Monday, 23 April 2018

Schönberg still alive

On the website of 'Slipped Disc' (Norman Lebrecht) again a fiery discussion was provoked by Norman's invocation of Schönberg's music. It shows that postwar ideological nonsense has gradually dripped-down through music life to compensate for exploring musical reality, like, for instance, the idea that what 'drove' music history was 'the line' Mahler - Schönberg - Webern into post-1945 modernism, as if the richness of early 20C music simply did not exist: Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Scriabine, Prokofiev, Szymanowski, Hindemith, the late Strauss, Poulenc, etc. - music which has entered the regular repertoire, in contrast with Webern and the later Schönberg.

Also interesting to see how famous performers are referred to with their entirely unthinking conventional repeating of nonsense, like Simon Rattle, thereby legitimizing a serious distortion of what really has been written.

It comes down to misconceptions about 'nature', a typical Western problem, where rational thought is considered as the only way to connect with reality - desastrous in the arts and especially in music.

Friday, 20 April 2018

German misunderstandings

This week there was on the 1st Program channel on German TV an extensive documentary about the German hiphop scene. Watching it was as disturbing as it was informative. Not only could the viewer expose him/herself to the primitive garbage of these types, but also hear the defenses of a number of thugs who said that their 'seemingly' awful, hateful, disgusting, antisemitic, sexist, mysoginist etc. etc. texts were not to be taken seriously, but were only artistic means. They were stilistic elements and structurally part of the genre. They claimed that ‘the artist’ was ‘free’ in his ‘expression’ and that complaints about their texts were a violation of their artistic rights on freedom. Not only was it completely and grotesquely ridiculous that their ‘entertainment’ was supposed to be ‘art’ (the voice-over of the program accepted this and took the defense seriously…. also incredible), but to see them taking-on the airs of ‘independent, inspired, creative artists’, with their hate-filled screaming in the background, was so crazy that from that moment onwards the documentary took-on the nature of a grotesque spoof.

Worried Jewish organisations pointed to the great influence these rappers had, through the internet, on young people. Confronted with the question of responsibility, these crazy types calmly stated that they were not responsible for the wellbeing of their audiences, and that for instance a teacher at a school had real responsibility, they were only making Art.

Of course most of these so-called ‘artists’ had a muslem immigrant background, but being born Germans, they wholeheartedly used the holocaust taboo to rub-in the fantasies of Jews ‘ruling the world’. Perversily, one of these thugs, who had hurled sadistic texts about the holocaust on his videos, explained (with a knowing smile) that he meant the word ‘holocaust’ in its original meaning, from before WW II, when it ‘only’ meant total destruction.

Because these people reach their (wide and young) audiences through the internet and not via a record label, they are free to spread their excremental hate unhindered. But one begins to understand the benefits of some form of censorship when one sees how the notion of ‘freedom’ is perversily being misused. I don’t think public space (including the internet) should offer any such diabolical ‘entertainment’ the possibility to influence gullible minds – and where are the German authorities? You saw an elderly lady of some official German communal organisation studiously and cautiously explore raptexts to find some legal proof of antisemitism in the precise wording of the ‘lyrics’, fully conscious of the danger of undermining an accepted ‘art form’. Why this dull-witted acceptance of ‘artistic freedom’ which is a grave violation of any notion of German, European civilized society? Where is Weimar classicism of civilized intelligence? Why this serious plodding-on through philosophical niceties about ‘art’ and ‘expression’, taking seriously something that belongs in the dustbin, the prison, and the psychiatric instution? Because acting straightforwardly would provoke the fear of being ‘authoritarian’, ‘conservative’ and maybe even ‘fascist’.

Today on the German news: there is a scandal developing in Konstanz, where a theatre play about Hitler involved the distribution of arm-badges with a swastika to audience members; everyone who dared to put it on was allowed to attend the production for free. The director’s idea was to show how easy it were to get people doing things they otherwise would not find acceptable.

Wearing a swastika is strictly illegal in Germany; in this case, the authorities let it pass because it was considered a case of ‘serious art’.

Jewish organisations protested and said that wearing the swastika should not be instrumentalized for artistic reasons.

The whole thing is misdirected, under the cover of ‘artistic expression’ which makes one long for the times of Prince Metternich.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Classical music as symbolism

With his Divan orchestra, Daniel Barenboim shows how equality before a common goal creates cooperation and reconciliation between cultural and political enemy camps. He says, that Israel will only be safe after justice has been done to the Palestinians. Thinking this symbolism through, one arrives at the conclusion that the only solution of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is the creation of a new country in which both groups have equal rights and equal shares in the benefits of Israel's Westernized society. This would mean a secular society run on the rule of law, human rights, individual freedom of both culture and religion, in combination with a strict protection of a safe public space. A new name for this new state would be an appropriate symbol of renewal - Judea?

But an orchestra can only function within a strict discipline of a professional, time-tested tradition, and led by a leader. Only through the application of a functional framework, such reconciliation between enemy groups can develop. Democratic orchestras without conductors inevitably descend into discord and incapacity to reach professional standers - some rare examples excepted.

The brutal reactions in these days by the Israeli army: shooting unarmed protesters against the occupation, further undermines any justification of claims of legitimacy of the Israeli people. The waiting is for new generations who are prepared to get rid of ever-bleeding wounds from the past and turn historical experience into something constructively new and just.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Identity politics and hyperliberalism

"The politics of identity is a postmodern twist on the liberal religion of humanity. The Supreme Being has become an unknown God – a species of human being nowhere encountered in history, which does not need to define itself through family or community, nationality or any religion. Parallels with the new humanity envisioned by the Bolsheviks are obvious."

Thus an interesting article in the Times Literary Review by John Gray. If freedom from traditions go hand in hand by selective deconstruction of identity (exclusively exercised on traditional values, not on minorities), the result is the tyranny of bland conformity, because every individual is different and in the same time, somehow similar. How the human mind creates the very result it set out to overcome: