Sunday, August 29, 2004

Conference of the Birds


Spent much of this holiday weekend at a performance of all Shostakovich’s 24 Preludes and Fugues. The Russian pianist Elizaveta Kopelman played them magnificently, and the venue was the beautiful St Mary’s Church in Suffolk, a part of the world that time, but fortunately not good music has passed by.


This has been a year of cycles, the Tchaikovsky Quartets in January, a wonderful cycle of the Beethoven Quartets by the Borodins in March, the Ring at Longborough, and now the Shostakovich Preludes and Fugues. It has also been a year for music in churches, most memorably a Rachmaninov Vespers in St Peter’s Mancroft in Norwich.


But what has this to do with birds? An earlier posting talked about wanting to recall every fork and path that led me to a masterpiece such as the 24 Preludes and Fugues. Well I can recall the path precisely. I was staying in an old house by a river after one of the not so good periods coming back from the worst ever visit of the black dog, and trying to sort out the woefull IT systems of a book distributor. I was looking out of the bathroom window as I shaved one morning, and there outside on the riverbank was a heron (or was it a kingfisher? - birds are not one of strong points). And on Radio 3 was a fugue that clearly wasn’t Bach, but was equally clearly a miracle. That moment of serendipity led me to Tatyana Nikolayeva’s classic first recording , and the thread led me to a Suffolk church this weekend.

The divine inspiration of Shostakovich’s music, and the bird thread leads me back to the writings of Bernard Levin. In his book Conducted Tour (out of print, but available from second hand dealers - highly recommended) he recounts the ancient Persian poem that became Peter Brook’s Conference of the Birds....

The birds go to seek their mysterious king, the Simorg. Their journey is beset by terrible hardship, amid which some die, some desert, some turn back, some lose heart. When the survivors reach their goal, it is to learn the world’s most profound and vital truth. They are told that they have carried the Simorg with them all the time, and they realise that the treasures which we believe lies across cruel wastes, boundless oceans, towering mountains and dreadful valleys really lies within our own hearts.

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Saturday, August 28, 2004

Where is the manager?

Example

Where am I? What does it mean to say: the world?...
Who tricked me into this whole thing and leaves me standing here?...
Why was I not asked about it, why was I not informed of the rules and regulations but just thrust into the ranks as if I had been bought from a peddling shanghaier of human beings?
How did I get in this big enterprise called actuality?
Is there no manager?
To whom should I make my complaint?

From Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard

Friday, August 27, 2004

And so to Wagner.....


And that brings us to the problem of Wagner, whose epic musical journys must form part of An Overgrown Path . Many writers far better qualified and more talented than me have written about him, and there is very little left to be said. All I can add is that two of the most profoundly moving experiences I have had in a theatre occurred in the last twelve months, and they were both while under the spell of Richard Wagner.

Last December it was that most profoundly disturbing of his works, Parsifal. I challenge any balanced person to explain the reason why (supposedly) civilised and educated people like me remain infatuated by this opera, given the horrendous baggage it brings with it. But Anthony Negus' reading with the Welsh National Opera left me in doubt that this is one of the most important, and probably the most disturbing, works of music theatre.

In July I went to Longborough Opera to see their abreviated Ring. I must say I went a sceptic about this particular production. Just two hours of Siegreid, and two and a half hours of Gottedamerung with no Rhine Journey or Funeral March and a band of just twenty-three players including an electronic keyboard seemed to risk undermining this most monumental of operatic experiences, even if hands as talented as Jonathan Dove had performed the surgery. But how I lacked faith. The Gods smiled metaphorically, if not actually, on the balmy August evenings. Sir Donald McIntyre as Wotan, the young Jenny Miller as Brunnhilde, and above all the ubiquitous Anthony Negus made this a towering, as oppossed to truncated experience. The last scene of Gottadamerung left me as moved as any production I have seen. Word is that Longborough are going to offer a full length Ring in 2006 with Sir Donald McIntyre involved in the preparation as well as performances. Be there!

My posting on Wagner cannot end without a mention of that peerless Wagnerian Bernard Levin, who sadly died last week. Tragically for one so eloquent Levin died suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Fascinating work using music as a therapy for this disease is being done, particularly by Paul Robertson who was previously leader of the Medici Quartet, see his fascinating and illuminating web site Music, Mind & Spirit

Bernard Levin was a master of the English language, and one of our greatest journalists. He once said the last work he wanted to hear before he died was Die Meistersingers von Nuremberg. I do hope he was granted that wish.

The Road Less Travelled

Example
Road at Chantilly by Paul Cezanne


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I
-- I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Robert Frost on his own poetry:
"One stanza of 'The Road Not Taken' was written while I was sitting on a sofa in the middle of England: Was found three or four years later, and I couldn't bear not to finish it. I wasn't thinking about myself there, but about a friend who had gone off to war, a person who, whichever road he went, would be sorry he didn't go the other. He was hard on himself that way."
Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, 23 Aug. 1953

With acknowlegements to Classic Poetry Pages- visit and Bookmark!

Serendipity and Collaborative Filtering


So we start coming to the real question - what is this site really about?

Trying to describe it for some blog listings set my mind going along the following paths.

I've been interested, used, and worked on the peripheries of Collaborative Filtering. Amazon.com/co.uk's Recommendations are both maddening and very useful, and I have to say I've bought or borrowed from the library many recommendations. Most of my knowledge of, and passion for classical music has come from the serendipity of switching on BBC's Radio 3 (before it was dumbed-down to the commercial benchmark), hearing a piece, and following that thread onwards. Like many I came to Mahler through the serendipidity of Visconti's Death in Venice in the early-70's, and the fact that the Mahlerian style was digestible to a graduate who had been living with the Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and the Moody Blues for a few years. That's why I'm interested in musicplasma.com which I mentioned in an early post, it offers spontaneous links from one musicain to another.

On An Overgrown Path is an alternative to Collaborative Filtering. It is subjective, personal and non-scientific, but leads to the same destination of flagging up a piece of music, writing, or an event that the reader may not otherwise have encountered. The site will really work if it triggers postings that open up Overgrown Paths from some of my postings.

As I type Tallis' O Salutaris Hostia is playing. Why Tallis? Why the Elizabethan composers? Why are Shostakovich's symphonies a blind spot for me? Why do I need to hear a Bach fugue every day, but could live the rest of my life without hearing another Prokofiev Symphony? Why does John Fowles' The Magus still moves me? Why am I still stuck in 'rites of passage fiction? Coming to that why does Stravinsky's Rite of Spring mean less to me than an Elgar symphony?. My dream is to be able to work back from that CD and produce a map of every thread that led me to play it, every piece of music on route, and most importantly every fork that I took to reach it, and equally importantly the forks that I didn't take......

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both

I selfishly think that recreating even parts of that route may lead readers to similar delights and discoveries to those that fill my days with sunshine.

That is what On An Overgrown Path is about.

Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

Specks in the world.....

Example

When I think of God, I think of the earth as a very small thing. Then I think of myself as hardly a speck. Then I see there is no use for this tiny dot to spend its small life doing things for itself. It might as well spend its tiny amount of time making the less fortunate specks in the world enjoy them selves.

A 14 year old Joen Baez writing in her autobiography And a Voice to Sing - recommended

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Stradivarius and the making of genius

Connecting the abstract and the everyday is a challenge. Have started reading Toby Faber's book Stradivarius

Example

The extraordinary thing is the violins that Amati, Stradivarius and others made in 17th & 18th Century Italy have never been equalled, yet alone bettered for sound quality. No computer simulation, no CAD programmes, but we can't get anywhere near them for beauty of sound, or functional excellence.

Example

Antonio Stradivarius was a genius, and he had a thirst for the absoute. A thirst for another world, for truth and beauty - see how the overgrown path connects to the Mystery of the Monks thread above?

In his book Wired Life Charles Jonscher describes how that the world's best computer software cannot derive from a photograph of a room a simple description of its contents; chairs, tables, pets, people. And even when software does manage to acquire this apparantely simple ability...it will still have no idea of the significance of the presence of the objects.

