Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

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Lance
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Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by Lance » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:16 pm

We don't hear much about Levine's situation currently. When one traverses the legacy this great musician has left, and now at this point in his life, he seems to be avoided musically with regard to the playing of his live Met performances, and/or recordings of him in front of an orchestra or in collaboration with other artists. I don't hear any Levine or Dutoit recordings on PBS stations. I have heard Dutoit's recordings with the Montreal Symphony, but only the orchestra is named; the conductor is not. It is indeed a shame that such a great musician's legacy is hampered now at this late stage of their lives. I doubt time will heal this situation for Levine, but maybe in years to come. Dutoit, given his situation, stands, perhaps, a better chance to recover from his activities since it didn't involve children.

Has there been any updates on the Levine situation? And do you think his great musical legacy, live or on recordings, will fall away. Before all this happened, I had planned to do a multi-program tribute to Levine. I believe it would not be accepted by the listening public, following NPR's stance on the matter. Opinions?
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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by maestrob » Sat Jan 27, 2018 12:47 pm

Sad to say, Lance, that I agree you should avoid giving air time to Levine at this point. Amazon has not pulled his many recordings, however, so they remain available. I just bought 2 copies of the MET's 100 yr. Anniversary Gala, of which I attended the afternoon concert as a guest of Kurt Baum, and sat in Box #1 with Lorenzo Alvary and Rose Bampton. The concert was overwhelming, with the finest "In questa reggia..." by Eva Marton, and a choral "Hymm to the Sun" from Mascagni's "Iris" led by David Stivender. The evening concert was no less impressive: I watched it at home with friends.

Great music-making survives scandal, and I believe that despite Levine's disgraceful conduct, his musical legacy will survive and endure.

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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by barney » Sat Jan 27, 2018 5:18 pm

I agree with Brian. If you did a tribute now, it would be seen as a political statement, probably one diminishing the seriousness of sexual abuse of power.
For myself, I will still listen to the many Levine recordings I treasure. I'll be listening to the notes, not thinking about the moral deficiences of the conductor. I still listen to Karajan, Strauss, Carl Orff (though hardly at all the latter, not for political reasons) etc. But I would not criticise anyone of a more tender conscience who bans Levine from their CD player.

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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by John F » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:16 pm

It's less than 2 months since those scandalous news stories broke, James Levine was suspended at the Met, and general manager Peter Gelb ordered an investigation. No new accusations have been made since then, and the Illinois police to whom the complaints were made have announced they will bring no criminal charges against him. When the Met's investigation will end, and what will happen then, is anybody's guess.

With things as they are, I agree that this is the wrong time to pay tribute to Levine. Even if no further charges are brought, the sorry business is still fresh in people's memory. When he retires or dies (he's 74 and has had health problems for many years), that would be a suitable occasion. Or if the investigation comes up empty, Levine's suspension ends, and he returns to conducting, that would be suitable too. Meanwhile, I think not.

By the way, your subject is "Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine," but I don't see that in your message.
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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by Lance » Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:41 pm

Well, my conversation about Levine started whilst talking with the conductor. That's what prompted this post. I forgot to include that! I'm getting old, I fear! :)

The general consensus thus far is to NOT pay a tribute to Levine, which was my original plan after all this mess occurred. Does everyone feel the same about Dutoit?
John F wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:16 pm
By the way, your subject is "Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine," but I don't see that in your message.
Lance G. Hill
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by jbuck919 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:12 pm

Lance wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:41 pm
Well, my conversation about Levine started whilst talking with the conductor. That's what prompted this post. I forgot to include that! I'm getting old, I fear! :)

The general consensus thus far is to NOT pay a tribute to Levine, which was my original plan after all this mess occurred. Does everyone feel the same about Dutoit?
Yes. And the dozens of conductors who have gotten away with it, if and when they are discovered.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by John F » Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:01 pm

Lance wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:41 pm
Does everyone feel the same about Dutoit?
Unless you deliberately want to provoke controversy, at the risk of losing at least some of your audience, I don't see the point of seeking out classical musicians in disgrace, one after another, while the scandal is still reverberating.
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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by Ricordanza » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:29 am

Lance wrote:
Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:41 pm
Does everyone feel the same about Dutoit?
Yes. This would be the wrong time to feature Dutoit in a radio broadcast.

