Friday, December 16, 2005

Leggo My Ego

Reading about the Audubon Quartet's legal battle is both unbelievable and frightening. Common sense would dictate that if four people don't enjoy playing together and don't get along, the group splits, or at least the person who seems to be the culprit, whether true or not, will leave on his own. But because of an inflated ego, the fact that a lawsuit dragged on until remaining musicians had to declare bankruptcy, lose their home and worse yet, their instruments, is beyond belief. Everyone is ending up a loser, other than the lawyers who have laughed all the way to the bank. The 'winner' of the legal battle will not have too many supporters and I doubt fellow musicians are lining up to play chamber music with him in the near future.

Classical music is such a limited field, that making it difficult or impossible for someone to work and earn a livelihood, because of hurt feelings or whatever, is a severe blow in most cases. In many other professions one just looks for other employment in town and life goes on. Yet there are enough narcissistic and psychopathic musicians who are more than willing to do anything to destroy a colleague's life. I have enough examples that have touched my life, and stories told by others are plentiful. For example, a couple tried to prevent a fellow musician from getting work, using their connections in the media to humiliate the individual. In this case the attempt backfired and the culprits had to pack up and leave town in a hurry. The harassed musician is still employed, and the case ended as it should have.

Of course this kind of behavior is not only happening in the arts. Just remember the McCarthy era: my extended family had members who lost their important and lucrative positions, just because they were labeled 'communists', often for refusing to turn in names of their friends and colleagues. Blacklisting is a terrible thing and should be outlawed, and those guilty of it punished by law. In this country one is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but in truth it doesn't take much to taint someone's reputation. The nation feared communism in the fifties and it was almost impossible to try to convince others that a suspected person wasn't member of the party or supporter of their ideals, especially if he or she believed in the society's role in helping the less fortunate.

This is gift giving season and I wish everyone would get what they deserve. In many European countries St. Nicholas came early December with his horse and took bad children with him away to Spain. Father Christmas would show up later and bring the good ones presents. Children were careful to behave well and stay out of mischief. We should have the same system for grown-ups. I personally would have no problems with St.
Osama taking the nasty people with him to the caves on the Afganistan-Pakistan border.

Wisdom of the week: '
Happy are those who have not perfect pitch, for the kingdom of music is theirs.' How true.