Jump to content


This site uses cookies. By using this site, you agree to accept cookies, unless you've opted out. (US government web page with instructions to opt out: http://www.usa.gov/optout-instructions.shtml)

Tchaikovsky's Gay -- ahem -- Music


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,555 posts

Posted 09 December 2002 - 04:17 PM

This appeared in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine. Dirk Olin talks to music scholars about the composer's music and status in the canon, and, of course, his sex life:



http://www.nytimes.c...ne/08CRASH.html

#2 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 09 December 2002 - 04:33 PM

Gee, if Tchaikovsky's music is inherently gay, I wonder if Brahms' music is inherently misogynist, or Beethoven's inherently deaf, or Mendelssohn's inherently hemorrhagic?;)

#3 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,555 posts

Posted 09 December 2002 - 04:57 PM

My thoughts, exactly.

#4 Leigh Witchel

Leigh Witchel

    Editorial Advisor

  • Editorial Advisor
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,466 posts

Posted 09 December 2002 - 06:12 PM

Do click on the link though. I don't think Olin writes from one camp or the other, he seems to present both sides of that issue and the broader one of Tchaikosky's reputation among composers. It's interesting to come from ballet, where Tchaikovsky is loved (Balanchine's Tchaikovsky by Simon Volkov is a fascinating read - Balanchine's projection of the ethos of an artist as craftsperson onto Tchaikovsky) and read about modern musicians' disdain for him. I think there's a lot to admire in his work, more than just his orchestration skill, which they seem to admit grudgingly. How many composers can actually write music that not only convers drama but can support theater or dance? It's a painfully underrated skill. Milton Babbitt may loathe Tchaikovsky, but I don't know if I could sit through a full evening Milton Babbitt ballet.

#5 Alexandra

Alexandra

    Board Founder

  • Administrators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 9,263 posts

Posted 09 December 2002 - 06:14 PM

I think in the real world -- the nonballet world, That Other World -- Tchaikovsky has been Out in a big way for years. At least since I was in college. Total scorn, total disdain. Not as bad as Rachmaninoff, but close. Glazunov, now he's so Out he's Cool, but Tchaikovsky is just plain OUT. Maybe thinking of him as The Gay Composer is an attempt to rehabilitate him!

#6 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 09 December 2002 - 07:25 PM

Back in the 50s, it was the Thing to Do to knock Tchaikovsky "because all he was, was LOUD!" The humorist Gerard Hoffnung, creator of the Hoffnung Concerts at Festival Hall in London, took up this challenge and provided a medley of Tchaikovsky melodies (The introduction to Symphony #5, the scherzo of #6, and the march from Overture 1812. It was played by the Dolmetsch ensemble, on recorders and other ancient (read mellow) instruments. In the 1812 sequence the cannon effects were provided by cork popguns.

#7 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 25,555 posts

Posted 10 December 2002 - 10:04 AM

I didn't intend to imply that Olin thinks Tchaikovsky's music is inherently gay. It's plain from the article that he's soliciting opinions.

Tchaikovsky has actually been The Gay Guy for quite awhile, and some think that it hurt his reputation. Not that critics would state right out, "He's a homo and therefore bad," but they would use adjectives like "neurotic," "hysterical," etc. Taruskin writes about this somewhere, I think.

#8 Mel Johnson

Mel Johnson

    Diamonds Circle

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,311 posts

Posted 10 December 2002 - 02:08 PM

Or as Eric Idle put it one time on "Monty Python", "Tchaikovsky - tortured genius, suffering to obtain his art, or was 'e just an old pouf who wrote tunes?"


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):