Music and its patrons

Golfer is listening to this French composer Ravel’s sonatine, trying to decide if he wants to learn. It’s too modern and watery for my taste; too dreamy. I shall keep that to myself, don’t let me ignorance affect you.

Thanks to youtube, nowadays Golfer would see a piece being played by few pianists before making a decision as to learn it or not.

Valery Gergiev is in the news a lot lately, who’s principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, and principal guest conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, who made it his mission to restore the works of great Russian composers that under Soviet rule. Hmmmmm..
I’m thinking, the modern civilization is based on western culture – too bad, China lost out on the lead – so we have no sophisticated composers to show for. A Chinese lady Zhang Xian is the conductor with NY Phil but she conducts the western masters’ works. I’d love to hear the Butterfly Lovers and the Yellow River soon at Lincoln Center, not just in Beijing or Shanghai – the only two concertos China has, I think. Ok, let me get it right: the only two concertos by Chinese composer that Irene likes.

And I’m also thinking the heavy political overtones with Valery Gergiev. Musicians have patrons who love and support art. Do politicians qualify as patrons? In a free market, it is the art of the conductor that ultimately decides if he or she is successful. I wouldn’t worry too much about his political point of view. I just feel sorry for China that doesn’t have great composers.

Gergiev’s position as a Russian conductor of international stature requires a tricky geopolitical straddle, with one leg planted firmly in the motherland and the other extending to the West.
Gergiev and Putin have been friends since 1992, when Gergiev was already an internationally famous conductor and the artistic director of St. Petersburg’s Kirov Theater and Putin was merely the first deputy mayor of the city.
“I don’t know of any case in musical history, except maybe for Wagner and mad King Ludwig of Bavaria, where a musician has been that close to a powerful ruler,” Richard Morrison, the chief classical music critic of The Times of London, told me (the author Arthur Lubow).

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