26 June 2012

Please, stop these unfounded accusations on Bruckner

Anton Bruckner has been plagued by too many nasty stereotypes even till this day. Many of these labellings were based on a mixture, of varying proportions, of misunderstanding, misinformation, prejudice or simply a mindless spreading of the rumour. This will influence not only people's impressions of his personality, but also opinion and appreciation of his music. Fortunately many of these wrong labels have been disputed against in books and journal articles in recent years, but while we think that the situation is improving, here comes a remark by Norman Lebrecht linking Bruckner with anti-Semitism. 

On page 40 of his book published in 2010, Why Mahler?, Lebrecht writes: “Mahler calls Bruckner his 'father-in-learning', overlooking his repeated disparagements of Mahler’s Jewishness. It is the price he has to pay for having a mentor.”  The word "repeated" when coupled with "disparagements of Mahler's Jewishness" makes a very strong accusation. If this statement were quoted repeatedly in future, what it implies would have become "truth" to many. Some would say that it is no big deal, as Bruckner was already a dead man more than 100 years ago. If this is the case, where are the values we are holding dear to our heart: respect and justice?

Mr Ken Ward, Editor of The Bruckner Journal, has made great efforts to analyse Lebrecht's accusation in a scholarly manner and found that it is basically unfounded. I have high respect to Mr Ward who has taken so much time and trouble to bring us the evidence. His well evidence-based article, Bruckner, Mahler and Anti-Semitism, appears in the current issue of The Bruckner Journal and it can be read online here (hosted in Mr John Berky's website).

I sincerely appeal to you to read this article and help stop the rumour. We should treat Bruckner with the respect that he deserves.

1 comment:

  1. Mahler proved to be a man without character - he left Judaism to convert to Christianism for pure opportunism - to get a job in the Vienna Orchester. He was thus a renegade and nourished a weel-known feeling amongst Jews - Selbsthass.
    Joaquim Kaddosh
    Lisbon, Portugal