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This 31 message thread spans 3 pages: [1]  2   3  > >  
  National heritage vs Political Correctness  Pete12b at 19:42 on 01 June 2008
 

Is political correctness stifling our creativity? Looking at some threads about the sheng etc - the amount of people that were outraged was ridiculous. In the UK political correctness is out of control - I appreciate good manners but I think we are losing our identity. What do you think? speak your mind.

Who REALLY thinks we are a cultural melting pot?!?

  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  Misuc at 18:04 on 02 June 2008
 

This example of political wrongness is a particularly odd piece of dangerous nasty backward ignorant vulgar stupidity coming from someone whose 'national heritage' is a melting pot of Celtic, Angle, Saxon, Roman, Dane, Viking, Norman, French etc. and whose 'original' culture produced Stonehenge and other fascinating curiosities which were significant 4000 years ago but are now almost totally irrelevant - beneath the ruins of other alien cultures imposed on the Brits which stemmed from ancient Palestine (Christianity) via the ancient Greek empire (Turkey + Middle East etc.) -brought to us by slaughter, plunder and brutality: the Roman and other conquests.

If we tried to separate out the pure national culture away from the melting pot we'd have to go back over 4000 years, and even then we could not be sure. Where did those people come from anyway? How could you separate out what was theirs and what borrowed from the influences of trade and migration? Is there anybody who would like to make music their way? Is there anybody with any idea of what their music sounded like? I do have a recording of an ancient stone age bone flute and also of a Viking Horn. Could be quite fun. What clothes should we wear? Would we be allowed to camp where we wished or would the police raid and break up our campsites as they have been doing to other travellers?

  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  Pete12b at 23:40 on 02 June 2008
 

Get a grip!! I'm talking about Sterndale Bennett, Elgar, Stanford, Parry, Tippett, McCleod, Finzi, Britten, Walker, Searle, Walton, Arnold, Cooke, Nyman, Barry, Greene et al. I do know that we were invaded - and have done since I was 5 - I'm talking about nationalistic music TODAY. Are we retaining it? What is our nationalistic style? Everyone else has one - even today.

As for the list of insults "melting pot of Celtic, Angle, Saxon, Roman, Dane, Viking, Norman, French etc" Norman IS french; and Normandy was Celtic (the capital being - as we all know was- Bezier.) As for your childish assumptions, my family tree is far removed from every one of the envious cultures on the list - however I do reside in England and have always been drawn to the accuracy of the British nationalistic composers. Whilst Eastern Europeans, the Franks, Teutonic states and the Spaniards still retain composers writing within the remit of their national style, I feel England and the UK is not.

In my original post I said "I appreciate good manners but I think we are losing our identity." I merely asked for OPINION which you clearly couldn't give. And while I'm here - you stated Mahler s music was Jewish - Maybe in his earlier life but if you do your research you'll find he was a catholic with pagan tendencies once he knew what was what. I'm being petty now! What is our nationalistic style?





  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  ruska02 at 12:42 on 03 June 2008
 

Dear PETE please do not loose time arguing with people who are really "ignoranti" because the do not know things. Full stop. I think that your point is right. UK needs to find a strong line to support and follow and pass on and on. I think you could forexample gather around Benjiamin who is in a golden Period and is gaining European Recognition at an higher level in Lucerne and Milan/Turin MITO Festival. Anyway dont also be so sure other Nations have their culture heritage so well kept. I think that is why most of them have the Culture Institutes that help so much us Festival and Composers to travel and know one the other. Because the problem that "someone"
does not get here is that one must face the challenge of comparing his work with the one of the others but must not melt with anybody otherwise he looses his roots and style ...if he has any worth fighting for...

Roberto composer

  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  Misuc at 13:27 on 03 June 2008
 

As was obvious in advance, your reply shows that you are probably incapable of understanding the point. Let me try to explain: by taking your unspecified assumptions (prejudices) and continuing your line of argument to its logical conclusion, I was trying to show that it didn’t make sense.