Stradivarius understood the significance of the position of the bass bar and sound post, the shape of the f holes, and the importance of the formulation of the varnish in determining the final sound. Why cannot a computer do the same thing? What was the extra dimension that allowed Stradivarius and his contemoraries in Cremona to achieve the absolute? Surely the question answers itself? If not please put a posting on this blog with details of a computer designed violin that matches the Viotti violin or Davidov cello.

I need to get back to work now. And anyway this is all starting to sound like a Confirmation class again. Let's remember that divine inspiration needs to be matched by physical hard work..

Tis God gives skill, but not without men's hands:
He could not make Antonio Stradivari's violins without Antonio

George Eliot






Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The real world:

We need to get back in touch with the real world a bit don't we? Yesterday afternoon I visited a Residential Home for disabled folk. The residents seemd to be a mix of both degenerative and injury related conditions. The Resident Manager, one of those folks who just leaves you speechless with their positive and irony free approach, had just had an internet connection installed. Wants a course for residents on using the internet. Build a small goal oriented project (note how the jargon creeps in) on the fly. The residents have a Japanese pal who worked at the home, and has now moved back to Japan. Suggest sessions creating an email to him, including some photos. Great reception from the manager, first session next week.
Find it difficult to pitch my attitude with projects like this. Am I really doing it because I want to help? Am I doing it because I think it is the socially right thing to do? Am I doing it because it is a slightly more subtle ego trip than upgrading to this year's model BMW ?
Example
Which is where the thread links up to the post above (What purpose do monks serve?) . Perhaps I should have the confidence to admit that a project like this (and all our actions?) serve no purpose. That is one big step to take, the bigger (and even more difficult one) one is to accept that it serves a person. Maybe the Overgrown Path will lead there, maybe not.

What purpose do monks serve?

How many times do we hear the question? Well, perhaps we should just have the confidence to say: they serve no purpose. Not even that of hoarding the treasures of civilisation. They have never really thought about it. They recognise that they are removed from the worries of this world. Monks serve no purpose. They serve a person.

From the guide to L'Abbaye Sainte-Madeleine du Barroux

Example

What might be read on nights like this

This is the only poem
I can read
I am the only one
can write it
I didn't kill myself
when things went wrong
I didn't turn
to drugs or teaching
I tried to sleep
but when I couldn't sleep
I learned to write
what might be read
on nights like this
by one like me


Leonard Cohen


Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

The Mystery of the Monks

After days of rain a sunny morning. The thread of the monastic life will recur. It's 08.41 and Orlando Gibbon's Second Service is playing.
Example

The literature for Le Barroux says...

The Mystery of the Monks
The monks built Europe, but they did not do it intentioanlly.Their adventure is first of all, if not exclusively, an inner adventure, whose only motive is thirst. A thirst for the absoute. Thirst for another world, for truth and beauty.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

On a Mozart binge

Currently I'm on a Mozart binge. Started with the (augmented) Grumiaux Trio recordings of the String Quintets.


Apart from being sublime music these are wonderful recordings. Some of the best string sound around, and its analogue. Although I'm told the sound quality is not so much the technology as the playing.

Moved onto the String Trios yesterday. Again Grumiaux Trio. Discovered the Mozart Preludes and Fugues, how have I never heard these before?

On the reading front coming to the end of Iris Murdoch's The Bell. A thought provoking book, but one that could be taughter in its construction. But the monastic theme is one of those threads I will be returning to.



Fun day yesterday teaching for three hours learners how to use a web site that just happened to be down that day. But an interesting discovery in the evening - www.musicplasma.com One of those (many) ideas I had a while back. Only seems to be pop (and a little jazz) at present but very interesting concept.
Also pondering over two other recent purchases. The Tippett Piano Sonatas and Volume 1 of the complete piano music of Richard Rodney Bennett (on Metronome). More postings on those to follow.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Aaron Copland's McCarthy Hearing

For the front story follow An Overgrown Path to 'Tis the gift to be free
..............................................................

EXECUTIVE SESSIONS OF THE SENATE
PERMANENT SUBCOMMITTEE ON
INVESTIGATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE
ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
=========================

VOLUME 2

__________

EIGHTY-THIRD CONGRESS

FIRST SESSION

1953


STATE DEPARTMENT TEACHER-STUDENT EXCHANGE PROGRAM

[Editor's note.--The composer Aaron Copland (1900-1990),
whose works included Billy the Kid, Lincoln Portrait, Rodeo,
and Appalachian Spring, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1944 and an
Academy Award in 1950. Because he had gone to Italy on a
Fulbright scholarship in 1951, the subcommittee questioned him
about his past political associations. His oral history,
published as Aaron Copland and Vivian Perlis, Copland, 1900
through 1942 (New York: St. Martin's, 1984), and Copland Since
1943 (New York: St. Martin's, 1989) acknowledged that he had
been a ``fellow traveler'' in the 1930s because ``it seemed the
thing to do at the time,'' but stated that he had never joined
a political party.
Following the closed hearing, Copland issued a public
statement: ``On late Friday afternoon, I received a telegram
from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to
appear as a witness. I did. I answered to the best of my
ability all of the questions which were asked me. I testified
under oath that I have never supported, and am now opposed to,
the limitations put on freedom by the Soviet Union. . . . My
relationships with the United States Government were originally
with the Music Advisory Committee to the Coordinator of Inter
American Affairs and later as a lecturer in music in South
America and as a Fulbright Professor. In these capacities my
work was limited to the technical aspects of music.'' The
subcommittee never called him to testify in public. Aaron
Copland received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964 and
a Congressional Gold Medal in 1986.]
----------


TUESDAY, MAY 26, 1953

U.S. Senate,
Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
of the Committee on Government Operations,
Washington, DC.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to Senate Resolution 40,
agreed to January 30, 1953, at 2:30 p.m. in the Office of the
District Committee, the Capitol, Senator Joseph R. McCarthy
presiding.
Present: Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, Republican, Wisconsin;
Senator Karl E. Mundt, Republican, South Dakota; Senator John
L. McClellan, Democrat, Arkansas.
Present also: Roy M. Cohn, chief counsel; Donald A. Surine,
assistant counsel; Ruth Young Watt, chief clerk; Mason Drury,
Senate liaison officer, State Department.

TESTIMONY OF AARON COPLAND (ACCOMPANIED BY HIS COUNSEL, CHARLES
GLOVER)

