Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

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Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:08 am

One of the musical highlights of my life was Valery Gergiev playing Shostakovich 7 (the Leningrad) at a Melbourne Festival. Now I see he has performed the same work as a deliberate political statement in South Ossetia as Russian tanks occupy Georgia - and I've bought my last-ever Gergiev CD. I think it is a despicable and contemptible bit of politicisation by an ambitious and unscrupulous careerist. Gergiev would have been right at home in the Third Reich beneath those massive swastikas hobnobbing with Hitler and Goebbels; or kowtowing to Stalin and his friends in a different totalitarian state. Just goes to show, as though we didn't know, that musical genius has nothing to do with ethics or honour. As Putin tries to rebuild the Russian empire on the aspirations and the graves of non-Russians unfortunate enough to live next door, Gergiev will be there conducting encores. It is the exact opposite of courageous conductors such as Barenboim, trying to use music to enhance peace in the Middle East. I can only hope that Western music lovers take notice and react, and that his career in this hemisphere falters as it deserves.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Seán » Sat Aug 23, 2008 10:57 am

Barney, Gergiev is an Ossetian, and grew up in North Ossetia.
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:25 am

Seán wrote:Barney, Gergiev is an Ossetian, and grew up in North Ossetia.
I know that. I read it in the Guardian which sycophantically called it sublime. But Barenboim doesn't trample on Palestinians just because he's Jewish. Not every German conductor was complicit with the Nazis. You don't think this incursion is about Putin's personal humiliation at Russia's former collapse as a world power and its resurgent ambition, with which Gergiev is identifying? And punishing Georgia because it is pro-Western and wants to join Nato? He's using the same tricks in other countries in the region, handing out Russian passports and fomenting trouble. Putin is a vicious thug. I'm sorry, I still think Gergiev is utterly contemptible, Putin's toady and lapdog. Did British conductors gloatingly conduct in the ruins of Germany? Or Americans in Japan? (I don't know - they might have. But I'd be very surprised.) Gergiev does this carefully stage-managed concert playing the supreme Russian patriotic piece, gloating in the ruins of Georgia. A great conductor, and a small, shrivelled soul. This is not the time for gloating and triumphalism, it's a time for sorrow at another breakdown in human civility (by both Georgia and Russia) and for fence-mending. Gergiev is much too small a human to see that.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Guitarist » Sat Aug 23, 2008 12:34 pm

barney wrote:One of the musical highlights of my life was Valery Gergiev playing Shostakovich 7 (the Leningrad) at a Melbourne Festival. Now I see he has performed the same work as a deliberate political statement in South Ossetia as Russian tanks occupy Georgia - and I've bought my last-ever Gergiev CD.
Wow...you sure showed him. I bet he truly regrets his decision now.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:05 pm

Seán wrote:Barney, Gergiev is an Ossetian, and grew up in North Ossetia.
And Putin and Gergiev are Godfather's to each others Children, Gergiev is a Russian Aristocrat, what else did you expect... :evil:

I stopped buying his Orchestral recordings years ago, and his Mahler Sucks Big Time...but his Russian Operas are all worth having...
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:59 pm

Fugue wrote:
barney wrote:One of the musical highlights of my life was Valery Gergiev playing Shostakovich 7 (the Leningrad) at a Melbourne Festival. Now I see he has performed the same work as a deliberate political statement in South Ossetia as Russian tanks occupy Georgia - and I've bought my last-ever Gergiev CD.
Wow...you sure showed him. I bet he truly regrets his decision now.
:P Yes. It reminds me of a famous 1916 editorial in the Townsville paper (then a tiny rural backwater in northern Australia) that began "We have repeatedly warned the Czar...". Still, it makes me feel better....

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Sat Aug 23, 2008 4:01 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
Seán wrote:Barney, Gergiev is an Ossetian, and grew up in North Ossetia.
And Putin and Gergiev are Godfather's to each others Children, Gergiev is a Russian Aristocrat, what else did you expect... :evil:

I stopped buying his Orchestral recordings years ago, and his Mahler Sucks Big Time...but his Russian Operas are all worth having...
Actually I didn't know that. Even more contemptible toady then. The aristocrat and the KGB thug.
re his Mahler, what do you think of his Shostakovich? Gergiev's, not Putin's.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Aug 23, 2008 5:18 pm

barney wrote:Actually I didn't know that. Even more contemptible toady then. The aristocrat and the KGB thug.
re his Mahler, what do you think of his Shostakovich? Gergiev's, not Putin's.
In a word, dissapointing, i'm probably in a minority, (also because I don't like Maxim Shostakovich's recordings of his father's work either)...give me Mravinsky, Kondrashin, Barshai or Wigglesworth anyday, I do like Gergiev's Scheherazade, Rite of Spring and Petrouschka though...and this DVD, Shostakovich against Stalin, is one of the best ever...
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:19 pm

It seems I'm out on a limb here, without a lot of support. So be it, the tree branch needs to be solid if it's going to support me AND anyone else. I still think it is reprehensible when music is used for triumphalism and to exclude others, and when musical figures allow themselves to become the political tools of others. I didn't really have any view of Gergiev as a person before; now I do - a strong view. (But delicately and sensitively expressed, it goes without saying.)

