Contradiction to the Gergiev-aspects of Moritz‘ last blog

First: I have to apologize me for my bad english, but I have to choose this way in reason of Moritz‘ last posting in english.


I think, you argue too much at the edge of relativising blurring, dear Moritz. Ok, there is a problem that „the people“ gasp for political statements of their stars, from authors to musicians. And often it is trivial what this stars are saying, one can ignore it. In the case of classical musicians it is more subtle. Classical music has to be „holy“, „peacefully“, „breaking human borders“, etc. And as inversion of these arguments this music executing artists share also these attributions. You say rightly that this is a wrong thing. But I disagree in the special case of Gergiev. Because with his little signature under the letter which supports the russian government’s Ukraine- and Crimea-policy he is as immense famous russian artist an important piece of jigsaw in the authentication of exactly this policy. With his triumph-concert after the south-ossetian conflict in 2008 in the reconquered capital Zchinwali, his pro-Putin-spots to the last presidential elections with very stupid statements as that he is now again proud to show his russian passport if he travels for example to the USA compared to the Jelzin-era – how nice in contrast to this the statement to the naked breast of Putin by Netrebko, his entanglements in the case of his (non-)statements to the russian Anti-Gay-Propaganda law he promoted or tried to defense the Putin-regime as a light-fully person which stands as a classical musician for the above-mentioned „worths“ of classical music. In this little function he is in the end a big grafting-person to this policy. And if you follow the discussion around his public role enough people reduce him to this and excuse every next painfulness of this conductor.

He is just not Justin Timberlake, a pure entertainment-musician which earns his money mainly without direct public subsidies. In contrast to Timberlake Valery Gergiev becomes his public incomes, a few millions, in the way of public subsidies, if I forget for the moment his turkey-enterprise, most likely an old privatized „people-owning kolchose“. So, Gergiev is by payment a public person and also by his active political-acting what for example distinguishes Netrebko from his official role. And so the question is more than justified, if he should be the next chief-conductor of the city of Munich. This city binds oneself on the clear acceptance of for ex. sexual orientations and the whole staff to the acceptance of the liberal-democratic basic order, specially the representatives as Gergiev would be as the musical-chief of the city’s philharmonic orchestra.

Not to forget the role of Munich as a partner-city of the ukrainian capital Kiev, which lost by incident the Crimea by offensive invasion as reason of this policy which Gergiev encourages. He did not expessly confirm his signature under this letter, but he gave an interview with Argumenty and Fakty where he repeated the thesis of this letter. Anyway, if this would be only a first or little second remarkable verbal faux pas I would not have a big problem with him as planned-chief-conductor. But all his political notices of appearance are building a consistent row of painfullness so that I have my biggest doubts if he his convenient for this job in this city. On the other hand do I fear that the city has not the courage to dismiss him comparable to the mini-sanctions of the EU against Russia in fear of economic problems. But compared to the economy Munich is not depending of this person.

There are so much really suitable young conductors, also Russians, which act political more careful, so that there remains only the problem how to solve financially advantageous the contract through the city. He could be always a guest-conductor as all the years before. But he must not be the musical main-symbol for a modern, open music-Munich. Time changed, and the era of the changed Nazis as Karajan or all the others is for godssake over. So it is a big mistake to take these persons as model for the reflection and excuse of the „whole Gergiev-role“. This is my opinion. But I do not understand why I as a gay man have to understand the problems-sweeping under the mat. I repeat: let him be a guest. And if we listen that he is oppressed by the russian secret service for his actings in 2008, etc., than he could be a chief. Or if he finds an excuse and obligation to neglect in future this acting on the whole globe, than we could again start a discussion about his role as a future chief-conductor. Under the actual visible conditions: absolutly NO! Or should we be the traitors of our own view on liberty?

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Eine Antwort

  1. @Alexander: I think you misunderstood my article a little – it was neither a defense of Gergiev (whose views I criticize as well) nor a „carte blanche“ for him. It was directed at press and audience: to ignore what people like him (and many, many others) say and to not make a big scandal out of it (it only gives them MORE publicity), to not give these people any kind of platform.
    That they may be criticized for what they say – by all means yes! But there is a difference between voicing an opinion or actively promoting an opinion. I admit that Gergiev is really a border case here.