The Chairman. Will you stand and raise your right hand.
Do you solemnly swear the testimony you are about to give
shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,
so help you God?
Mr. Copland. I do.
The Chairman. And your counsel's name?
Mr. Copland. Charles Glover. G-l-o-v-e-r.
The Chairman. Mr. Glover, I think this is the first time
you have appeared as counsel before this committee, so I will
tell you the rules of the committee. You can advise as freely
as you care to with your client. You can discuss any matter he
cares to during the testimony. If at any time you feel you want
a private conference, we will arrange a room. Counsel is not
allowed to take any part in the proceedings other than to
consult with his client.
Mr. Copland, you are residing at----
Mr. Copland. Shady Lane Farm, Ossining, New York.
The Chairman. And you are a musician, composer and
lecturer?
Mr. Copland. Yes.
The Chairman. Have you ever had any connection with the
exchange program?
Mr. Copland. Yes, I have.
The Chairman. Would you tell us what that connection has
been?
Mr. Copland. I was connected with the program on three
different occasions, I believe. The first occasion I was a
member of the Music Advisory Board of the State Department, and
on the second occasion I was sent by Grant-in-Aid to Latin
America to give lectures and concerts about American music, and
on the third occasion I was a Fulbright professor in Italy for
the same purpose.
The Chairman. When were you a lecturer in Italy?
Mr. Copland. 1951.
The Chairman. Now, Mr. Copland, have you ever been a
Communist?
Mr. Copland. No, I have not been a Communist in the past
and I am not now a Communist.
The Chairman. Have you ever been a Communist sympathizer?
Mr. Copland. I am not sure that I would be able to say what
you mean by the word ``sympathizer.'' From my impression of it
I have never thought of myself as a Communist sympathizer.
The Chairman. You did not.
Mr. Copland. I did not.
The Chairman. Did you ever attend any Communist meetings?
Mr. Copland. I never attended any specific Communist party
function of any kind.
The Chairman. Did you ever attend a Communist meeting?
Mr. Copland. I am afraid I don't know how you define a
Communist meeting.
The Chairman. A meeting you knew then or now had been
called by the Communist party and sponsored by the Communist
party.
Mr. Copland. Not that I would know of. No.
The Chairman. Did you ever attend a meeting of which a
major or sizable number of those in attendance were Communists?
Mr. Copland. Not to my knowledge.
The Chairman. Were you ever solicited to join the Communist
party?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Did anyone ever discuss with you the
possibility of your joining the Communist party?
Mr. Copland. Not that I recall.
The Chairman. I know that every man has a different type of
memory, so we can't ask you to evaluate your memory. Would it
seem logical that were you asked to join the Communist party,
you would remember?
Mr. Copland. If I had been asked to? Not unless it had some
significance in my mind.
The Chairman. So your answer at this time is that you can't
say definitely whether you have been asked to join the
Communist party or not?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Are any of your close friends Communists?
Mr. Copland. Not to my knowledge.
The Chairman. Do you know any members of the Communist
party who are Communists?
Mr. Copland. I don't know any member of the Communist
party, as far as I know.
The Chairman. I may say one of the reasons you are here
today is because of the part you played in the exchange program
lecturing, etc., and you have a public record of association
with organizations officially listed by the attorney general.
As the Communist party record is extremely long, I think
counsel will want to ask you some questions on that.
May I give you some advice. You have a lawyer here. There
are witnesses who come before this committee and often indulge
in the assumption that they can avoid giving us the facts.
Those who underestimate the work the staff has done in the past
end up occasionally before a grand jury for perjury, so I
suggest when counsel questions you about these matters that you
tell the truth or take advantage of the Fifth Amendment.
Mr. Copland. Senator McCarthy, I would like to say now, I
received a telegram to be here Friday. The telegram gave me no
hint as to why I was coming. If I am to be questioned on
affiliations over a period of many years it is practically
impossible without some kind of preparation to be able to
answer definitely one way or another when I was and what I was
connected with. This comes as a complete surprise.
The Chairman. May I say that during the hearing if you feel
you need more time for preparation, we will adjourn and give
you that time. We have no desire whatsoever to have the witness
commit perjury because of lack of preparation. If you feel you
can't answer these questions concerning your Communist
affiliations, Communist connections, if you need more time, we
will give you more time.
Mr. Copland. May I say one more word. I came here with the
intention of answering honestly all the questions put to me. If
I am unable to do that, it is the fact that memory slips in
different ways over a long period of time.
Mr. Cohn. The record states that you signed a letter to the
president urging the United States declare war on Finland. This
statement was sponsored by the Council of American-Soviet
Relations.
Mr. Copland. Is that a fact. Do you know when that was?
Mr. Cohn. Do you know if you signed such a statement?
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of that. I can't say
positively.
Mr. Cohn. This was during the trouble between the Soviet
Union and Finland. That would be in the late thirties.
Mr. Copland. I am sorry but I couldn't say positively. It
seems highly unlikely.
Mr. Cohn. What was your view on the trouble between the
Soviet Union and Finland?
The Chairman. May I rephrase that, Roy. Did you feel at
that time we should declare war on Finland?
Mr. Copland. Senator McCarthy, I am in no position--I spend
my days writing symphonies, concertos, ballads, and I am not a
political thinker. My relation has been extremely tangent.
The Chairman. We want to know whether you signed this
letter to the president urging that we declare war on Finland--
whether you are a musician or not. We now find that you are
lecturing with the stamp of approval of the United States
government and we would like to check on these things. This is
one small item. There is a long record of apparent Communist
activities. Now you say you don't remember signing the letter.
Just to refresh your memory, may I ask, did you feel at the
time the letter was signed by you that we should declare war on
Finland?
Mr. Copland. I would say the thought would be extremely
uncharacteristic of me. I have never thought that the
declaration of war would solve, in my opinion, serious
problems. I would say I was a man of hope for a peaceful
solution.
The Chairman. Do you think someone forged your name?
Mr. Copland. I wouldn't know.
The Chairman. Have you heard before that you signed such a
letter?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. This is the first time it has been brought to
your attention?
Mr. Copland. As far as I know.
The Chairman. You have no recollection of such a letter to
the president?
Mr. Copland. I have no recollection of it.
The Chairman. Did you ever attend any meetings at which
this matter was the subject of conversation?
Mr. Copland. Not that I remember,
Mr. Cohn. What was your view of the Hitler-Stalin Pact--
1939 to 1941?
Mr. Copland. I don't remember any specific view of it.
Mr. Cohn. You are listed as a sponsor of the Schappes
Defense Committee. Morris Schappes, as you might recall, is a
teacher at City College, New York, and has been a witness
before this committee in the last couple of months. He denied
Communist party membership, was convicted of perjury and
sentenced to jail. The Schappes committee was organized to
secure his release from jail. You are listed as a sponsor of
that committee. Do you recall that?
Mr. Copland. No, I do not recall that. I know they use the
names of well-known men to support their cause without
authorization.
Mr. Cohn. Do you recall the Schappes case?
Mr. Copland. Vaguely.
Mr. Cohn. Have you ever met Professor Schappes?
Mr. Copland. Not to my knowledge.
Mr. Cohn. Do you think they used your name without your
authorization?
Mr. Copland. I think it very possible.
The Chairman. Did you authorize the use of your name by any
organization that has been listed by the attorney general or
the House Un-American Activities Committee?
Mr. Copland. As far as I know, I lent my name to
organizations which were subsequently listed. I don't know now
that I lent it in any cases after it was listed.
Mr. Cohn. Of course, a listing of the date does not signify
the date it became subversive. A listing is made on the basis
of past activities of the organization. If the attorney general
lists an organization in September 1948, it doesn't mean that
was when it was found subversive. It means that on that date a
review of the activities of the organization was completed and
found to be subversive.
Mr. Copland. I didn't necessarily know about that.
Mr. Cohn. What organization did you sponsor, allow to use
your name, contribute to or help in any way who were then or
were subsequently listed by the attorney general as Communist
fronts?
Mr. Copland. I would have to refer to my papers. May I say
that I have never been shown by any official committee of any
sort or questioned about this list. I heard about it through an