That being said, I will certainly not discard my Dutoit CDs, nor will the recent revelations erase my memories of many outstanding Philadelphia Orchestra concerts under his direction.

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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by RebLem » Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:11 pm

I am not so sure it is a good idea to make all sexual abusers, regardless of their more positive contributions to society, non-persons. One thing for sure, though. If you do a tribute, you should confront the issue directly. You should not just ignore it and let it slide.


What's next? Should we ban the reading of Plato?
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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by jbuck919 » Sun Jan 28, 2018 2:37 pm

RebLem wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:11 pm
I am not so sure it is a good idea to make all sexual abusers, regardless of their more positive contributions to society, non-persons. One thing for sure, though. If you do a tribute, you should confront the issue directly. You should not just ignore it and let it slide.


What's next? Should we ban the reading of Plato?
You know perfectly well that Plato is a completely different case. His Socrates never abused anybody by any stretch of the imagination. It is of the essence of Plato's genius that Socrates, according to tradition an ugly man (as is, alas, James Levine, and continuing the analogy, Socrates was married and had children, which is also true of Levine), seduced young men, not boys, with the power of his mind.

Still, it is true that the US is on a witch hunt in the matter of men loving presumably teenage boys (and girls, cf Roman Polanski). The taboo is so strict that I dare not share any gray areas in my thoughts online. To say anything other than that they're all bastards would be to invite the wrath of, if not God, then his self-appointed earthly representatives.

I have not posted this up to now, but a former member here, and you can take a good guess who he was, reported in a PM that he had seen Levine twice at a restaurant near Lincoln Center having what can only be called a romantic lunch with a teenage boy. He actually did not say it was Levine, just a famous and great conductor, and he eliminated Bernstein, so there can be no doubt who he meant.



I have avoided

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by John F » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:22 am

RebLem wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:11 pm
I am not so sure it is a good idea to make all sexual abusers, regardless of their more positive contributions to society, non-persons.
Nobody in this thread is suggesting such a thing. But if a musician's private life is controversial in the wrong way, as these conductors now are, any tribute to them must also be controversial unless the controversy dies down or is disposed of. It's about timing.
John Francis

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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by jserraglio » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:52 am

RebLem wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:11 pm
I am not so sure it is a good idea to make all sexual abusers, regardless of their more positive contributions to society, non-persons.
Levine hasn't become a non-person, just persona non grata.

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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by RebLem » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:20 pm

jserraglio wrote:
Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:52 am
RebLem wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:11 pm
I am not so sure it is a good idea to make all sexual abusers, regardless of their more positive contributions to society, non-persons.
Levine hasn't become a non-person, just persona non grata.
I'm not sure what this means. Does it mean that if I listen to a Levine CD, and take pleasure from it, I am not allowed to share my delight with others, because it might be offensive to them? If I like his performances, as I often do, does it mean I should keep it a secret?
Don't drink and drive. You might spill it.--J. Eugene Baker, aka my late father
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."--Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S. Carolina.
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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by jserraglio » Wed Jan 31, 2018 3:39 pm

Metropolitan Opera House
March 20-April 24, 2004 Matinee Broadcasts

Der Ring des Nibelungen
Met Orchestra
Conductor: James Levine

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Listened this month.

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Re: Talking to a well-known conductor about Levine ...

Post by jbuck919 » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:49 pm

Persona non grata (an unacceptable person) is a quasi-legal term which refers to someone who is not welcome on given premises and will be forthwith expelled from same if found on them. Everyone here who attended a private university is familiar with the concept.

Now are you ready for a topic switch to Star Trek, the Next Generation? In one episode, Worf agrees to accepting discommonation, a real British word which means the same as persona non grata and refers to being denied the use of the common at some place such as Oxford or Cambridge. I know what I heard on first broadcast, but apparently they got a lot of mail insisting that the word should be "discommendation," also a real though rather clumsy word, so they went back and dubbed over "discommonation," though in all my years of trying I have never been able to convince anyone of that change.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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