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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000657.txt from 2003/06

From: Mark Gresham <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Political postings - ON topic?
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2003 18:26:40 -0400

Feodor wrote:
> This strikes me... The totalitarian regimes always tried to persuade
> people that "...politics is not what you need. Don't talk or think about
> politics and you will be OK". This works in China. Looks like it works
> in the US too.

Totalitarian regimes tell you that "the only purpose of music is in
the service of social change (politics)" of their own persuasion.
Witness the experiences of Shostakovitch and Prokofiev, amongst others.
Totalitarian regimes fear the arts so much that they desperately want
to control them, to convince us that there is no reason for arts except
to serve politics.

> Politics is an integral part of our lives. You may be more or less
> effected by it, but you ARE effected. Next time somebody will tell you
> that clarinet pieces written by Iraqi composers are politically
> incorrect and you will turn around and say OK???

No, if you mean assessing an "Iraqi" as a class of political position
rather than a citizenship or a national origin. (And in the US, at
least, what is considered "political correctness" would generally work
on the *other* side of that political equation anyway.)

One of the composers I represent (and his father) had to escape the
Soviet tanks that rolled into Prague in 1968.
I have both had music banned for socio-political reasons, and had it
performed for socio-political causes with which I do not agree.
Nevertheless, in neither case was the purpose of the music or texts
to there defend, support, or attack a political position.
Politics may indeed affect all of us, but we need not be creatively
subservient to politics, nor hang all of our judgements and decisions
upon political criteria. It is politics that wishes to control us by
demanding we judge all experiences by its terms and criteria.
You question about Iraqi composers begs the concept that a decision
about their music that can only be based upon the terms of politics.
That is very wrong.
Hopefully most readers of this list can conceive of the idea that
politics is not the only cause of life experiences, and definitely not
the only reason for creative expression.
When you base all human decisions on political criteria, then you
have become the slave of politics itself -- the most totalitarian regime
of all.

Mark Gresham, composer
Lux Nova Press
LNP Retail Webstore

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