inadvertent source. I haven't had the time or possibility of
knowing whether it is complete. I did it rather hastily since
Friday. I can't say positively.
The Chairman. Give us what you have and you can complete it
later on.
I may say that I can understand a man who has got to depend
upon the government for part of his income to have accepted a
job with the government, perhaps knowing he had joined these
front organizations, but it seems you have none of these
qualifications and have been rather active in a number of these
fronts.
Do you care to give us the list?
Mr. Copland. I think, Senator McCarthy, in fairness to me
and my activity in relation to the Department of State, it was
not primarily a financial relationship. I think that I was
chosen because I had a unique position in American symphonic
and serious music and I had a reputation as a lecturer on that
subject. I, at any rate, was under the impression that I was
chosen for that purpose. The payment was not the primary
consideration. I was trying to help spread in other countries
what we American composers were doing.
Senator McClellan. Were you employed by the federal
government--by the State Department?
Mr. Copland. I believe it was in the program of interchange
of persons. I don't know if that is an employee----
Senator McClellan. Were you paid by the government?
Mr. Copland. I was paid by the Department of State
interchange of persons.
Senator McClellan. Over what period of time?
Mr. Copland. Are you referring now to the non-paid advisory
capacity?
Senator McClellan. Give us both. I want to get both in the
record.
Mr. Copland. I was a member of the Advisory Committee on
Music, Department of State between July 1, 1950 and June 30,
1951.
Senator McClellan. Did you receive any pay for that?
Mr. Copland. No. Except the per diem expenses.
Senator McClellan. How much was the per diem?
Mr. Copland. My memory may not be right. I think it was
about $10.00 a day.
I was also a member of the same advisory committee from
September 8, 1941 to June 30, 1942. I was also a music advisor
to Nelson Rockefeller's committee when he was coordinator of
Inter-American Affairs and that music advisory post was renewed
to June 1943. As far as I know, that was the end of the music
advisory capacity.
Senator McClellan. Did you receive a salary?
Mr. Copland. No. That was not a government job.
I was appointed visiting lecturer on music in Brazil,
Argentina, etc., by the Grant-In-Aid at a salary of $500.00 a
month over a period of three months around August or September
of 1947.
Senator McClellan. Was that plus expenses?
Mr. Copland. I can't quite remember. It may have been per
diem expenses when traveling.
Senator Mundt. You did secure traveling expenses for that?
Mr. Copland. Yes, sir.
Senator Mundt. And per diem also?
Mr. Copland. Yes.
Senator Mundt. What was the per diem?
Mr. Copland. It may have been eight or ten dollars a day.
My compensation was $500.00 a month.
I was given a Fulbright professorship for six months to
Italy from January to June of 1951 at a salary of $3,000 for
six months, plus transportation to and from.
Senator Mundt. Did you get $3,000 from the State Department
or the difference between what the Italian University paid you
and what you received over here.
Mr. Copland. I was paid by the embassy in Rome. I wasn't
attached to the university. I was attached to the American
Academy in Rome and they housed me, but I was paid at the
embassy itself.
Mr. Cohn. Did you have a security clearance before you
undertook this?
Mr. Copland. One that I knew about, no.
Mr. Cohn. Did you have to fill out a form prior to
receiving this appointment?
Mr. Copland. No.
Mr. Cohn. None at all.
Mr. Copland. I am not sure there were none at all.
Mr. Cohn. Did you go under Public Law 402, the Smith-Mundt
Bill?
Mr. Copland. No. I knew of the bill, of course.
The Chairman. Could I ask you now about some of your
activities. As I said, according to the records, you have what
appears to be one of the longest Communist-front records of any
one we have had here.
Is it correct that you signed some statement to President
Roosevelt defending the Communist party?
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of that but I may have.
The Chairman. Was that your feeling at that time? Did you
feel the Communist party should be defended?
Mr. Copland. Well, it would certainly depend on what basis.
For example, if someone wanted to have them outlawed to go
underground, I might have. I don't think they should be
outlawed to go underground, but left above board.
The Chairman. This is not outlawing the Communist party.
This is a statement defending the Communist party.
Mr. Copland. I would certainly have to have further time to
study the letter, the nature of the letter and what I remember
about it.
May I say the list I got from the Congressional Record,
almost all of these affiliations have to do with sponsoring of
something, the signing of protests, or the signing of a
statement in favor or against something, and that in this
connection, if I had them or didn't have them, I say in my mind
they are very superficial things. They consisted of my
receiving in the mail in the morning a request of some kind or
a list of names, which I judged solely on its merits quite
aside from my being able to judge whether that was a Communist
front. I must say that when I first saw this list I was amazed
that I was connected with this many things. I consider this
list gives a false idea of my activities as a musician. It was
a very small part of my existence. It consisted of my signing
my name to a protest or statement, which I thought I had a
right to do as an American citizen.
The Chairman. You have a right to defend communism or the
Communist party--Hanns Eisler or anything else. You have a
perfect right to do it, but the question is why were you
selected as a lecturer when you exercised that right so often.
Let me ask you this question. Before you were hired as a
lecturer to tour South America, did anyone ask you to explain
your membership in or sponsorship of these various Communist
front movements?
Mr. Copland. No, and I think the reason was that they were
too superficial. No one took them seriously, and I think they
were justified in not taking them seriously. In view of my
position in the musical world and a teacher in the musical
world, most people would think they would know whether or not I
was a Communist. The question never came up.
The Chairman. Would you give us that list?
Mr. Copland. May I first, Senator, amend a prior answer I
gave in regard to a petition to declare war on Finland. It
occurred to me that I did have knowledge of that. I read it in
the Congressional Record. It had no date as to when it was
signed or any particular information as to what went into the
petition, therefore, I am afraid I just ignored that I had seen
it.
The Chairman. Now, give us that list.
Mr. Copland. In order to help matters, could I have the
list read from there so I could give you my list.
The Chairman. You give us your list first.
Mr. Copland. This is only a summary.
The Chairman. You won't be cut off. You can take all the
time you want.
Mr. Copland. I can only definitely say that I was a member
of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship during
the years that the Soviet Union was an ally in the war and for
some years thereafter, I don't have the precise date. I joined
the Music Committee of that Council of American-Soviet
Friendship in order to help an understanding between the two
countries through musical interchange. It was in no way, as far
as I was concerned, a political move. At that time I had no
knowledge that the National Council of American Soviet
Friendship was a Communist front. I do know that subsequently
it was solicited by the attorney general, and on the basis of
that I formally resigned.
The Chairman. How did you resign?
Mr. Copland. By letter.
The Chairman. Do you have a copy?
Mr. Copland. I may have.
The Chairman. You don't have a copy with you?
Mr. Copland. No.
Senator Mundt. What date was that?
Mr. Copland. That was, I believe, June 1950.
The Chairman. It was cited long before that.
Mr. Copland. Was it? I don't know.
The Chairman. Do you know when it was cited? I gather you
resigned because you found it was cited. Is that correct?
Mr. Copland. That is my recollection of events, yes.
The Chairman. Did you resign as soon as you heard it was
cited?
Mr. Copland. Well, there was some question in my mind as to
whether or not I was still a member because the Music Committee
resigned as a body--at any rate they left and set up their own
organization--the American-Soviet Music Society.
The Chairman. When was this set up?
Mr. Copland. The exact date escapes me. It was probably
1945 or 1946.
The Chairman. Can you give us the next front?
Mr. Copland. May I emphasize again----
The Chairman. Will you read them and then you can explain
your participation in each one, the source also and the date.
Give us the names of the organizations and then you can give us
any explanations you care to. If you care to have me read them,
I will. Hand me the list of fronts. [reading:]
1. The American League of War and Fascism
2. Advisory Board of Frontier Films
3. Entertainer at the American Music Alliance of Friends of
the Abraham Lincoln Brigade
4. Entertainer of New Masses Benefit
5. Sponsor New York Committee for Protection of the Foreign
Born
6. Signer, Petition American Committee for Democracy and
Intellectual Freedom
7. Signed Statement to FDR Defending the Communist party
8. Signer of appeal for Sam Darcy, National Federation for
Constitutional Liberties
9. Sponsor, Citizens Committee for Harry Bridges
10. Sponsor, Artists Front to Win the War