Your search for a ‘pure’ ‘unmelted’ culture could never work. It is impossible, even in principle. There never was and never could be such a thing. Everything has always been mixed up. Your statement: “I do know that we were invaded” betrays your lak of understanding. “We” are the cultural heirs of the invaders more than of the invaded (and the invaded were once the invaders anyway).

Culture always has been and always will be a melting pot. The Britons were Celts, but, in fighting the (Celtish) Picts and Scots they got help from the (Teutonic) Jutes who, together with Angles and Saxons conquered a large part of the territory. Some of the Britons fled to what became Brittany. The Normans (= ‘Norsemen’) were of course of Viking (Teutonic) origin. What determined which ‘culture’ was destined to be 'ours' was largely the respective size of the fortresses of each horde. Biologically, research now suggests that all present day humans of all ‘races’ can possibly be traced to a common ancestor as recently as 3000 years ago!

I realize that your talk of ‘political correctness’, nationalism etc. was not meant to be treated as a serious theory. You thought you were ‘just’ talking about music and could just sort of throw in the rightwing politics where it wouldn’t be noticed. But in the whole of your long list of mostly second- and lower-rate composers, there is not one who lives up to your assertions about the virtues of being 'Nationalistic'.

Let’s go through them one by one:

Sterndale Bennett, for example, was evidently a gifted young man, discovered by Mendelssohn (a foreigner) and lured abroad, gradually ruined upon his return – so is the accepted opinion – precisely by narrow British parochialism, due in part to the Imperial bureaucratic civil servant status of academic staff at the Royal schools of music.

Elgar, though of lower middle class origins, was indeed an extreme British Imperialist and snob – so much so that he resigned from the Carlton club in protest at their allowing in future Labour Party renegade prime minister: Ramsey McDonald. But musically he owed more to Brahms than to anything nearer ‘home’, all that was British about his work was the pompous inconsequentiality (added to a certain home-grown personal passive self-pity).

Similarly Stanford’s Irishness and Parry’s Welshness hardly even added local colour to this same cultural lameness (perhaps the cultural inheritance of a class which had inured itself in advance to any vital influence from the political struggles that beset Europe and forced its intellectuals to think things through).

Tippett, on the other hand – probably the best of the composers on the list – was a conscious internationalist, a member of the International Trotskyist ‘Revolutionary Communist Party’ (although somewhat scoffed at by them for his alleged lack of courage and determination). He was, of course, inspired by real English music –folk music Elizabethan music etc. which had in its time expressed a living culture, but he was also inspired e.g. by Corelli and the Italian Baroque and much else. Neither was even he immune from the English wasting sickness.

Who’s McCleod?

Shall I really go on?

Finzi (from an Italian Jewish family) belongs to the same soppy English tradition.

Britten – now his is an interesting and not untypical case: full of original inspirations realised without inner dynamism and almost invariably ruined by a pervasive superciliousness even in his attempts at profundity. The best of his ideas function like jokes: once you have ‘seen’ them they lose their potency.

Walker (Who ?).

Humphrey Searle is in a completely different category, profoundly at odds with this ‘English’ ‘Tradition’. (When I was very young, he gave me some lessons and I got to know him quite well): a true modernist – expressionist: friend of Adorno and student of Webern, severely traumatized by his experience as an Intelligence Officer working with the resistance in World War II. The performance I heard of his setting of part of Joyce’s ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ (“Riverrun”) gave me an emotional fever I have never shaken off.

Who else? Is ‘Barry’ Gerald? An interesting off-beat Irish composer, also with nothing in common with these supposed Nationalistic composers (but an enthusiast for Handel). Nyman? Nyman? Do you mean Alfred Neimann, quite an original figure… No. I suppose you do mean the unspeakable non-composer, the amazingly talentless Michael…..

