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British Empire’s University of Cambridge Demands ‘Time To Cancel Beethoven’

Dec. 27, 2020 (EIRNS)—Varsity, an independent magazine for the University of Cambridge in the U.K., publishing since 1947, ran an article Saturday titled, “Is It Time To Cancel Beethoven?” by one James Mitchell. It begins by noting that since Beethoven concerts are a “guaranteed ticket-seller and donor pleaser, he keeps reappearing in concert programs to the exclusion of other, more diverse composers.” The only way to end this terribly unfair practice, he says, is for “a mass cultural boycott (i.e. ‘cancelling’) of composers like Beethoven.”

He points to the recent Vox article “describing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony as ‘a reminder of classical music’s history of exclusion and elitism’ ” and the “feminist musicologist Susan McClary” who “compared the recapitulation in his Ninth Symphony to ‘the throttling murderous rage of a rapist incapable of attaining release.’ ”

The root of the problem is German nationalism and the Nazis, he proposes:

“During the 19th century, rising nationalism in Germany saw an increased focus on Germanic cultural heroes such as Martin Luther, J.S. Bach and of course Beethoven. Beethoven’s 100th birthday anniversary in 1870 saw numerous boasts about German musical superiority, such as from composer and professional buttmunch Richard Wagner. These narratives only intensified in the 20th century, particularly in the Third Reich.”

This has created the terribly unfair fact that Beethoven was

“the most performed composer in America in 2019-20, with over double the number of performances of Mozart (the second most performed).... In the neo-liberal world, where audiences prefer the familiar, such attitudes to programming are unlikely to change unless there is a mass cultural boycott (i.e. ‘cancelling’) of composers like Beethoven.”

Together with Green Finance, the Brits could well wipe out both the economy and aesthetic education. There is a lot of work to be done by the Schiller Institute.

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