11. Sponsor, letter for Harry Bridges by the National
Federation of Constitutional Liberties
12. Dinner Sponsor of the Joint Anti-Fascist Refugee
Committee
13. Sponsor, Called Conference of American-Soviet
Friendship, National Council American Soviet Friendship
14. Signer, Reichstag Fire Trial Anniversary Committee
15. Signed petition for Hanns Eisler
16. Eisler Concert sponsor
17. Member, National Committee, National Defense of
Political Prisoners
18. Member, Committee of Professional Group for Browder
Fund
19. Member, National Committee of People's Rights
20. Vice-Chairman and Member of the Music Committee,
Council of American-Soviet Friendship
21. Peoples Songs
22. Independent Citizens Committee of the Arts, Sciences,
Professions
23. Win the Peace Conference
24. American-Soviet Music Society
25. New Masses contributor
26. National Council of the Arts, Sciences and Professions
27. Supporter, Communist Bookstore
Senator Mundt. Was that list prepared by you?
Mr. Copland. No, I did not prepare that list. I copied that
list from Red Channels and the Congressional Record in an
attempt to have some kind of preparation in coming to this
committee so as to know what possible organizations my name had
been connected with.
Senator Mundt. It is not your testimony that this list is
your list of fronts which you belonged to----
Mr. Copland. Definitely not.
The Chairman. It is not?
Mr. Copland. No. Any secretary could have done it for me.
Mr. Cohn. I would like to state, Mr. Copland, we have
checked the guide for subversive organizations and found that
the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship was cited as
subversive December 4, 1947.
Mr. Copland. May I say, December 4, 1947, to the best of my
knowledge I was in Latin America on a lecture tour. It would be
very unlikely that I would know.
Mr. Cohn. When did you return?
Mr. Copland. I returned in December 1947.
Mr. Cohn. You say it took you these three years to
discover----
Mr. Copland. Well, Mr. Cohn, I don't keep track of all
political points like that.
Mr. Cohn. If I label your testimony correctly, you were
trying to give the committee the impression that when you found
this was cited as a subversive organization you resigned.
Mr. Copland. No. I was about to explain that the American
Music Society was an off-shoot, so to speak, of the National
Council of American-Soviet Friendship, and I was not sure
whether I was still a member.
The Chairman. Will you go through this list now and tell us
which Communist front organizations you were a member of or in
whose activities you took any part?
Mr. Copland. Senator McCarthy, to my knowledge I have never
knowingly sponsored any Communist front organization.
The Chairman. You have a list before you, which list you
say was copied from other sources. Will you go down that list
and first give us the name of the organizations to which you
had some affiliation and then you can come back and make any
explanations you care to to your own knowledge.
Mr. Copland. To my own knowledge the only organization to
which I, as a member, belonged was the National Council of
American-Soviet Friendship and the American-Soviet Music
Society.
The Chairman. You used the word ``belonged.''
Mr. Copland. As far as I know at this time, taking the
briefness of time--I may have to amend that later.
The Chairman. You say organizations to which you belonged.
Let's broaden that a bit and say organizations in which you
were in any way affiliated, either a sponsor of their
activities or in any other fashion.
Mr. Copland. There is a great distinction in my mind in
being a member and signing a paper.
The Chairman. There might be a distinction. I want you to
answer the question. I have asked you to list the
organizations--those named as Communist fronts--with which you
were in any way affiliated. Then you can explain your
affiliations as much as you want to.
I just want to know the names now.
Mr. Copland. I could not under oath with any certainty say
that I was a member.
The Chairman. That is not what I asked you.
Mr. Copland. Then I haven't understood the question.
The Chairman. I think it is very simple. I said any
organizations in which you were in any way affiliated.
Mr. Copland. As far as I can remember, without further
study, I am not prepared to say that I was affiliated with any
but the ones mentioned.
The Chairman. You said with certainty. Do you have any
reason to believe that you were affiliated with any of the
others?
Mr. Copland. I have reason to believe that I was a sponsor
of a concert devoted to Hanns Eisler's music in 1948.
The Chairman. In 1948.
Mr. Copland. 1948.
The Chairman. Anything else?
Mr. Copland. Nothing else that I with certainty can----
The Chairman. Not certainty now--that you have any reason
to believe you were affiliated with any of these other
organizations?
Mr. Copland. No. In view of the shortness of time and the
seriousness of this question I am afraid I would have to ask
for further time to study and investigate and refresh my mind.
The Chairman. Then at this time you have no recollection of
any affiliation with any of the other organizations listed upon
the two sheets which I just read into the record.
Mr. Copland. No recollection other than the fact that some
of these organizations are names that I have seen on occasion.
The Chairman. Did you sign a petition to the attorney
general in behalf of Hanns Eisler?
Mr. Copland. I may have.
The Chairman. Do you recall whether you did or not?
Mr. Copland. Not positively, no.
The Chairman. Did you know Hanns Eisler had been named as a
Communist agent at that time?
Mr. Copland. No, I didn't.
The Chairman. When did you first learn that Hanns Eisler
had been named as a Communist agent?
Mr. Copland. I never heard that he had been named as a
Communist agent. I never heard that he had been named. I knew
that he had a reputation in Germany in the twenties of having
been a Communist, but I understood that was in the past and
since his arrival in America and the Rockefeller grant of
$20,000, it was my impression that the Communist element in him
was in the past.
The Chairman. Did you feel that you knew enough about the
Hanns Eisler case to petition the attorney general in his
behalf?
Mr. Copland. I would have to study what the petition was
and think about the problem.
The Chairman. Were you well-acquainted with Hanns Eisler?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Who asked you to sign the petition?
Mr. Copland. I have no memory if I did sign it.
The Chairman. This was not too long ago. It was reported in
the Daily Worker, December 17, 1947. You say you can't remember
whether you signed it or not or who asked you to sign it in
1947?
Mr. Copland. Well, that was six years ago. I might have
been asked to sign it. I can't be certain.
The Chairman. In any event, your testimony is that you did
not know enough about the case to advise the attorney general
as to what he should do?
Mr. Copland. That is my impression at this time.
The Chairman. So that if you signed it you were either
signing it out of sympathy for Eisler, the Communist, or you
were duped into doing it?
Mr. Copland. I don't think that is a fair summary of my
feeling. I have never sympathized with Communists as such. My
interest in Eisler was purely as a musician. I think he is, in
spite of his political ideas, a great musician and my signing
of the concert sponsorship was in relation to that feeling.
The Chairman. Concert sponsorship? It is the petition I am
talking about. Do you use the same term so many witnesses use?
Do you refer to political beliefs--do you consider the
Communist party as a political party in the American sense?
Mr. Copland. In the American sense? Not since the
designation of the Supreme Court.
The Chairman. Was this a benefit for Eisler at which you
appeared on February 28th, 1948?
Mr. Copland. I don't remember.
Pardon me. Will you repeat the question?
The Chairman. Did you appear at an Eisler program at Town
Hall, New York, on February 28, 1948?
Mr. Copland. No, I did not. That was purely sponsorship.
The Chairman. Did you sponsor that?
Mr. Copland. I was one of the sponsors.
The Chairman. Did you know at that time he was in
difficulty with the law enforcement agencies of this country
for underground or espionage activities?
Mr. Copland. I may have known that, but my sponsorship was
in terms of music only and him as a musician.
The Chairman. Would you feel today if you knew an
outstanding musician who was also a member of the Communist
espionage ring would you sponsor a benefit for him?
Mr. Copland. Certainly not.
The Chairman. Then do you think it was improper to do it in
1948?
Mr. Copland. 1948? I had no such knowledge in 1948.
The Chairman. Well, if you signed a petition to the
attorney general in 1947----
Mr. Copland. Senator McCarthy, I didn't say I signed it.
Mr. Cohn. Do you think your signature was forged on all
these things?
Mr. Copland. I don't know.
The Chairman. Do you feel a man using common sense, Mr.
Copland, apparently signing the petition to the attorney
general advising him what he should do in the Eisler case--who
was accused of espionage then--do you think the following
February--this was in December that the petition was signed and
this was about two months later that you sponsored a benefit
for this man--you certainly knew of his alleged espionage
activities.
Mr. Copland. The concert was not a benefit as far as I
know, and I took no part in the concert other than just sponsor
it. I didn't deny or affirm signing the petition. I said that
in relation to all these organizations I must have more time to
give consideration to them. I have had three days since