What on earth are you trying to tell us? That you like these composers? OK. Fair enough, you are entitled to. What has this got to do with political correctness or wrongness? Why should it make us Nationalistic?

I suspect that what you are calling for is a restored musical Nationalism (which is a different thing). But nationalism in music was only real when it was real in life: when there was a living local culture, which was struggling for recognition, when it was connected with a struggle for national independence or social liberation. The right to speak one’s own language, bake one’s own bread, sing your own songs, chose your own government etc. were real issues in 19th century Italy, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and – in a sense – in Russia: hence Verdi, Liszt and then Mussorgsky, Janacek, Bartok etc. In Scotland these were issues in the 18th century and found, naturally, a progressive, internationalist expression, but it is curious that at the time when there was a thorough-going national cultural revolution in Ireland (19th- 20th century) this was reflected only dimly in the works of composers like McCann, Moeran and Bax. What would an Irish Janacek have sounded like? In England, apart from Vaughan Williams, Delius and Holst you did have the startlingly imaginative Rutland Boughton. But it didn’t really work, did it? i mean the whole thing: the grossly mis-named "English Musical Renaissance" And it’s easy to see why.



  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  Misuc at 14:01 on 03 June 2008
 

How typical that Roberto should come in here to pick out for special praise from the many original genuinely great talents among British composers, e.g. Benedict Mason or James Dillon, the one who is the most repulsive self-important condescending of half-brained arrogant self-seeking self-satisfied snobs known in the whole corrupt business!

  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  ruska02 at 15:16 on 03 June 2008
 

"the one who is the most repulsive self-important condescending of half-brained arrogant self-seeking self-satisfied snobs known in the whole corrupt business!"

...your lines speak for themselves...is it time that I leave room to my english friends here..

ciao ciao



  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  Pete12b at 00:40 on 04 June 2008
 

Misuc, thank you for your regurgitation of facts – although massively irrelevant to my original point it shows you can read. Well done. And maybe even read books. However – can you listen to the MUSIC? To call Stanford and Parry culturally lame is ignorance beyond belief. On the subject of identity it was these two plus I suppose Ireland that showed the PEOPLE through their MUSIC the importance of community, of hope, of faith, of unity. If we look too deep into a question we can often miss the basics.

To call Elgar second rate starts to shape how you clearly think about MUSIC, but then you serve this about Britten: “The best of his ideas function like jokes: once you have ‘seen’ them they lose their potency.” Why not go all the way and say “Shakespeare’s plays are great once but then you know the plot”

Elgar, Finzi, Britten, Walton, Vaughan Williams, Stanford, Parry, Nyman..

… Is it their MUSIC? Is it the adulation they get? Is it the success they achieve? Is it their lack of mathematics? Is it their politics? Is it the fact that you can’t quantify their thought process? Or is it their breathtaking musicality that scares you?

Have you actually LISTENED to these composers?!! Let me guess – you think John Williams, Taverner, James Horner, Karl Jenkins are all third rate? That “talentless” composer Michael Nyman – maybe YOU are right and 7 million of us are wrong. Could you be that arrogant? Rationally I don’t think you could.

Melting pot:
Educationalists lead us to believe that a society made up of African, Caribbean, Indian, Pakistani, Jewish, Dutch etc would result in a MUSICAL style fusing these cultures together. I don’t think so. I think we should focus on working out what our English identity is – musically. Now – not 4000 years ago.

Are we REALLY a melting pot as so many suppose? Or do we pay just enough lip service so as not to appear “racist”? England is a fantastic country with so much to celebrate – I feel personally that we are losing our Englishness whilst other cultures who reside here retain theirs. A revival of English nationalistic music would be super. Even a day celebrating our musicality would be good.


