The Symphonic Juncture

A [Symphonist]: "The one who is not afraid to raise the primal force."

- Boris Asafiev (1917)

THIS JUST IN, Bach said what? #CancelClassicalMusic

The Nazi Musicologist Richard Eichenauer had said, “...the fugue is blond and blue-eyed…” when referencing Bach’s music, particularly St John’s Passion, which was considered to be ‘Judeophobic’ due to its portrayal of Jews being responsible for the call for Jesus’s death. Mozart’s ‘Die Zauberflöte’ depicts the negative portrayal of a black person, and is plagued with the notion that ‘white is beautiful,’ and that women cannot fend for themselves, nor can they escape tyrannical dictatorship. Rachmaninoff only rose to significance because of his white privilege, and the fact that he was able to emigrate to America after seeing Russian reality is only a sign that he never truly acknowledged his white power. His ‘Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom’ is a sign of support for a man who touted homophobic and anti-Semitic epithets during his sermons, therefore Rachmaninoff must never be heard again. Rimsky-Korsakov, even though actively engaging in efforts to avoid being stereotypical in his Op. 35 Symphonic Suite, still dominated because of his whiteness, manliness, and unwillingness to give his platform to those who were equally as talented, if not more so. Charles Ives was a raging homophobic, who used insensitive slurs to downplay his rivals, going so far as to actively abandon a "supposed’ friend while he was in jail. Any attempt to justify Ives's comments as ‘of the times’ shows your implicit bias and support of historical white, male figures. Beethoven may be the worst of them all, not only because he was just an above average composer, but because of his whiteness, he was able to overshadow a plethora of composers who, perhaps less influential, could have been bigger than Beethoven ever was, case in point Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Ignore the fact that Samuel really only had one popular work, sold the rights for an extremely low value, and was ostensibly shy.

Then we have Wagner, the notorious Anti-Semite and outright proto-Nazi, who had stated that he was, “the last German who knows how to hold himself upright in the face of Jewry, which already rules everything. But lest you think these men were the only wrong doers in Classical music past, there was also Robert and Clara Schumann who, by way of a archived letter, had said to each other, Jews remain Jews…don't put yourself out too much,” concerning the personality of Mendelssohn. There was also Tchaikovsky who, in his famous Op.71, the ‘Nutcracker Suite,’ he routinely utilizes yellowface, a stereotypical portrayal of a Moor, and a REALLY incriminating finger posture which has no racist connotation except what can be conjured up in one’s mind. Puccini must also be mentioned because, as a white composer, he portrayed Japanese culture in a racially insensitive way in his opera, ‘Madame Butterfly, and every performance of his ethnically-charged opera’s is yet another show of support for a white-dominated mindset of Asian culture. Verdi, another operatic heavy weight, must also be let go as he both engaged in prejudicial exoticism, in operas like ‘The Pearl Fishers’ and ‘Aida’, but also racist stereotyping of the black male form in his opera, ‘Otello,’ where the black man is painted as the violent aggressor, who kills the innocent, white woman. Maurice Ravel’s usage of ragtime and jazz in his compositions was a notable feat, but the failure to acknowledge the influences origins showcased that he, in fact, was adhering to white, Eurocentric modalities, that not only positioned him on top of the musical hierarchy, but actively dominated over his influences which, due to their respective home culture, were seen as inferior and unworthy of being situated into the vernacular of modern, musical life. Amy Beach’s willingness to stay home, and let her husband be the breadwinner only showed the depth of her white, male supremacist conditioning. She couldn’t think for herself, and was ultimately convinced that to submit and be a submissive wife was better. She even convinced herself that her role was that of a household slave.

These 14 composers should be expunged from the Classical canon because the performance of their works imprint Classical music with traces of racism, misogyny, sexism, and white supremacy. They only seek to diminish the potential of other, unknown composers and their possible entrance into the standard, musical canon. Just like a notable Historical figure once said about his relationship with God, “... I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator,” so too is the cleansing of Classical music of figures unworthy of praise linked with the noble pursuit of diversity-first. Again, in the words of a noble scholar, “In a nutshell, black people, being the original genetic template are the only fully NORMAL people on the planet.” Beethoven and Bach’s era is no longer, the era of the black composer is upon us. Praise be to the Black composer. The Western musical world no longer needs Chopin, Faure, Ravel, Prokofiev, Verdi, or any of these white men. Who cares what they contributed to the lineage of Classical music, they are white. That is all that matters. Therefore, do not support their racist ideology by listening to their music, or attending their performances. If you do, you are not only supporting racism and sexism, but white colonization of a traditionally African art-form, as music stemmed originally from Africa, and was colonized by the West. Fat Joe said this message in black and white, “all music is African, therefore your love of Schubert is love of African music.