receiving the telegram and finding myself here. I am trying to
do my best to remember things. I am under oath and want to be
cautious.
The Chairman. We will give you a chance to refresh your
recollection.
Do you know whether you were affiliated with the American
Committee for Democracy and Intellectual Freedom?
Mr. Copland. No, I don't.
The Chairman. Did you ever take part in any organization
activities concerning the defense of Communist teachers?
Mr. Copland. Not that I remember.
Mr. Cohn. Were you in sympathy with Communist teachers?
Mr. Copland. No, I was never in sympathy with Communist
teachers.
Mr. Cohn. Do you feel Communists should be allowed to teach
in our schools?
Mr. Copland. I haven't given the matter such thought as to
come up with an answer.
Mr. Cohn. In other words, as of today you don't have any
firm thought?
Mr. Copland. I would be inclined to allow the faculty of
the university to decide that.
The Chairman. Let's say you are on the faculty and are
making a designation, would you feel Communists should be
allowed to teach?
Mr. Copland. I couldn't give you a blanket decision on that
without knowing the case.
The Chairman. Let's say the teacher is a Communist, period.
Would you feel that is sufficient to bar that teacher from a
job as a teacher?
Mr. Copland. I certainly think it would be sufficient if he
were using his Communist membership to angle his teaching to
further the purposes of the Communist party.
The Chairman. You have been a lecturer representing the
United States in other nations. One of the reasons why we
appropriate the money to pay lecturers is to enlighten people
as to the American way of life and do something towards
combating communism. Is it your testimony that you know nothing
about the Communist movement or are you fairly well acquainted
with the Communist movement?
Mr. Copland. It was my understanding that my lectureship
was purely a musical assignment.
The Chairman. Answer my question. Do you know anything
about the Communist movement?
Mr. Copland. I know what I read in the newspapers.
The Chairman. Are you a sponsor of the National Conference
of the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign
Born?
Mr. Copland. Not that I know of.
The Chairman. Did you have any connection with the Fifth
National Conference of the American Committee for Protection of
the Foreign Born, held in Atlantic City, New Jersey, in March
1941?
Mr. Copland. Not at this time, I don't recall that.
The Chairman. Do you recall any connection with that
conference?
Mr. Copland. Not at this time I don't.
The Chairman. As far as you know you had no connection with
it at all?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Just for your information, the record shows
that as far back as 1941 the program of the Fifth National
Conference of the American Committee for Protection of Foreign
Born named you as a sponsor. Later, a letterhead of the New
York Committee for Protection of the Foreign Born on January 2,
1941 showed you as a sponsor, and later in 1943 you were again
listed as a sponsor.
I might say that this organization has been cited by the
Attorney General and by the House Un-American Activities
Committee as one of the oldest auxiliaries of the Communist
party in the United States. Does that refresh your
recollection?
Mr. Copland. May I point out that there is a notation here
that it was cited in 1948, which is, I believe, seven years
after the dates you just quoted.
The Chairman. Mr. Copland, the date of citation is not
important. It is no more important than the date a man was
convicted of robbing a bank. The question that is important is
whether or not you participated in robbing the bank, not
whether another man participated in robbing the bank and was
convicted. Any man with normal intelligence knows it is wrong
to rob a bank. Even before the citations it is sometimes known
that the organization is a Communist front--a front for the
Communist party.
Mr. Copland. As far as I know----
The Chairman. I am not criticizing you for joining these
organizations. You may have been so naive that you didn't know
they were Communist controlled or you may have done it
purposely, but I can't believe that this very long list used
your name time after time as a sponsor of all these outstanding
fronts. I can't believe that they forged your name to these
petitions, borrowed your name unlawfully time after time.
However, I am only interested in knowing why they selected you
as a lecturer when we have many other people available as
lecturers.
May I say to you there is nothing illegal, as far as I
know, about belonging to Communist fronts and there is nothing
illegal about accepting employment no matter how sympathetic
you were--I am not saying you were--There is nothing illegal
about accepting employment in the information program, but we
must find out why a man of this tremendous activity in
Communist fronts would be selected.
Mr. Copland. May I reply on two points? I think I was
selected because of the fact that my employment as a lecturer
had nothing to do with anything but music.
The Chairman. If you were a member of the Communist party,
let's assume you were, and you were selected to lecture you
would be bound to try wherever you could to sell the Communist
idea, wouldn't you?
Mr. Copland. No doubt.
Mr. Chairman. So that, I believe you and I would agree that
in selecting a lecturer, even though they are an outstanding
musician, before we put our stamp of approval on them we should
find out whether they are a Communist or sympathetic to the
Communist cause. Is that right?
Mr. Copland. Well, I would certainly hesitate to send
abroad a man who is a Communist sympathizer or a Communist in
order to lecture. My impression was that my political opinions,
no matter how vague they may have been, were not in question as
far as the Department of State was concerned. I assume if they
had been in question I would have had some kind of going over.
The reason I am so vague about these various organizations is
because my relationship, if any, was so vague. It was not a
question of my going to meetings or being active in any way. I
am active in many ways--music organizations. They are things
which my whole life has been devoted to and these
organizations, such as they are, when I see the word sponsor,
entertainer, supporter or protestor, to me that means that I
got a penny postcard and sent it in, and that is why my memory
of it is so vague. That is why I think this list, even if I
were what this list said I was connected with as a sponsor, it
would give a false impression of the situation--of myself as a
man and as a citizen, and that is why I think the State
Department wasn't worried.
The Chairman. You were never asked about any of these
Communist-front activities?
Mr. Copland. Not to my memory.
The Chairman. I may say, for your information, you did get
security clearance.
Mr. Copland. Did I really? How does one get security
clearance?
The Chairman. You knew the New Masses was a Communist
paper, I suppose.
Mr. Copland. I knew Communists wrote for it.
The Chairman. And Communist controlled?
Mr. Copland. I didn't know it was Communist controlled.
The Chairman. Did you know there were a lot of Communists
in it?
Mr. Copland. I knew there was a considerable number.
The Chairman. Do you know now that it is Communist
controlled?
Mr. Copland. I would suspect it.
The Chairman. Did you judge contests for the New Masses?
Mr. Copland. Well, I don't know.
The Chairman. Do you recall judging any contest for the New
Masses?
Mr. Copland. I may have.
The Chairman. You don't remember?
Mr. Copland. Not precisely. I have a vague recollection. I
see here the date is 1937. That is sixteen years ago.
The Chairman. Did you ever belong to the American League
for Peace and Democracy?
Mr. Copland. Not to my memory.
The Chairman. Were you a committee member or sponsor of the
Citizens Committee for Harry Bridges?
Mr. Copland. I may have been.
The Chairman. Do you recall whether you were or not?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. You have no recollection whatsoever of such a
committee?
Mr. Copland. I may have seen the name before, yes.
Mr. Cohn. You say you may have been. What do you base that
on? You must have some recollection.
Were you on that committee? Do you know?
Mr. Copland. I don't know.
Mr. Cohn. Do you recall the Bridges case?
Mr. Copland. Yes, I recall it.
Mr. Cohn. Were you in sympathy with Bridges at the time?
Mr. Copland. I may have thought he was being pushed around.
I would have to do some heavy thinking to go back to 1941 and
remember what I think about Harry Bridges. He played no more
part in my life than over the breakfast table----
The Chairman. Did you belong to a committee for Browder and
Ford?
Mr. Copland. It is possible.
The Chairman. If you were a member of such a committee,
you, of course, knew at the time that Browder was one of the
leading Communists?
Mr. Copland. Yes, I knew that.
The Chairman. Did you say it was possible that you belonged
to that committee?
Mr. Copland. I would say it is in the realm of possibility
since it was 1936. I can't recall what the committee was
about--what it was for--or what connection it had with Browder.
The Chairman. Did you have anything to do with the
Coordinating Committee to Lift the Embargo in Spain?
Mr. Copland. Not that I remember.
The Chairman. You don't recall that?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Did you take any part in any activities
having to do with the Spanish Civil War?
Mr. Copland. Not that I recall now.
The Chairman. Do you belong to the American Music Alliance
of the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade?
Mr. Copland. The fact that it is a musical committee puts