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Ralph » Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:24 pm

barney wrote:It seems I'm out on a limb here, without a lot of support. So be it, the tree branch needs to be solid if it's going to support me AND anyone else. I still think it is reprehensible when music is used for triumphalism and to exclude others, and when musical figures allow themselves to become the political tools of others. I didn't really have any view of Gergiev as a person before; now I do - a strong view. (But delicately and sensitively expressed, it goes without saying.)
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by slofstra » Sat Aug 23, 2008 8:44 pm

Seán wrote:Barney, Gergiev is an Ossetian, and grew up in North Ossetia.
Barney, do you feel Gergiev is compromising, in some way, either his own heart-felt loyalties or his people? To me that is the only possible crime.
I'm still grappling with the question of whether Ossetia is merely a pretext or not. But perhaps that is a question for the Corner Pub.

It's quite something how these patches of disputed land enter the historical register of place names: Alsace Lorraine, Falkland Islands, Kosovo; now suddenly everyone knows of Ossetia.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Chalkperson » Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:09 pm

"Val Dahling, it's Vlad, he's on the Red Phone..says he needs a favor, I told him no problem"...sound of toilet flushing..."What did you just say?"... :shock:


With grateful thanks to Stanley Kubrik and Dr Strangelove... :wink:
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Barry » Sat Aug 23, 2008 11:34 pm

Chalkperson wrote: ... his Mahler Sucks Big Time ...
Have you heard the 7th? A friend of mine thinks it's one of the great Mahler sevenths. I haven't heard it.
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:21 am

Barry wrote:
Chalkperson wrote: ... his Mahler Sucks Big Time ...
Have you heard the 7th? A friend of mine thinks it's one of the great Mahler sevenths. I haven't heard it.
No I gave up after the First and all the reviews I read of the other discs were pretty negative, I gave up on David Zinman's Cycle too, but your friend is welcome to enjoy it, if you don't mind the sound at The Barbican...
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Aug 24, 2008 12:46 am

Fugue wrote:
barney wrote:One of the musical highlights of my life was Valery Gergiev playing Shostakovich 7 (the Leningrad) at a Melbourne Festival. Now I see he has performed the same work as a deliberate political statement in South Ossetia as Russian tanks occupy Georgia - and I've bought my last-ever Gergiev CD.
Wow...you sure showed him. I bet he truly regrets his decision now.
I felt the same way when Krystian Zimerman made a political statement before his second half program at the Wassermann Festival in 2006, dedicating his performance of some Liszt thing to all the political prisoners, basically, in US costody, because he was annoyed that his piano was held up at Customs. F' 'em I say. I threw out my Zimerman discs, will never buy another, certainly will never attend another concert of his ever as long as there's breath in my body. It's not much but it is what I can do. Likely Barney feels the same.
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by ch1525 » Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:10 am

That reminds me of how pissed off I got about Leon Fleisher and his Kennedy Center award shenanigans. I can barely bring myself to even listen to his playing now.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:21 am

Henry wrote:Barney, do you feel Gergiev is compromising, in some way, either his own heart-felt loyalties or his people? To me that is the only possible crime.
IMO they are all grandstanding when they make their stands against democratic nations. They want to protest oppression, let 'em go to North Korea, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, China, Zimbabwe, Sudan. There their misplaced sympathies might reflect political realities instead of liberal wet dreams of fascism in the west.

slofstra wrote:I'm still grappling with the question of whether Ossetia is merely a pretext or not. But perhaps that is a question for the Corner Pub.

It's quite something how these patches of disputed land enter the historical register of place names: Alsace Lorraine, Falkland Islands, Kosovo; now suddenly everyone knows of Ossetia.
Henry, how's about severing this and posting it in the Georgian invasion thread in the pub? Just delete it from here and copy it to there. Thanks.
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by TopoGigio » Sun Aug 24, 2008 6:01 am

Perhaps the Straussies should remain silent at the Empire of an
Emperor...
But at a last talk,apparently, the Emperor says to Johann Strauss:you are the true Emperor...
-
Artists were allways at many politics.Perhaps Barney wants a more pro'west Gergiev, but its absurd...

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by slofstra » Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:27 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
slofstra wrote:I'm still grappling with the question of whether Ossetia is merely a pretext or not. But perhaps that is a question for the Corner Pub.

