Mr. Kraus is perfectly entitled to find any association between composers or performers with that regime repugnant and to find his appreciation of their work consequentially compromised. Presumably he would extend this repugnance to those Russian composers who made similar distasteful compromises with the regime in Stalin's Russia.
That is an honourable position. It presumably condemns these composers and musicians to permanent oblivion aand it was my impression that the passing of time had brought at least some of us to a position of greater understanding of the frailty of human nature in some of those who lived and worked in these countries. It was also my impression that again some at least of us were prepared to make a distinction between an understandable distaste (or perhaps even contempt) for the individual's 'political' activities and the music he produced or performed.
For many today-probably a considerable majority-von Karajan's qualities as a conductor outweigh other considerations.
Yet whilst on the one hand telling us that there "is little in these perky and pleasant sonatas that brings to mind the Third Reich" Mr. Kraus goes on to refer to say "these pieces are not bad for Nazi music". "Nazi music"?? Mr. Kraus may be convinced that Frommel was a Nazi-there are conflicting interpretations of his relationship with the regime-but do we label music by the political affiliation of the composer. Should one refer to the music of Alan Bush as "Communist music" since Alan Bush was an admirer of Soviet Russia and a supporter of Communism?
Does Mr. Kraus know any more of Frommel's compositions? The Symphony No.1 for example is not by any stretch of the imagination 'great music' but I would rather listen to it than to the music produced by Hans Werner Henze during his infatuation with Castro's Cuba.
I repeat that I understand and respect those who cannot bring themselves to listen to the music of a composer like Frommel. It is-I repeat-an honourable position. I loathe and detest National Socialism-as I am sure we all do-but I do have a problem with casting into oblivion all those who, for whatever reason, had a blemished record during that era. It is, I think, up to each of us to make a balanced judgment and I would prefer to make mine on purely musical grounds.
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