it into the realm of possibility, but I have no definite memory
of it.
The Chairman. Do you know whether you entertained the
American Music Alliance of the Friends of the Abraham Lincoln
Brigade?
Mr. Copland. In what capacity?
The Chairman. You will have to tell me that.
Mr. Copland. I don't know exactly how I could entertain
them, but I have no memory of entertaining them.
The Chairman. Were you a member of the advisory board of
Frontier Films?
Mr. Copland. I can't remember it.
The Chairman. Do you recall any connection with Frontier
Films?
Mr. Copland. I believe it is the organization that produced
documentaries. What date was that?
The Chairman. You will have to tell me. I don't know.
Mr. Copland. I don't know either--unless it is in the
Congressional Record.
The Chairman. If you were on the advisory board of a film
company, wouldn't you remember it unless you read it in the
Congressional Record?
Mr. Copland. I am on the advisory committee of many
organizations where my name is simply listed and no use made of
advice. As far as I know I never met with Frontier Films in
order to advise them about anything.
The Chairman. It might be of some benefit if you supply us
the anti-Communist organizations that you were affiliated with.
Mr. Copland. I can't off-hand give you the name of such
things without further study, but I can tell you that since the
National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, I have not been
associated with any organization which has been cited in any
way. I have deliberately taken the stand that in the present
situation I do not wish to be associated in any way with an
organization that would leave people to think that I had
Communist sympathies, which I do not have.
The Chairman. Do you know Edward K. Barsky?
Mr. Copland. No, I did not to my knowledge.
The Chairman. You never met him?
Mr. Copland. Not that I remember.
The Chairman. I think you testified that you have never
been a member of the Communist party.
Mr. Copland. That is right.
The Chairman. And you testified that you have never engaged
in espionage or sabotage--let me ask you. Have you ever engaged
in espionage?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Sabotage?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Were you a member of the National Committee
for People's Rights?
Mr. Copland. I couldn't say. I have no recollection of
that. May I say again, in relation to specific questions, I
must have more time. It is extremely short time.
The Chairman. Unless I ask the questions you won't know
what to think about. You will have an opportunity to go over
the record and supply memory gaps if you find any.
Were you a member or sponsor of the National Committee for
the Defense of Political Prisoners?
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of that.
The Chairman. You don't remember that at all?
Mr. Copland. No. May I say also in fairness to myself, my
interest in connection with any organizations was in no way my
interest in their political slant, except that I never
knowingly signed my name to anything which I thought was
controlled by Communists. I had no fear of sitting down at a
table with a known Communist because I was so sure of my
position as a loyal American.
The Chairman. With what known Communists have you sat down
at a table?
Mr. Copland. That question is absolutely impossible to
answer because as far as I know no one has told me that they
are a Communist. I may have suspected it.
The Chairman. In other words, you don't recall sitting down
at a table with any known Communists?
Mr. Copland. Yes, aside from Russian Communists. I assume
they are Communists.
The Chairman. Have you ever sat down at a table with Earl
Browder?
Mr. Copland. Not to my knowledge.
The Chairman. Did you sign an open letter to the mayor of
Stalingrad?
Mr. Copland. I can't remember that.
The Chairman. Did you sign a statement in support of Henry
Wallace, which statement was issued by the National Council of
Arts, Sciences and Professions?
Mr. Copland. What would be the date?
The Chairman. 1948.
Mr. Copland. It is possible I did.
The Chairman. Were you active in the Progressive movement?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Are you connected with the National Council
of the Arts, Sciences and Professions?
Mr. Copland. I may have been on their music committee.
The Chairman. Do you have any recollection?
Mr. Copland. No precise recollection.
The Chairman. Does it mean anything to you? You say you may
have been.
Mr. Copland. Well, I know that I probably received some of
their literature and was aware of some of their musical
activities.
The Chairman. Were you a sponsor and speaker at the
Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace?
Mr. Copland. Yes, I was.
The Chairman. That was held at the Waldorf-Astoria?
Mr. Copland. Yes, sir.
The Chairman. Counsel should not coach the witness unless
he asks for coaching.
What year was this?
Mr. Copland. March 1949.
Mr. Cohn. Now, Mr. Copland, that conference was widely
publicized in advance as a completely Communist dominated
thing, but nevertheless you sponsored and attended it.
Mr. Copland. I sponsored it and attended it because I was
very anxious to give the impression that by sitting down with
Russian composers one could encourage the thought that since
cultural relations were possible that perhaps diplomatic
relations were possible. I did not go there to advance the
Communist line or in any way encourage their operations. I went
there in order to take part in a cultural panel, which
included----
The Chairman. You knew that it had been widely labeled as a
completely Communist movement, didn't you?
Mr. Copland. No, I didn't know it was a complete Communist
movement at that time. I became convinced of it subsequently. I
am very glad I went to that conference because it gave me
first-hand knowledge in what ways the Communists were able to
use such movements for their own ends. After that I refused to
sign the sponsorship of any further peace conference.
The Chairman. Did you meet any Communists at that meeting
other than Russian Communists?
Mr. Copland. Not that I know of.
The Chairman. Has the FBI or any other government
intelligence agency ever interviewed you as to who you met at
that conference?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Will you prepare a list of the people who
attended the conference for us?
Mr. Copland. You mean present on the panel?
The Chairman. Those who you recognized. I am not speaking
of the Russians. I am speaking of Americans.
Will you prepare a list of those Americans who were present
at that conference?
Mr. Copland. That I remember having personally seen there?
The Chairman. Yes.
Mr. Copland. As far as I can, I will, sir.
The Chairman. We will appreciate that. It may not be of any
benefit to the committee but I assume it might be of interest
to the FBI.
Mr. Cohn. And you still did not resign from the Council of
American-Soviet Friendship?
Mr. Copland. No, I didn't.
Mr. Cohn. In spite of the listing two years prior to that?
Mr. Copland. I am not certain I knew about the listing.
Mr. Cohn. You said after this conference in 1949 you signed
no more petitions--had nothing to do with any Communist fronts
after that?
Mr. Copland. To the best of my memory.
The Chairman. To refresh your recollection, in December of
1949 did you not sign a petition or an appeal sponsored by the
National Federation for Constitutional Liberties, which appeal
asked for the immediate dismissal of charges against Sam Adams
Darcy, well-known Communist leader?
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of that at all.
The Chairman. If your name is on the petition, would you
say it was forged?
Mr. Copland. You mean a hand-written signature on the
petition?
The Chairman. Well, you couldn't sign it except by hand.
Mr. Copland. I would have to see it. I would certainly
suspect it was forged.
The Chairman. You tell the committee today that you have no
knowledge of signing a petition having to do with Sam Adams
Darcy?
Mr. Copland. As far as I know.
The Chairman. You knew nothing about Sam Darcy?
Mr. Copland. Nothing that I know of now.
The Chairman. And you had no reason to sign a petition for
Sam Darcy?
Mr. Copland. Not that I know of.
The Chairman. You don't remember anyone discussing the
Darcy case with you?
Mr. Copland. Not that I know of.
The Chairman. I think I questioned you about this.
Did you sponsor an open letter to the president of the
United States asking him to reconsider the order for the
deportation of Harry Bridges?
Mr. Copland. When was that?
The Chairman. At any time.
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of it.
The Chairman. Were you interested in the Bridges case?
Mr. Copland. In the way that one is interested in any case
he reads about in the papers.
The Chairman. Did you sign a letter to the president in
which it stated: ``it is equally essential that the attorney
general's ill-advised, arbitrary, and unwarranted findings
relative to the Communist party be rescinded.''
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of such.
Mr. Cohn. I wonder if we could ask Mr. Copland to sign his
name for comparative reasons as all these signatures look the
same.
The Chairman. Mr. Copland, you referred to signing penny
postcards. You don't think that all of these alleged Communist
connections or use of your name, forged or otherwise signed by
you on petitions, was the result of signing penny postcards, do
you?
Mr. Copland. It is my impression that that was the
principal way in which sponsorship and such signing of
petitions was furthered, and since I did not attend meetings of
these organizations, it is my impression that this is the only