It's quite something how these patches of disputed land enter the historical register of place names: Alsace Lorraine, Falkland Islands, Kosovo; now suddenly everyone knows of Ossetia.
Henry, how's about severing this and posting it in the Georgian invasion thread in the pub? Just delete it from here and copy it to there. Thanks.
Great idea. But first I just heard there's a bear loose in the woods just north of here, and I'm going to smear myself up with peanut butter and honey and have a run through. If I'm still hungry for more excitement, I will then take you up on your suggestion. :lol:
Last edited by slofstra on Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Seán » Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:56 pm

TopoGigio wrote: Artists were allways at many politics.Perhaps Barney wants a more pro'west Gergiev, but its absurd...
I agree! Wait, I agree with Topo? Well Heavens above!
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by stenka razin » Sun Aug 24, 2008 1:57 pm

In my humble opinion, this thread really belongs in the Corner Pub. :idea:
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Seán » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:18 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
Barry wrote:
Chalkperson wrote: ... his Mahler Sucks Big Time ...
Have you heard the 7th? A friend of mine thinks it's one of the great Mahler sevenths. I haven't heard it.
No I gave up after the First and all the reviews I read of the other discs were pretty negative, I gave up on David Zinman's Cycle too, but your friend is welcome to enjoy it, if you don't mind the sound at The Barbican...
I listened to broadcasts of Gergiev's M1, M2 & M3 and I didn't enjoy them. I have to disagree with you on Zinman Chalkie as I have and I really like Zinman's M1.
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TopoGigio

Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by TopoGigio » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:38 pm

Seán wrote:
TopoGigio wrote: Artists were allways at many politics.Perhaps Barney wants a more pro'west Gergiev, but its absurd...
I agree! Wait, I agree with Topo? Well Heavens above!
Last edited by TopoGigio on Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by stenka razin » Sun Aug 24, 2008 2:55 pm

stenka razin wrote:In my humble opinion, this thread really belongs in the Corner Pub. :idea:
This thread most definitely belongs in The Corner Pub. Please move it. :(
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:12 pm

Seán wrote:
Chalkperson wrote:
Barry wrote:
Chalkperson wrote: ... his Mahler Sucks Big Time ...
Have you heard the 7th? A friend of mine thinks it's one of the great Mahler sevenths. I haven't heard it.
No I gave up after the First and all the reviews I read of the other discs were pretty negative, I gave up on David Zinman's Cycle too, but your friend is welcome to enjoy it, if you don't mind the sound at The Barbican...
I listened to broadcasts of Gergiev's M1, M2 & M3 and I didn't enjoy them. I have to disagree with you on Zinman Chalkie as I have and I really like Zinman's M1.
Zinman's 1st is pretty good, but then along came Mariss Janson's Mahler 1st with the RCO and the contest was over, but even with over 35 Mahler One's in my library I did keep Zinman's but stopped buying the series after that...Mahler Lite I think... :wink:
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Aug 24, 2008 5:23 pm

stenka razin wrote:
stenka razin wrote:In my humble opinion, this thread really belongs in the Corner Pub. :idea:
This thread most definitely belongs in The Corner Pub. Please move it. :(
I have to disagree, and you are repeating yourself, it's Barney's thread and he was unaware of the Gergiev/Putin lovefest, now we have moved on to Gergiev's very average Mahler, and if it goes in the Pub many musical members may miss it, the Thread TITLE is more in keeping with the Pub, I agree...anyway it's had over 170 hits and that's pretty good I think...
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by stenka razin » Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:26 pm

Chalkperson wrote:
stenka razin wrote:
stenka razin wrote:In my humble opinion, this thread really belongs in the Corner Pub. :idea:
This thread most definitely belongs in The Corner Pub. Please move it. :(
I have to disagree, and you are repeating yourself, it's Barney's thread and he was unaware of the Gergiev/Putin lovefest, now we have moved on to Gergiev's very average Mahler, and if it goes in the Pub many musical members may miss it, the Thread TITLE is more in keeping with the Pub, I agree...anyway it's had over 170 hits and that's pretty good I think...
This part of the forum should not be a political arena. If we keep this up, we might as well bring up the names of so many truly great classical musicians from the past who meddled in politics and that would make this thread endless.......Karajan.......Furtwangler.....Bohm......Knappertsbusch......Jochum......and on and on and on... :( :( :( :(
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:08 pm

stenka razin wrote:This part of the forum should not be a political arena.
Please telegraph Gergiev and Zimerman immediately!
If we keep this up, we might as well bring up the names of so many truly great classical musicians from the past who meddled in politics and that would make this thread endless.......Karajan.......Furtwangler.....Bohm......Knappertsbusch......Jochum......and on and on and on... :( :( :( :(
They have. The Nazi envolvement of some stellar names, the refusal to be dragooned into the Nazi ranks by some, the flight from the Nazis by many who landed up in Hollywood in the 30s and 40s, the music of the composers banned or killed by the Nazis, the resistance of some Russian musicians like Shostakovich and Rostropovich against the Soviets are periodic topics here. We leave most of them here because the members who frequent the music room often don't frequent the Pub and the topics are of most interest to the music types. I did my best: I asked Henry to move half the topic to the Pub. :D
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Chalkperson » Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:10 pm

stenka razin wrote:If we keep this up, we might as well bring up the names of so many truly great classical musicians from the past and that would make this thread endless....