This isn't political its about the MUSIC. Misuc - listen, listen, listen, listen, listen. a composer writes when the poet runs out of words - Mahler (I think)

  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  Pete12b at 00:53 on 04 June 2008
 

Apologies:

Political Correctness - it is advised in schools that the origin of Blues and Jazz should omit the slave trade.
The musical developments of the 10th and 11th century need not mention the crusades.
all african or black music to be cited as "Afro-american."
Spirituals and work songs should now be called called "Folk Songs from the Afro-american influence".
Music history should be taught with equal balance of Indian, African, and Western.
England's main traditional music is the Sea Shanty.
Changes in the nursery rhymes: Humpty dumpty, baa baa black Sheep, Jack Horner, Jack and Jill(now banned in several LEAs)




  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  Misuc at 15:43 on 04 June 2008
 

Mendelssohn said "music is a language too precise for words". Music reveals more about the composer than he can say himself. Go by a composer’s political standpoint and you will be deceived.

That is why I go by the music alone, which I get to by listening, listening, listening. (Listening needs two ears and something in between.)

It is why I find your extremist political propaganda not only nasty but irrelevant. Speak about whatever music you do happen to like. But what do all your tin-eared slogans about ‘political correctness’, ‘national heritage’ ‘cultural melting pots’, the history syllabus etc. have to do with the music? And how can they stifle or encourage creativity or lose you or help you regain your 'identity'?. And what have all those cosy meaningless sermonizing cliches about “the PEOPLE through their MUSIC the importance of community, of hope, of faith, of unity.” got to do with our music? They sound like Bin Laden sound-bytes. They might get you your 1000 virgins, or whatever your Heaven guarantees you, but they don't do much for us.

And how do you “think we should focus on working out what our English identity is – musically”? If you’ve got to work out what it is, any suggestions where to begin? Should we write on red, white and blue music paper? Play ‘God save the Queen’ before every concert? Or put it into our scores? Go around the countryside recording old land-labourer’s ditties? (That might once have been a genuine cultural service, but could not nowadays give you, even if you were very lucky, more than one or two Polish songs amid a mass of mp3s.).

By the way your stories about local authorities banning nursery rhymes were long ago revealed to be malicious lies planted in some willing newspapers by known members of the Fascist ‘British National Party’. This is a documented fact. Please leave that all out. Listen, listen and listen and then see if you can find something to say about the music.



  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  Ben Mueller-Heaslip at 22:02 on 06 June 2008
 

Of course I'd agree with your first reaction, Misuc, if you'd ever learn the decency to put it concisely. Try: "Pete, what is this 'Englishness' thing? Are you saying that nationalism is an inherently valuable quality in music? How can that be anything other than quaintly right-wing?"

Whether you agree with the answer or not - and, yes, I do think there's a subtle hint in the original question which suggests that neither you nor I would agree with the subsequent answer (which I'd love to hear Pete address because it's too very easy to not make yourself clear on a forum like this one) - you've got to realize that coming out with the essay-factoids completely ruined an excellent opportunity to say something meaningful about an issue you've obviously considered enough to care about.

You started out by taking a preemptive swing at what you saw as a lightly-veiled attack on your cultural values and you've converted it to your personal crusade against Michael Nyman. You've gone from socially-progressive to artistically elitist without bothering to touch base along the way. Of course there's no natural barrier between these two concepts but, I suggest, the connection is a bit fuzzy:

It doesn't make sense that one should care much more about the gratification of publishing quasi-essays on this miniscule forum than one cares about addressing an issue (*an issue which you're obviously both capable of and care about addressing*) that might have an impact on the people who happen to be reading this.

Pete - if you care to answer the question I've put up for you in this I'd appreciate it. Misuc - if you'd let him?

  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  Ben Mueller-Heaslip at 22:33 on 06 June 2008
 

Political Correctness - it is advised in schools that the origin of Blues and Jazz should omit the slave trade.

Pete - I'm from Canada so this is foreign garbage. How is this possible??

The musical developments of the 10th and 11th century need not mention the crusades.

Ok. But if I believe this it largely suppresses the arabs - or am I wrong? Misuc will tell me...

all african or black music to be cited as "Afro-american."

