it from the 80ies (and younger people know from mostly mendacious movies), but the specific period of the Cold War. The period when the Congress for Cultural Freedom thrived. Shostakovich was not simply one of the targets but the main boogie-man. Craft's criticism was a carefully crafted attack within the general party line of that time, coached (ostensibly) in purely musical terms.
Do you have any evidence, and not just speculation, that Cold War politics were of any importance to Robert Craft's opinion of Shostakovich?

Frankly I find it likely he might have held this opinion without regard for Cold War politics. It would not be unusual; not everyone thinks Shostakovich is all that great, even now.

If you have evidence that Craft was towing the "party line" (by the way, which party, exactly?), let's see it, please.

Given the seemingly total ignorance of the posters of the context...
:rolleyes:
 

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That goes for us all, looking through the distorted lens of whatever experience we have accumulated.
Yes, unless some of us chose to penetrate the lazy perceptions imposed by others. There are more people doing this that one might suppose. And personal experience is of course infinitely better than perceiving life through movies.
 

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Why not just post a response to the person whose post you object to? It makes it so much easier for us all.
No, no. Let's keep the accusation of ignorance as general as possible. I just started my popcorn. This is great. I'm having my Collin Robinson (reference to "What we do in the Shadows) moment.
 

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Do you have any evidence, and not just speculation, that Cold War politics were of any importance to Robert Craft's opinion of Shostakovich?

Frankly I find it likely he might have held this opinion without regard for Cold War politics. It would not be unusual; not everyone thinks Shostakovich is all that great, even now.

If you have evidence that Craft was towing the "party line" (by the way, which party, exactly?), let's see it, please.

:rolleyes:

The Robert Craft quote in the OP was from the 1970s.
I do, but it is late in London, and I promise to write something on the subject this soon. Of course, the forensic standard of proof would be unavailable here, the state of mind is always opaque, but there is much more to it than just a jaundiced throw-away line. And one must not reduce the issue to the absurd proposition that Craft was a simple-minded Cold War propagandist. The reality was much more complex, and I am sure he felt that this was the right thing to do. What do you know about the whole Congress of Cultural Freedom thing and the huge (and still going strong) industry it has spawned? (a hint: Wikipedia is not of a great help here). Again, we are veering into politics, and if a moderator wishes to sound alarm, I shall desist at once. And yes, 1970 was within the time frame I have in mind.
 

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Why not just post a response to the person whose post you object to? It makes it so much easier for us all.
Well, might it be because ad hominem atacks are disgusting, especially in forums such as this? I am not interested in fighting people I do not know, on internet, I am interested in issues.
 

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I'd accept a quote of any kind from Craft demonstrating that he cared about Cold War politics/propaganda in terms of his esteem for a composer. I have read a lot of Craft, and don't recall encountering any comments that would convince me it was a significant factor.
 

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Well, might it be because ad hominem atacks are disgusting, especially in forums such as this? I am not interested in fighting people I do not know, on internet, I am interested in issues.
I was suggesting you take issue with what the poster wrote. You know, point out the flaw in their argument, offer your own evidence to support your contrary view, that sort of thing.

Whoever said anything about ad hominem? :rolleyes:
 

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I'd accept a quote of any kind from Craft demonstrating that he cared about Cold War politics/propaganda in terms of his esteem for a composer. I have read a lot of Craft, and don't recall encountering any comments that would convince me it was a significant factor.
Can you do me a kindness and read again what I have actually written before? I have consistently insisted that I do not regard Craft as a simple-minded Cold War propagandist. My basic thesis is that, while from the point of today, Craft's quip about Shostakovich seems purely music-based, the historical context (of which, sadly, most people are ignorant), would suggest otherwise. Frankly, I do not very much care what one accepts or not (and that is not meant as a personal impoliteness, just a fact, if you take it personally, I apologise). At the time, a purely propagandistic statement (public, not private) from such a cultural authority as Craft would have been a sure faux pas. Let us not reduce a serious and still meaningful issue to a caricature. But there is a lot of stuff published on the topic (not necessarily on internet). I will get it here, I promise, just not today. Probably in the section on politics and religion, and it will be very much music related.
 

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Well, he already did take a broad swipe at the "total ignorance" of unspecified posters in this thread.

Anyway, from my point of view, given what I already know of Craft from having read a considerable amount of his writing, I find it fairly risible to read someone insisting that Craft had to be acting as some sort of propaganda agent for some (again unspecified) "party line." Because, "context," I guess. I mean, sure, the Cold War was real, but hardly everyone in the west was at the mercy of the state and forced to make public statements, practically at gunpoint, as Shostakovich was.

Can you do me a kindness and read again what I have actually written before?
I regret to inform you that reading what you wrote a single time was more than sufficient.

My basic thesis is that, while from the point of today, Craft's quip about Shostakovich seems purely music-based, the historical context (of which, sadly, most people are ignorant), would suggest otherwise. Frankly, I do not very much care what one accepts or not (and that is not meant as a personal impoliteness, just a fact, if you take it personally, I apologise). At the time, a purely propagandistic statement (public, not private) from such a cultural authority as Craft would have been a sure faux pas.
Ah, so, indeed what you have is speculation, without evidence beyond broad conjecture.

Craft left behind many writings about music, especially Stravinsky. Have you read any of it?
 

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I was suggesting you take issue with what the poster wrote. You know, point out the flaw in their argument, offer your own evidence to support your contrary view, that sort of thing.

Whoever said anything about ad hominem? :rolleyes:
You seem to have it all figured out. Why not try and write the post on my behalf? Seriously, let us not dictate to each other what one should and should not write, beyond the basic notion of civility. Here, I am not very much interested in debating a particular person, but rather adressing the underlying (important) issue that he touched upon.
 

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Well, he already did take a broad swipe at the "total ignorance" of unspecified posters in this thread.

Anyway, from my point of view, given what I already know of Craft from having read a considerable amount of his writing, I find it fairly risible to read someone insisting that Craft had to be acting as some sort of propaganda agent for some (again unspecified) "party line." Because, "context," I guess. I mean, sure, the Cold War was real, but hardly everyone in the west was at the mercy of the state and forced to make public statements, practically at gunpoint, as Shostakovich was.
I see that you still insist on fighting a straw man of your own invention. As I have repeatedly insisted, I do not see Craft acting as a simple-minded propagandist. But to ignore the fact that the whole polemics (and Craft was an important participant) on Shostakovich was heavily tinged by the political context best exemplified by the Congress on Cultural Freedom drive, is simply incorrect. It seems that you are very much marching to your own drummer here. Perhaps "tinged" is too weak a word. Shostakovich, rightly or wrongly, was chosen as THE target of the campaign. People reacted to the issue, and they did that very much within the context. Craft also did this.
 
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