Klarinet Archive - Posting 000659.txt from 2003/06
From: "Feodor" <feodor@-----.com>
Subj: RE: [kl] Political postings - ON topic?
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2003 18:26:42 -0400
Well, your comments reinforce what I said.=20
Neither Shostakovich, nor you friend who escaped Czechoslovakia were
able to ignore politics. What I objected is a statement from somebody
else that we don't have to be politically aware - an ostrich position is
the best one.
In many countries (USA included) politicians restrict the freedom of
artistic expression. There are no such thing as "forbidden" or
"politically incorrect" words in Russia. Nobody will be ostracized for
use of "French Horn" in their score in place of "Freedom Horn". :)
Just try to imagine what will happen if somebody will write "Osama ben
Laden Symphony"! Will it be analyzed and judged based on the merit of
music? I doubt...
Therefore, an artist should be constantly aware of restrictions and
limitations imposed by kremlins and white houses, and either make a
conscious decision to put his art in risk of being banned, or chose to
produce only "politically correct" version, with risk to be banned later
when a politician decides that this oeuvre became politically
The second theme which you have touched is politics in art. Should art
be 'pure' or serve some purpose other then bringing aesthetic pleasure?
I absolutely agree with you that purpose of music (and art) should not
be "defense, support or attack of political position". This type of
"art" is called propaganda.
From: Mark Gresham [mailto:mgresham@-----.com]=20
Subject: Re: [kl] Political postings - ON topic?
> This strikes me... The totalitarian regimes always tried to persuade=20
> people that "...politics is not what you need. Don't talk or think=20
> 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=20
the service of social change (politics)" of their own persuasion.=20
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=20
to serve politics.
> Politics is an integral part of our lives. You may be more or less=20
> effected by it, but you ARE effected. Next time somebody will tell you
> that clarinet pieces written by Iraqi composers are politically=20
> 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=20
least, what is considered "political correctness" would generally work=20
on the *other* side of that political equation anyway.)
One of the composers I represent (and his father) had to escape the=20
Soviet tanks that rolled into Prague in 1968.
I have both had music banned for socio-political reasons, and had it=20
performed for socio-political causes with which I do not agree.
Nevertheless, in neither case was the purpose of the music or texts=20
to there defend, support, or attack a political position.
Politics may indeed affect all of us, but we need not be creatively=20
subservient to politics, nor hang all of our judgements and decisions=20
upon political criteria. It is politics that wishes to control us by=20
demanding we judge all experiences by its terms and criteria.
You question about Iraqi composers begs the concept that a decision=20
about their music that can only be based upon the terms of politics.=20
That is very wrong.
Hopefully most readers of this list can conceive of the idea that=20
politics is not the only cause of life experiences, and definitely not=20
the only reason for creative expression.
When you base all human decisions on political criteria, then you=20
have become the slave of politics itself -- the most totalitarian regime
Mark Gresham, composer
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