...Karajan.......Furtwangler.....Bohm......Knappertsbusch......Jochum......and on and on and on... :( :( :( :(

An endless thread, i'm, pm'ing Lance immediately, he'll really love that idea...one where we talk about all these Really Good Old Conductors, and all the great music they made...we stopped politiking on this thread the minute Henry went out to the Woods to Fight some Big Bear, since then it's just been about the music and my indifference to most of the Orchestral and Concerto Recordings Maestro Putin...sorry, Gergiev has made...so, start an old conductors thread, i'll join up immediately...Karajan we can do without I think/hope/pray... :wink:
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by RebLem » Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:23 pm

ch1525 wrote:That reminds me of how pissed off I got about Leon Fleisher and his Kennedy Center award shenanigans. I can barely bring myself to even listen to his playing now.
Its much more your loss than his.

As Paddy Cheyefsky said at an Emmy Award ceremony a number of years ago in response to Vanessa Redgrave's attempt to interpret the fact that she won an Emmy for a controversial role playing a victim of the Holocaust as a validation of her political views, "This is not a pivotal moment in history." Neither was Gergiev's concert.

Few liberals ever boycotted John Wayne movies, but somehow, whether its Gergiev or the Dixie Chicks, RWers always seem to feel compelled to boycott artists whose politics they don't like. I wonder why that is. j/k. I already know. You are masochists who enjoy cutting off your noses to spite your faces.
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:59 pm

RebLem wrote:whether its Gergiev or the Dixie Chicks, RWers always seem to feel compelled to boycott artists whose politics they don't like.
What created the alleged blacklist of the 50s wasn't conservatives; it was the public at large refusing to go to movies featuring actors and authors and composers whose political opinions they didn't approve of. It's what people do, liberals included. It's voting not to support people who depend on popular acceptance for their livelihood. Boycotting isn't going to amount to hill of beans as far as Gergiev or Zimerman because there's plenty of people who don't care or actively approve who will go to their concerts and by their recordings. Even here in Logan, the audience, largely a university crowd, gave Zimerman a standing O, except for me, and I refused to applaud much less stand. Liberals like to kid themselves that they don't discriminate against people whose opinions they disapprove, that they focus on the "art", but that's simply ridiculous. The book review sections of liberal papers and magazines rarely review books by conservative authors or former-radical authors who became conservatives. When they do, they do it only so they can heap contempt on them rather than genuine analysis.
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:22 am

Sorry, I've been out of town speechifying at Parliament House. A history changing moment for civilisation. Ah well, perhaps not.

Gergiev did not come up. Re suggestions that we should move the topic, I've never set foot in the corner pub, finding plenty here to occupy my spare moments. I fear if I went there it would take over my life.

but I don't see why a politics and music thread should be banned from here. However, I am not a moderator, and if it gets moved I'll accept it.

I have to go to a concert now, poor me (MSO concert performance of Flying Dutchman, which I have been eagerly awaiiting), so will reply to individual posts later, if that's ok.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by piston » Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:23 am

I write this comment without much knowledge about the Ossetian/Georgian/Russian situation as it has been unfolding in recent weeks (and without having read all of Barry's extensive thread on this topic in the Pub). Apparently, Gergiev, the Ossetian, performed in his homeland not to celebrate Russia's use of "disproportianate force" against Georgia but to highlight his homeland's struggle against Georgia (including the destruction of their parliament by Georgian military forces). Let's not forget that this situation is far more complicated than democracy vs. militarism and I would be curious to know which side the Ossetians identify as the aggressor. In any case, his performance of the seventh was very warmly received by this Ossetian audience. He has a right to take sides, particularly in his homeland! I find the completely apolitical artist much more disconcerting (pun intended). We're not going to revisit Karajan's early artistic contributions, are we?
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Ralph » Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:11 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
RebLem wrote:whether its Gergiev or the Dixie Chicks, RWers always seem to feel compelled to boycott artists whose politics they don't like.
What created the alleged blacklist of the 50s wasn't conservatives; it was the public at large refusing to go to movies featuring actors and authors and composers whose political opinions they didn't approve of. It's what people do, liberals included. It's voting not to support people who depend on popular acceptance for their livelihood. Boycotting isn't going to amount to hill of beans as far as Gergiev or Zimerman because there's plenty of people who don't care or actively approve who will go to their concerts and by their recordings. Even here in Logan, the audience, largely a university crowd, gave Zimerman a standing O, except for me, and I refused to applaud much less stand. Liberals like to kid themselves that they don't discriminate against people whose opinions they disapprove, that they focus on the "art", but that's simply ridiculous. The book review sections of liberal papers and magazines rarely review books by conservative authors or former-radical authors who became conservatives. When they do, they do it only so they can heap contempt on them rather than genuine analysis.
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"Alleged blacklist?" That's a new one. Even the late Roy Cohn, Senator McCarthy's right-hand vulture, whom I once debated, acknowledged the existence of a Blacklist, created in response to Senate and House investigations. The difference between Cohn and myself is that he saw no problem with the Blacklist while I obviously did.

Corlyss's totally wrong post illustrates how misinformation can be blithely flown before an audience largely composed of people either too young to remember the Blacklist years or not from the U.S. There are many histories by reputable scholars about the McCarthy and House Unamerican Activities Committee witch hunts which disclosed few if any dangerous Soviet agents while, at the same time, real spies from the USSR worked without any serious interference from the FBI.

