Monday, May 02, 2005

Orwell's 1984, the Opera, and its' Composer

In a BBC Radio 4 interview, Lorin Maazel carefully dodged Carrie Gracie's pointed questions about whether or not the timeliness of this production was a comment on the UK and the US, but he did make a vociverous point of criticising stateism and especially Political "Correctness". There he took a clear position:

Just the fact that we accept this term demonstrates how far we've gone.
Discussing 1984, he also told the Times (UK):

Were not pointing the finger, saying: See how like today it is. But the political messages will come through, the exercise of power for its own sake that we see all around us. The love story has become the centre: this is opera, after all. I didnt set out to write an anti-opera. But love music is love music and rat music is rat music. Weve created a dreadful world in this opera. Im a pretty tough old bird but after I wrote the Room 101 scene I can tell you I didnt sleep for a couple of nights.
Elsewhere on his own website he gives an example of the pervasiveness of this dumbing down of civilization:

Today I'm with Glenn Dicterow, esteemed concertmaster of the New York Philharmonic. We have just finished two rehearsals of very interesting repertoire: Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto with Mr. Lang Lang, a young man who just turned 20, from mainland China, who plays the piano superbly well, and the Mussorgsky "Night on a Bare Mountain," which used to be called "Bald Mountain." I believe there is just a touch of political correctness here: people are no longer bald, they are "hair-disadvantaged"; mountains are no longer bald, they are "bare."
Speaking quite personally on the 9-11 attacks, he describes a lovely day with his family which would later be shattered. Speaking finally of his children:

But the images of the September 11th tragedy are indelibly tattooed in their memory, the knowledge of man's vulnerable fragility, forever burnt into their bones.

September 10, 2001 was to become their Last Day of Innocence
The BBC and the politically minded patrons of the New York Philharmonic may not pay much attention to you if you aired more of your feelings openly. But then again, unlike the loud leftist writers, Maestro is a man - an adult, unafraid to bear his humanity before others in a way that isn't selfish and solipsistic. In short - the man actually has a point.

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