The answer my friend is changing with the wind

"A forthcoming book by Geoff Baker, lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London, is puffed in the Guardian today on claims that it unpicks the Venezuelan music system that has been adulated and adopted the world over... None of this is substantiated in Dr Baker’s article in the Guardian, which offers nothing more than general assertions... My own limited contacts with El Sistema graduates have yielded few suspicions of dissent or dissatisfaction on their part." - Norman Lebrecht writes on November 12, 2014*

"Gabriela Montero has spoken out forcefully against the pressures used by the Venezuelan regime to use El Sistema as a tool for its violent, corrupt and incompetent leadership and in support of its anti-US stance... Gabriela, who lives in the US, has nonetheless taken considerable personal risks in speaking out against the regime. It would be unfortunate, to say the least, if El Sistema supporters in the US and Europe were to take against her as a result of her courageous stance" - Norman Lebrecht writes on April 8, 2015*
* Indirect links are used when referencing Lebrecht's writings to avoid contributing to click bait inflation; the referenced material should appear at the top of the Google search results. Photo via the LooseLeaf Report. Any copyrighted material is included as "fair use" for critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Also on Facebook and Twitter.


Philip Amos said…
I'm close to losing all patience with certain blogs, ones I usually look at via All-Top. The quotations are classic Lebrecht. He self-destructs, for very occasionally his reporting is accurate, though his own comments rarely are. His problem is that unless you are already 'in the know', you can't rely on his reporting, certainly not his opinions, because he constantly self-contradicts.

His short report on the appointment of Piers Lane as Director of the Sydney Piano Competition is a little too blunt, but true. On the other hand, JD writes a rather ludicrously overblown blurb about the "respected" Sydney event, when a careful listen to the interview with Lane to which she herself provides a link, makes it clear that Lane's opinion is that the usual shenanigans have lost the competition respect and he intends to remedy that. He says this gently, but when you hear he intends to exclude from juries anyone who has prior acquaintance with competitors -- teachers, in short -- you know what he's getting at. And he has more to say. JD really needs to regain at least a little subtlty, for her post re an interview with writer Bernieres astonished me by putting at the start a longish paragraph on the wonders of Fera at Claridges. What is this now -- the Michelin?

Lastly, in the entire Sistema debate, one thing is ever-annoying: Blaming the Sistema rather than whatever use has been made of it by the Government, something still not satisfactorily clear to me, though I do not discount it. Blaming the system, as if it will result in the same in Scotland is, if I may be forgiven for knowingly extreme analogs, not much different logically from blaming hydrogen cyanide for the Holocaust or evil atoms for the atomic bomb.
Pliable said…
Thanks, as ever, for that comment Philip. This post, like a previous one that mentioned "celebrity interviews over lunch at braggable restaurants", has what I term a high discomfort ratio. This measures the ratio of readership (very high) to public comment for or against (very low). That high discomfort ratio tells us a thing or two about classical music today.

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