The format for the congressional investigations required that those subpoenaed to testify confess to their leftist or communist past association (and some were affiliated with the CPUSA when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were allies in the war against Nazism). If a witness both confessed AND named names, he/she could continue in the motion picture industry. If not, or if as some did, they defiantly challenged the witch hunters, their careers simply ended.

There was no published Blacklist - the studio satraps did not hire actors, directors and screen writers who fell into disfavor. Established careers ended, new and promising ones died. The public played no role in this process other than to, for a long time, support the search for communists, especially in the entertainmanet world.

While few here have the time or interest to seriously research this dark period, viewing Zero Mostel in "The Front," a movie that accurately and with pathos shows the reality of the Blacklist years will be very worthwhile.
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by slofstra » Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:49 am

While few here have the time or interest to seriously research this dark period, viewing Zero Mostel in "The Front," a movie that accurately and with pathos shows the reality of the Blacklist years will be very worthwhile.
The equivalent on the Nazi versus Arts issue, and I am sure there are others, would be Mephisto. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mephisto_(1981_film).

In the interest of shedding more light than heat on the subject, what other films and books deal with the issue of politics and art, especially as far as music is concerned? I believe one film was made on Furtwangler.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:01 am

slofstra wrote:
Seán wrote:Barney, Gergiev is an Ossetian, and grew up in North Ossetia.
Barney, do you feel Gergiev is compromising, in some way, either his own heart-felt loyalties or his people? To me that is the only possible crime.
I'm still grappling with the question of whether Ossetia is merely a pretext or not. But perhaps that is a question for the Corner Pub.

It's quite something how these patches of disputed land enter the historical register of place names: Alsace Lorraine, Falkland Islands, Kosovo; now suddenly everyone knows of Ossetia.
Well, I suppose that while I agree they are crimes against conscience they are not the only crimes. Under your veiw, a committed Nazi who genuinely thought Jews subhuman would be quite right to cleanse his orchestra.I think to turn music into a political tool of state at all is problematical. Gergiev may well have been utterly genuine; he can be genuinely a toady and a thug and morally incompetent, all with a clean conscience. My orchestral friends told me tonight he is not esteemed by Russian orchestral musicians either.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:07 am

RebLem wrote:
ch1525 wrote:That reminds me of how pissed off I got about Leon Fleisher and his Kennedy Center award shenanigans. I can barely bring myself to even listen to his playing now.
Its much more your loss than his.

As Paddy Cheyefsky said at an Emmy Award ceremony a number of years ago in response to Vanessa Redgrave's attempt to interpret the fact that she won an Emmy for a controversial role playing a victim of the Holocaust as a validation of her political views, "This is not a pivotal moment in history." Neither was Gergiev's concert.

Few liberals ever boycotted John Wayne movies, but somehow, whether its Gergiev or the Dixie Chicks, RWers always seem to feel compelled to boycott artists whose politics they don't like. I wonder why that is. j/k. I already know. You are masochists who enjoy cutting off your noses to spite your faces.
You'll be hearing from my lawyers. My paper is a leading small-l liberal paper; if I were perceived as right-wing I'd be sacked. And the fact that I don't want to buy the CDs of a neo-fascist imperialist running dog doesn't make me right-wing. I'm neither right nor left, but humane, intelligent, decent and well-meaning. No lazy journalistic stereotypes please - unless I'm applying them to someone else.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:12 am

TopoGigio wrote:Perhaps the Straussies should remain silent at the Empire of an
Emperor...
But at a last talk,apparently, the Emperor says to Johann Strauss:you are the true Emperor...
-
Artists were allways at many politics.Perhaps Barney wants a more pro'west Gergiev, but its absurd...
I don't want a more pro-West Gergiev. I want a less sycophantic politicised Gergiev. I want a Gergiev whose focus is the music. Naive? Maybe.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by slofstra » Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:08 pm

barney wrote:
slofstra wrote:
Seán wrote:Barney, Gergiev is an Ossetian, and grew up in North Ossetia.
Barney, do you feel Gergiev is compromising, in some way, either his own heart-felt loyalties or his people? To me that is the only possible crime.
I'm still grappling with the question of whether Ossetia is merely a pretext or not. But perhaps that is a question for the Corner Pub.

It's quite something how these patches of disputed land enter the historical register of place names: Alsace Lorraine, Falkland Islands, Kosovo; now suddenly everyone knows of Ossetia.
Well, I suppose that while I agree they are crimes against conscience they are not the only crimes. Under your veiw, a committed Nazi who genuinely thought Jews subhuman would be quite right to cleanse his orchestra.I think to turn music into a political tool of state at all is problematical. Gergiev may well have been utterly genuine; he can be genuinely a toady and a thug and morally incompetent, all with a clean conscience. My orchestral friends told me tonight he is not esteemed by Russian orchestral musicians either.
I certainly don't see genuine-ness or sincerity of feeling as justification for anything; I did not intend to be so broad. I see defence or support of one's homeland as suitable justification for giving a concert there, that is all. If this was an "Anschluss" of Ossetia, where a few elitists were selling out the province, I might think differently but I have no reason to think that at the present.