If the tone of the previous comments was not obvious, these three paragraphs are meant to be satire. But the issue is that there are those, currently part of the global community, that actively believe some, if not all, of these poorly formulated, and downright idiotic beliefs. The stated information concerning each Composer is accurate, but the reason for bringing it up is to point to the fact that many, if not all, standard canon composers have negative aspects tied to them. To only ‘stand’ and support Composers who have a crystalline background is excessive at best, and childlike at worst, as pretending as if 21st century morals apply to 18th and 19th century figures only births one result. That is a circular narrative of malformed, confirmation bias, where the accusatory party can literally find anything to push their position forward. The prime example being the traditional, single finger hand position during the Tea variation from The Nutcracker. One source ‘found’ the hand position to be a racist depiction of Chinese culture, but had no evidence, nor any archival records to back up this assertion. If anything that isn’t accompanied with a description is able to be interpreted in any subjective way, regardless of the validity of such assumption, then what is to say that ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ isn’t actually poking fun and ridiculing the Irish and their folklore? What is to say that ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s bestfriend’ is just Marilyn’s internalized victim complex at the hands of a white, male-dominated culture? One could go so far as to say that the usage of melody, and the ubiquitousness of its position within music is a symbol of white colonization and racial prejudice, as traditional African and pre-Slavery music was not built directly with melody, but was more drum and beat oriented. Therefore, when one sings or composes using a melody, they are actively supporting and furthering a racist, white, Eurocentric doctrine of musical creationism.

If you want to live your life in accordance to cancel-culture doctrine, then you must also accept that there are things you cannot do, listen to, support, contribute to, purchase, compliment, look at, and visit. Additionally, if you at any point violate the vacillating, ever-expanding doctrine, not only only are you susceptible to being kicked out of mainstream society, but by the opposite side, you are seen as hypocritical. You actively support(ed) Cancel culture, and its myriad of unachievable goals and regulations, but at the same you cho(o)se to violate certain principles because it is(was) easier for you to simply cherry pick the definition of such rules. What is not codified is if Cancel-Culture sees being white as worse than racism, or if racism is worse than homophobia. By this logic, who is to say that being misogynistic is worse than being white, or prejudicial, or purposefully mean spirited? There is no codified hierarchy of societal indiscretions, therefore what is more important to purge from society depends on who is doing the purging. This unmitigated attempt to quite literally purge anything that can be codified as ‘white’ from every level of mainstream society, irregardless of who the person is or what they contributed, is itself promoting a circular ‘discussion’ on race, where the white person’s value is reduced, and the ‘other’ is bolstered, with the unapologetic omission of societal contribution, or global impact on the side of the 'white' person. Phillip Ewell’s comments that Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is simply another work in the compositional, global framework is completely flawed, and ignores all impact of this seminal work. He goes so far as to say that the Symphony compares to Spalding’s ‘12 Little Spells’ which is a laughably incoherent comparison. To compare a singular studio album, although it collected an Grammy earlier this year, to a highly refined, and phenomenally constructed Symphonic work, which has been performed hundreds of times, and its most famous movement ‘Ode to Joy’ being reconstructed in a myriad of ways, is illogical. It is quite disappointing that this mentality and defective 'scholarly' opinion stemmed from a Professor, as one would hope that Musicologists of all kinds would understand just how impactful this Symphony was, as it broke open the gates of what a traditional Symphony was, and had to look like.

Think for yourself, because no one else will do it for you. If you find that a claim is incoherent, visibly flawed, or downright asinine, say something. Just because someone is a ‘position of power’ does not mean that they are correct. This line of thinking applies not only to ‘white men,’ but to Professors, teachers, and all persons of Academic or Professional positionship. Group-think can be eradicated if one person speaks up, then another, and a subsequent abundance of oppositional thinking bursts forth. However, it must be done with extreme caution, as the Bolshevik Revolution started this way, American cancel-culture started this way, and even Nazi Germany was born this way, by an ignorant minority turned majority. American society is quickly turning pseudo-Bolshevik, as everything that endangers the continuation of the majority's imaginative fallacy is labelled extremist, harmful, hateful, bigoted, and other imagined, false pejoratives. Soviet citizens were exteriorly convinced that Soviet Russia was the cream of the crop, the ultimate worker’s paradise. But slowly, and surely, that crystal kingdom slowly broke down, and towards the end of the 20th century, citizens no longer wanted to live badgered by Propaganda day in and day out. Unfortunately, America hasn’t gotten to that point yet, and we are still in the 1910s, fighting among ourselves for power and ideological supremacy, to the point where our own citizens are being killed because of downright lies being told by certain groups of politicians, granted power to supposedly take care of the working class. Wake up America, look around and realize that our Institutions, both media and Academic in content, are lying to you. Beethoven was and is amazing, suck it up.

Dr. Phillip Ewell's blog-post about Beethoven can be found here. It is part of a six-part series.

O, you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn or misanthropic, how greatly

do you wrong me. You do not know the secret cause which makes me seem that way to you, and I would have ended my life - it was only my art that held me back. Ah, it seemed impossible to leave the world until I had brought forth all that I felt was within me.

-Ludwig von Beethoven (1770-1827)

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