way I might have sponsored them--through signature of some
petition they sent me through the mail, either on a penny
postcard saying, ``Will you sign this petition'' or a letter
itself.
The Chairman. You don't recall having signed any of these
petitions?
Mr. Copland. I wouldn't say that. I would say this at this
time having been given three days notice, I would ask for an
adjournment to refresh my memory.
Mr. Cohn. Have you ever given money to any of these
organizations we have been talking about?
Mr. Copland. Certainly no money of any substantial amount.
Mr. Cohn. Have you ever given any?
Mr. Copland. I couldn't say.
Mr. Cohn. Did you ever give any money to the Communist
party?
Mr. Copland. Not that I know of.
Mr. Cohn. That is an unusual answer. I imagine if you gave
money to the Communist party you would know it.
Mr. Copland. I am trying to be extra careful, so to speak.
That is why I am making it so tentatively.
The Chairman. I recognize that and we don't blame you for
being careful.
Mr. Copland. Thank you.
The Chairman. Were you an entertainer at a New Masses
benefit?
Mr. Copland. I seem to have some memory of that. What date
was that?
The Chairman. February 1, 1936 or 1939. I don't know which.
Mr. Copland. That, I believe, was an anti-Fascist drive of
some sort. I may be wrong about that.
The Chairman. Do you know that Vito Marcantonio was a
member of the Communist party?
Mr. Copland. No, I don't.
The Chairman. Did you belong to a committee supporting
Marcantonio?
Mr. Copland. I have no memory of belonging to it.
The Chairman. Were you active in supporting Marcantonio?
Mr. Copland. No, I certainly wasn't.
The Chairman. Do you know him?
Mr. Copland. No, I don't.
The Chairman. You stated, I believe, that you don't recall
having signed a letter in defense of Harry Bridges.
Mr. Copland. At this time I don't recall it.
The Chairman. Did you know Georgi Dimitrov?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. Did you ever hear about the Reichstag Fire
Trial Anniversary Committee?
Mr. Copland. I can't at this time remember whether I have
or not.
The Chairman. You don't recall?
Mr. Copland. No.
The Chairman. You don't recall ever having been affiliated
with it?
Mr. Copeland. No, not at this time I don't.
The Chairman. Were you a sponsor of the Schappes Defense
Committee?
Mr. Copland. As far as I know I was not.
The Chairman. Did you ever hear of Schappes?
Mr. Copland. I may have vaguely heard of him.
Mr. Cohn. You said before you had?
Mr. Copland. You see, I am uncertain whether I do or
vaguely do. Without further opportunity to refresh my memory--
--
The Chairman. May I interrupt. I may say, going through all
of these and where you feel that your memory is not
sufficiently sharp so you can adequately answer, you will have
opportunity to go over the record and supply the material which
you were able to supply after your memory is refreshed.
Mr. Copland. Could I ask you to tell me again what you said
about my having been connected with Sam Adams Darcy after the
peace conference?
The Chairman. What date was that?
Mr. Copland. I believe the peace conference was March 1949
and you quoted the Darcy connection, if there was one, at a
later date. I gather that your thought is that the Darcy
petition may have been signed before that.
The Chairman. Here we are. We have it here. It appears from
the report we have that you were a sponsor and speaker at the
Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace which was
held March 25-27, 1945 inclusive.
Mr. Copland. The other matter was considerably before that,
the petition.
The Chairman. I beg your pardon.
May I amplify the record. I had previously indicated in the
questioning that the Sam Darcy petition had been signed after
the New York conference. I misread it. I thought it was
December 1949. Actually it was December 1940. You are correct.
Mr. Copland. I was going to explain why I didn't resign
until 1950. The music committee was organized to further
relations on a musical plane with the Soviet Union. It was an
off-shoot of a committee, I believe, that had to do with the
State Department. At any rate, that committee itself left the
National Council and set itself up as the National Soviet Music
Society and since I went with the music committee, I was under
the impression that I was no longer a member of the National
Council. In order to be sure I had severed connections I wrote
a letter in 1950.
Mr. Cohn. By the way, Mr. Copland, you are awfully well
prepared. I am just wondering. Let me ask you this: Prior to
the phone call Friday, you had never known of any reference to
you in the Congressional Record concerning your Communist
fronts?
Mr. Copland. That is not my testimony.
Mr. Cohn. Then, Mr. Copland, you stated this had not just
come to your attention on Friday?
Mr. Copland. May I say that I heard through a letter that
there had been a printing in the Congressional Record of
remarks of the Honorable Fred E. Busby concerning myself.
Mr. Cohn. When was that?
Mr. Copland. When was the Congressional Record of Busby's
statement? It is in here for Friday, January 16, 1953, and my
memory of that is that happened sometime in March or April.
Subsequently a friend supplied me with a copy.
Mr. Cohn. When was that?
Mr. Copland. I would say sometime in April.
I will also add that I was absolutely amazed at the number
of entries in connection with my name.
Mr. Cohn. So were we.
The Chairman. Do you feel now that your name was misused by
various organizations or do you want further time to check into
it?
Mr. Copland. I would like further time to check into it.
It is also well known that if they got your name in
connection with one thing, they didn't hesitate to use it in
connection with another. I would also like to say that my
connection, insofar as it would show, was the direct outcome of
the feelings of a musician. I was not moved by the Communist
element, whatever it may have been. I was moved by specific
causes to which I lent my name.
Musicians make music out of feelings aroused out of public
events.
Senator Mundt. I can't follow this line of argument. I
don't see how that line of reasoning makes sense with a hatchet
man like Bridges.
Mr. Copland. A musician, when he writes his notes he makes
his music out of emotions and you can't make your music unless
you are moved by events. If I sponsored a committee in relation
to Bridges, I may have been misled, not through Communist
leanings. If I had them, there was something about his
situation that moved me.
Senator Mundt. That would be true of anybody--any human
beings, I think, not only musicians. Emotions are part of
everyone's personality. That certainly stretches a point. We
are all governed by the same rules of caution. When you get to
Browder and Bridges, I think musicians have to go by the same
code as governs other citizens.
Mr. Copland. We are assuming--I would like to see what it
was I was supposed to have signed. I would have to know the
circumstances to make any kind of sensible case.
The Chairman. Do you say now that your activities as a
musician had to do with your connection with Bridges and
Browder?
Mr. Copland. I would say that anything I signed was because
of the human cause behind it that interested me----
The Chairman. Were you a good friend of Hanns Eisler?
Mr. Copland. No, I knew him slightly. I was not a good
friend of his.
The Chairman. Did you meet him socially?
Mr. Copland. Yes.
The Chairman. Roughly, how many times?
Mr. Copland. Roughly, this is a guess, two or three times.
The Chairman. When did you last see him?
Mr. Copland. My impression is I last saw him in California.
The Chairman. Did you agree with the statement by Eisler
that ``Revolutionary music is now more powerful than ever. Its
political and artistic importance is growing daily.''
Mr. Copland. That is a vague statement. I don't know what
he means by ``revolutionary music.''
The Chairman. Do you agree with him that there is a
political importance in music?
Mr. Copland. I certainly would not. What the Soviet
government has been trying to do in forcing their composers to
write along lines favorable to themselves is absolutely wrong.
It is one of the basic reasons why I could have no sympathy
with such an attitude.
The Chairman. Would you say a good musician who is a
Communist could be important in influencing people in favor of
the Communist cause?
Mr. Copland. Perhaps in some indirect way.
The Chairman. One final question.
Quoting Hanns Eisler, is this a correct description of you
by Eisler:

I am extremely pleased to report a considerable shift to
the left among the American artistic intelligentsia. I don't
think it would be an exaggeration to state that the best people
in the musical world of America (with very few exceptions)
share at present extremely progressive ideas.
Their names? They are Aaron Copland.

Would you say that is a correct description of you?
Mr. Copland. No, I would not. I would say he is using
knowledge of my liberal feelings in the arts and in general to
typify me as a help to his own cause.
The Chairman. Just for the record, this quotation from
Eisler appears in the House Un-American Activities Committee
Hearing, September 24, 25, 26, 1947, pages 36, 38, 39.
I have no further questions. How about you Mr. Cohn?
Mr. Cohn. No, sir.
The Chairman. Senator Mundt?
Senator Mundt. No.
Mr. Cohn. You are reminded that you are still under
subpoena and will be called again within the next week, I would
assume.
[Whereupon the hearing adjourned.]

SourceUS State Congress,
Senate Committee on Homeland Security andGovernmental Affairs,
Committee Prints, 107th Congress


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