TopoGigio

Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by TopoGigio » Mon Aug 25, 2008 2:37 pm

Barney wrote: My orchestral friends told me tonight he is not esteemed by Russian orchestral musicians either.
Yes,he is ruthlessly singleminded... :)
Last edited by TopoGigio on Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:35 pm

Ralph wrote:"Alleged blacklist?" That's a new one. Even the late Roy Cohn, Senator McCarthy's right-hand vulture, whom I once debated, acknowledged the existence of a Blacklist, created in response to Senate and House investigations.
Why would you take his word for it? Because it confirmed what you were already led to believe? I mean, really, for both of us, it's received wisdom and our opinions are based on what we know of history. More recent research has demonstrated that the studios made their decisions strictly based on the box-office appeal of the parties allegedly black-listed, which approached zero in many cases. Studios feature artists that will not put fannies in the seats at their own peril. Witness the recent spate of anti-American films about the war in Iraq. Vanity efforts and losers all. Studios in the 40s and 50s were still money-making businesses. They couldn't afford vanity films solely to make a point about the intolerant American public.
Corlyss's totally wrong post illustrates how misinformation can be blithely flown before an audience largely composed of people either too young to remember the Blacklist years or not from the U.S.
Balderdash, Ralph. You're stuck in the 1960's liberal analysis of what happend. That don't mean it's true.
Piston wrote:I would be curious to know which side the Ossetians identify as the aggressor
We have a lengthy thread in the Pub that covers both sides.
Barney wrote:I'm neither right nor left, but humane, intelligent, decent and well-meaning. No lazy journalistic stereotypes please - unless I'm applying them to someone else.
:lol: Your candor is refreshing.
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Mon Aug 25, 2008 5:54 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:"Alleged blacklist?" That's a new one. Even the late Roy Cohn, Senator McCarthy's right-hand vulture, whom I once debated, acknowledged the existence of a Blacklist, created in response to Senate and House investigations.
Why would you take his word for it? Because it confirmed what you were already led to believe? I mean, really, for both of us, it's received wisdom and our opinions are based on what we know of history. More recent research has demonstrated that the studios made their decisions strictly based on the box-office appeal of the parties allegedly black-listed, which approached zero in many cases. Studios feature artists that will not put fannies in the seats at their own peril. Witness the recent spate of anti-American films about the war in Iraq. Vanity efforts and losers all. Studios in the 40s and 50s were still money-making businesses. They couldn't afford vanity films solely to make a point about the intolerant American public.
Corlyss's totally wrong post illustrates how misinformation can be blithely flown before an audience largely composed of people either too young to remember the Blacklist years or not from the U.S.
Balderdash, Ralph. You're stuck in the 1960's liberal analysis of what happend. That don't mean it's true.
This is a most interesting discussion. I imagine that I too have only heard the liberal analysis because a black list (actual or metaphorical) is certainly received wisdom for my generation. And received wisdom is often dubious, you are right about that. Nor have I read widely on the area. Are you suggesting there was definitely no such thing, possibly no such thing or that while there was no such thing, some artists did suffer for their political views?

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:04 pm

slofstra wrote:
barney wrote:
slofstra wrote:
Seán wrote:Barney, Gergiev is an Ossetian, and grew up in North Ossetia.
Barney, do you feel Gergiev is compromising, in some way, either his own heart-felt loyalties or his people? To me that is the only possible crime.
I'm still grappling with the question of whether Ossetia is merely a pretext or not. But perhaps that is a question for the Corner Pub.

It's quite something how these patches of disputed land enter the historical register of place names: Alsace Lorraine, Falkland Islands, Kosovo; now suddenly everyone knows of Ossetia.
Well, I suppose that while I agree they are crimes against conscience they are not the only crimes. Under your veiw, a committed Nazi who genuinely thought Jews subhuman would be quite right to cleanse his orchestra.I think to turn music into a political tool of state at all is problematical. Gergiev may well have been utterly genuine; he can be genuinely a toady and a thug and morally incompetent, all with a clean conscience. My orchestral friends told me tonight he is not esteemed by Russian orchestral musicians either.
I certainly don't see genuine-ness or sincerity of feeling as justification for anything; I did not intend to be so broad. I see defence or support of one's homeland as suitable justification for giving a concert there, that is all. If this was an "Anschluss" of Ossetia, where a few elitists were selling out the province, I might think differently but I have no reason to think that at the present.
At risk of this quote list getting intolerably long,I'm glad to have that clarification. I can't claim to know all the rights and wrongs of Georgia; I do know that I think Putin is a man greatly to be feared because he is fuelled partly by perceived humiliation and partly by vaulting ambition, and is quite prepared to use violence. It's all a risky combination. And I don't like seeing art employed in its service. I read that Putin is now handing out Russian passports to people in other former Soviet republics, so that like Hitler with German Czechs he will be able to claim he is intervening to protect Russians. It's an age-old ploy, but I don't have to like it. And Chechnya seems to be one of the nastiest little wars (on both sides). Someone mentioned Gergiev's pain at Beslan - that wasn't Georgians. And while I certainly think terrorists should be resisted, I read that the ham-fisted way the Russians went about eliminating them contributed greatly to the children's death toll. The operation was a great success but the patient died.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Niki » Fri Aug 29, 2008 7:37 pm

