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comment by coffeesp00ns
coffeesp00ns  ·  1256 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What Do We Do With The Art of Monstrous Men?

It's funny you bring up Amadeus for a couple of reasons.

1.) It's so grossly inaccurate to the realities of Mozart, Constanze, and Salieri's situation that it's laughable. Mozart sent his kids to Salieri for music lessons because of the level of respect he had for him, and the biggest reason Mozart had so much monetary trouble was he was trying to be an independent contractor in a world of patronage, and he was trying to do it about 10 years too early. He was ahead of his time, in that sense. Beethoven did the same thing later and managed success because the political situation had changed, and people like Mozart had broken down some barriers.

Also it's interesting to note that we probably wouldn't know much of Mozart's music if it wasn't for the efforts of his wife after his death.

2.) As a classical musician, you end up having to face this question of "how do we deal with the art of monsters?" on the daily, whether because of the way life was at the time (in terms of J.S. Bach's likely opinions of jewish people, being a staunch Lutheran), or because they were active in early Nazism and active antisemitism (Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss). Some people like Wagner were just awful people, even in the context of their own time.

But they created beautiful art. So what do we do? For the most part, we play it anyways and do our best to forget the ugly parts of the composers, and we're luck enough to be able to do so because most of the time they weren't writing about their ugly parts. We watch and listen to the Ring Cycle, and enjoy it, and do our best not to think about the fact that Wagner was writing it as a way to push forward and encourage germanic supremacy, and to counter ideas of Classical (Greek and roman mythology) superiority, and to create a "pure" german opera without the antiquated Italian trappings and traditions.

I don't know how to, or if it is possible to bring that mindset to the current situation. For one thing, western classical musicians have the luxury of chronological distance, and we don't have that here.

kleinbl00  ·  1256 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I realized yesterday that Mozart was the Justin Bieber of Hapsburg Austria. He was a child prodigy with a lot of influences around him that had a rough time transitioning from the carnival sideshow his father made of him into a respected member of the existing power structure. His music was poppy in the extreme. He tried to make it without assimilating into the business and it ground him into fertilizer.

The monsters of classical music are all dead'n'buried. In addition to the chronological distance, it allows us to consider the problem academic. Wagner was 50 years dead by the time the Reichstag burned; Jeffrey Tambor is reading the exact same press about Jeffrey Tambor as the rest of us. Even the recent dead generally get a pass because the story is written. A living offender? He could offend again. Or he could redeem himself. We don't know so we're that much less comfortable.