But of course politics is relevant when discussing music of the Communist or Nazi periods, simply because the governments of those states made it so. The insistence on certain styles inevitably influenced composers of the era, either by conforming to the official line or by rebelling against it. It is extremely unfair to condemn the 'conformists' for their unwillingness to risk their careers or indeed their lives (and those of their families) in order to 'take a stand' - and at the same time it is easy with the benefit of hindsight to endorse the attitude of 'rebels' simply by virtue of the fact that they did take such a stand. As such, politics is inevitably relevant to the business of music criticism, but the reviewer should be very reluctant to take any sort of absolute position on the subject; and should certainly attempt to avoid passing judgement on anyone because of their political views.
I can hardly be accused - nor, I suspect can any music critic active today - of taking part in a racially inspired campaign against Kubelik, or indeed Rankl or Solti, during their tenures as music directors at Covent Garden. Unfortunately such prejudices were active in some circles at the time, but they were hardly confined to Britain; nor were they confined to the critical fraternity. I would hope that things have changed for the better.
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