Barney, I think you got it all wrong. Maybe a victim of US /West brainwashing propaganda.
Barny you turned the tables around and unknowingly you placed yourself - as a liberal - on the adversarial side! You just don't know the facts.
The actions taken by Georgia against Ossetia's population is an unbelievable crime against humanity. I wouldn't call what Georia did to Ossetia a holocaust, but this was a nightmare for Russians living in Ossetia. To have a government send tanks and bomb peaceful civilians in their homes is as cruel as it can get! And this is exactly what the Georgian president did - while trying to use the fact that all media was captivated by the Olympics.
It was Russia's obligation to jump and help the Ossetian population attacked brutally by "their government" just because they are Russians.
I support Russia 100% in this action. I think they should teach Georgia a lesson not to be forgotten for a loooong time.

Now - I understand Russia used this oportunity to attach 2 provinces populated largely by Russians. I have no sympathy for Old USSR, nor for their attemp to intimidate other Eastern democracies that broke apart from under the old iron curtain.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Fri Aug 29, 2008 9:40 pm

Niki wrote:Barney, I think you got it all wrong. Maybe a victim of US /West brainwashing propaganda.
Barny you turned the tables around and unknowingly you placed yourself - as a liberal - on the adversarial side! You just don't know the facts.
The actions taken by Georgia against Ossetia's population is an unbelievable crime against humanity. I wouldn't call what Georia did to Ossetia a holocaust, but this was a nightmare for Russians living in Ossetia. To have a government send tanks and bomb peaceful civilians in their homes is as cruel as it can get! And this is exactly what the Georgian president did - while trying to use the fact that all media was captivated by the Olympics.
It was Russia's obligation to jump and help the Ossetian population attacked brutally by "their government" just because they are Russians.
I support Russia 100% in this action. I think they should teach Georgia a lesson not to be forgotten for a loooong time.

Now - I understand Russia used this oportunity to attach 2 provinces populated largely by Russians. I have no sympathy for Old USSR, nor for their attemp to intimidate other Eastern democracies that broke apart from under the old iron curtain.
Barney says: I am quite prepared to admit that I don't understand the nuances of this mini-war. though I find Russia a malign force in the world today because it is fuelled by perceived humiliation and wants to be an empire again, rather than by legitimate national aspirations such as improving the position of its citizens. Putin has done little to curb the mafia, as he might have done if the good of Russian citizens was actually an objective for him; he's an out and out thug. But my point was the role MUSIC played under the reprehensible Gergiev to gloat and be triumphalist and endorse a military and political structure. Not like Shostakovich, to stay alive, but voluntarily as a propaganda tool. Others have observed this is not the first time; that doesn't make it right. So I'm not talking about the two annexed provinces; I'm talking about one human being I used to admire and now despise.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by THEHORN » Tue Sep 02, 2008 5:28 pm

The Caucasus is an ancient and fascinating region; I
have been fascinated by its history, cultures and languages
for many years, and have read a lot about it.
This area is a tinderbox of ethnic conflicts and been so
since the beginning. The Georgians ,Ossetians and the many
other ethnic groups here have been at each other's throats for ages. And the Russians are hated for having conquered
the North caucasus in the 19th century as well as their
later depredations.
There is a staggering number of different languages spoken
here, and this has been so for thousands of years.
The indigenous Caucasian languages are totally unrelated
to Russian. They date back to ancient times.
The Ossetians are the descendents of the ancient Scythian,
Sarmatian and Alanic tribes and speak a language related to
Farsi,Kurdish and Pashto.
The Azerbaijanis speak a Turkish dialect and can easily
converse with people from Turkey; most Azeris live in Iran,
where they are a sizeable minority.
So let's give Gergiev the benefit of the doubt.
Gergiev may be somewhat erratic in his performances,
but at his best, he is the equal of any of the great
conductors,past and present, and his performances have
deservedly gained him international renown.
I have a cd of traditional Georgian folk music sung by
the Rustavi choir, a men's group. The Georgians have choral
music for banquets, marching, working, healing the sick and
mourning the dead etc. This cd is on Sony Classical
and is absolutely fascinating. It's well worth looking for.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Lance » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:15 pm

THEHORN wrote:{snipped} I have a cd of traditional Georgian folk music sung by the Rustavi choir, a men's group. The Georgians have choral music for banquets, marching, working, healing the sick and mourning the dead etc. This cd is on Sony Classical and is absolutely fascinating. It's well worth looking for.
First of all, welcome aboard Robert! We're glad you made it to CMG. Being half Russian myself, I am always interested in Russian choral music. Can you advise us the name of the group and the catalogue number of the Sony disc you mention?

Are you familiar with the choral conducting of Alekxander Sveshnikov? He has been a constant favourite of mine.
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Sep 02, 2008 8:47 pm

Niki wrote:Barney, I think you got it all wrong. Maybe a victim of US /West brainwashing propaganda.
Barny you turned the tables around and unknowingly you placed yourself - as a liberal - on the adversarial side! You just don't know the facts.
The actions taken by Georgia against Ossetia's population is an unbelievable crime against humanity.
Now who's the ignorant tool of brainwashing propagandists?
In Georgia’s enclaves, Russian forces have acted as self-interested troublemakers, not as neutral peacekeepers. Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic long oppressed the Kosovo Albanians, as well as perpetrating war and ethnic cleansing right across former Yugoslavia. But it was the Georgians who ended up as the bigger victims of ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia in the 1990s, and have been again in South Ossetia in the past three weeks. Unlike Milosevic, Georgia’s Mikheil Saakashvili is a democratically elected president who will surely be held to account by voters for his impetuous decision to invade South Ossetia on August 7th.

Motive provides an even clearer difference. Throughout the 1990s the Americans and Europeans were extremely reluctant to get involved in the Balkans. After Milosevic’s withdrawal from Kosovo in 1999, the main role of the UN and NATO forces in the province was to protect the Serb minority and Serb religious sites. The Western powers devoted years to negotiations over the province’s future, culminating in UN-led talks under Martti Ahtisaari, a former Finnish president. Only when these failed, again thanks mainly to Russian intransigence, did Kosovo’s unilateral independence become inevitable.

In total contrast, Russia has nakedly pursued its own interests in the Caucasus. It did its utmost to provoke Mr Saakashvili into a fight. Its “peacekeepers” have made no pretence of protecting minorities in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It has not even tried to promote serious negotiations over the territories’ future. Instead, it has steadily cemented their links with Russia, building up military facilities and giving the local people Russian passports (a transparent ploy to justify a later purported need to “protect” Russian citizens). Although Mr Saakashvili took the catastrophic decision to send in the Georgian army, resulting in many civilian deaths, no evidence has been offered by the Russians to support their wild claims of genocide or ethnic cleansing.
Peacekeepers or piece-keepers?

The difference between Kosovo and South Ossetia has been starker still in the war’s aftermath. In 1999 the Western powers went in as a last resort and quickly internationalised the issue, bringing in the UN and international peacekeepers. Eight years of patient diplomacy preceded Kosovo’s independence. The Russians invaded Georgia in a fever of war enthusiasm; have refused to pull out and rejected attempts to internationalise the dispute; and have now recognised the enclaves’ independence less than three weeks after the war began. http://www.economist.com/opinion/displa ... d=12009678
Barney's got it right. If you got proof of Georgian crimes against humanity from indifferent sources on the ground, put it up.
Barney wrote:So I'm not talking about the two annexed provinces; I'm talking about one human being I used to admire and now despise.
Alas, it's impossible to separate the two issues, really. Gergiev's behavior has to be seen thru the lens of the underlying conflict, just like that jackass Zimerman's does. These kinds of ethical situations reveal the artistic personality in all its revolting preciousness.
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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:25 am

THEHORN wrote:The Caucasus is an ancient and fascinating region; I
have been fascinated by its history, cultures and languages
for many years, and have read a lot about it.
This area is a tinderbox of ethnic conflicts and been so
since the beginning.
SNIP
So let's give Gergiev the benefit of the doubt.
Gergiev may be somewhat erratic in his performances,
but at his best, he is the equal of any of the great
conductors,past and present, and his performances have
deservedly gained him international renown.
Thanks for the history lesson - it certainly sounds a fascinating and polyglot area. But I take issue with your "so" which seems causal. Complicated hsitory = give Gergiev benefit of the doubt. Sorry, but this seems a non-sequitur to me. His ability is not at issue; his moral standing is the issue. To me, it is greatly diminished.

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Re: Goodbye Gergiev, you contemptible conductor

Post by barney » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:33 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
Barney wrote:So I'm not talking about the two annexed provinces; I'm talking about one human being I used to admire and now despise.
Alas, it's impossible to separate the two issues, really. Gergiev's behavior has to be seen thru the lens of the underlying conflict, just like that jackass Zimerman's does. These kinds of ethical situations reveal the artistic personality in all its revolting preciousness.
You are certainly right,but some people really rise and transcend the underlying situation. Barenboim is the obvious, already-cited example; I'm sure there are others. Someone earlier challenged me on Bernstein, Beethoven 9 and the Wall, which was a fair question but I don't think it is an exact parallel. That was celebrating German reunification, important to both East and West, rather than gloating at Russia, imho. I have vague memories of anti-fascist courage by Toscanini and Walter. Yes, my lens may be monocular, but it is my lens. As the philosophers say, my feelings are incorrigible - I may be wrong about Gergiev, but I cannot be wrong in describing my feeling about Gergiev. And, as I said, it's now negative.

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