Nah. There's no way you get away with that (unless you fall for Misuc's rubbish that this isn't music):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drBqdyOioIs

That's distinctly English. Or are you just talking about "real" (e.g. "fake") music?

Spirituals and work songs should now be called called "Folk Songs from the Afro-american influence".
Music history should be taught with equal balance of Indian, African, and Western.

If you send me some references, I'll be convinced. If not, I think this is manipulative rubbish.

England's main traditional music is the Sea Shanty.

For or against?

Changes in the nursery rhymes: Humpty dumpty, baa baa black Sheep, Jack Horner, Jack and Jill(now banned in several LEAs)

That's just weird. You English are strange. Do your really have 'official' nursery rhymes? That's too unbelievable. I can't believe that - somebody from England's got to comment on this pont. I can't.

  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  Ben Mueller-Heaslip at 22:36 on 06 June 2008
 

That's commentary. The question I'd like to hear a real answer to is still:

"Pete, what is this 'Englishness' thing? Are you saying that nationalism is an inherently valuable quality in music? How can that be anything other than quaintly right-wing?"

and toss in Misuc's "isn't nationalistic music trite?" bit too, if you'd like.

And you can throw something back too. I don't see this as a black and white issue. No pun. This is actually a serious debate that needs some real input... as opposed to the idiotic way it's been treated so for.

  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  Misuc at 23:19 on 06 June 2008
 

Hello bmh. It's you again. Thanks for your "support".

I don't think you have been fair in your comments. I have no interest at all in listing and attacking or otherwise judging these composers. If I wanted to 'have a go' at michael nyman I would do it in a much more intelligent and thorough way. Pete challenged me to talk about the music and prove I listened, so I needed to show him that i was listening.

The thread started because, as I see it, he was mis-using a forum about composition to spout quasi-racist propaganda. The trouble is that it is possible that he didn't even realise that he was doing so, because he is so befuddled by his 'ideology'. All that stuff about ancient Britons etc. was simply to show the inevitable confusion that arises as soon as you talk in terms of 'englishness' etc.

Any answer he gives now will have to face up to this confusion. But only because I have made this point. Perhaps that is why he has not answered so far.

There is nothing wrong in your using simple short phrases that he might think he understands - instead of worked-out thoughts which he knows he can't - in order to repeat the questions which I asked him already, But it does not present you in a good light when people see you sniping and sneering at somebody who has actually thought these things through a little more.

Thanks for your advice about having an effect on people, I haven't found that one of my worst problems so far! And as for your edicts about what belongs on this site, you accused me of not daring to put up my music. You shamed me into putting up bad - actually dire - recordings of what I could retrieve. What do you think of it? If you seriously gave some attention to this sort of question then you would show that you at least got Pete's and my point that it is the music that counts. After all there have been great composers with terrible politics (not many, but some) and plenty of terrible composers with OK political attitudes.

As for your snipe about letting Pete reply, how could I stop him, you or anyone else from replying if they had anything worth saying? Presumably what you are objecting to is being right. There is no reply to that.



  Re: National heritage vs Political Correctness  Ben Mueller-Heaslip at 23:40 on 06 June 2008
 

Misuc: I don't snipe.

It's a question of volume vs. reception: that's the issue I'd like you to think about. And I'd like you to think about this because I believe that your words are important.

This is more important than just coming off as 'Being Smart' - which is really the sum of what you're doing.

One can take every letter of every sentence you write and make it meaningful, influential, and valuable. I wonder why you don't do that yourself -- Instead you seem to prefer to put a thick damp towel on your own words.

Please: try to understand the effect of your communications. You had a point you wanted to make. You made a mess of it. So please get the point. Learn the grace to step back and think about what you're trying to achieve before you but your foot in your mouth and achieve the opposite.

I haven't got the files you made available for your music yet. If you can write me a direct email through my profile I'd like to hear them.


This 31 message thread spans 3 pages: [1]  2   3  > >