Page 2, 31st August 1962

31st August 1962
Page 2
Page 2, 31st August 1962 — Edinburgh Festival attack

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Organisations: Communist Party


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Edinburgh Festival attack

SIR,-Even under a Reign of Terror, one is not obliged deliberately to seek martyrdom. '1 he Armenian Catholics lived as quietly and unobtrusively as possible under the Turkish persecutions of the 18th and 19th centuries; some endured to pass on their precious heritage. The German hierarchy did not provoke Hitler too far, or it could scarcely have survived.

Shostakovich has had his brushes with authority, too; he wrote banal works at the behest of his Communist bosses, but he knows and we know they will soon be forgotten. Western music is the music of redeemed humanity and Shostakovich lies directly in this tradition.

His best works, easily recognisable as such on both sides of the Iron Curtain, owe nothing to the official view of Communist Man.

Like Pasternak, Shostakovich is protesting in the only way he knows how-through his art. By making him Guest of Honour. we are showing that we recognise his genius and appreciate his difficulties. No musiclover is likely to join the Communist Party because of his twelve symphonies.

1, for one, am glad that Shostakovich has survived to give us his Violin Concerto and his Quartet No. 8. These are works Christians can enjoy-except, possibly, Colm Brogan. M. Doughty 21 Lawn Road,


SIR.-Mr. Colm Brogan's attack on the Edinburgh Festival for being "heavily weighted with Iron Curtain performers and material" provides yet another example of the mania prevalent among many Catholics for seeing everything in proor anti-Communist terms.

"This delusory vision" (to quote Professor J. Cameron, Search. May) "is enormously consoling, for it gives one a single criterion for evaluating men and events; but it involves a resolute turning away from the complexities and ambiguities of the actual world to the spurious clarities of a world ruled by angels and demons, not men. Such a vision does immense spiritual harm, and is morally degrading."

Mr. Shostakovich is one of the greatest living composers. It is reasonable and honourable to show our gratitude for his art and the pleasure it has given us. Only those who have lived and worked under the Soviet regime can know the difficulties and tensions that Mr. Shostakovich has faced. If Mr. Brogan had been in his place, would he have done better ?

And why attack the Earl of Harewood who is doing a difficult job superlatively well 7 An article of this petty outlook provokes anger and contempt against Catholics. rightly so. Its appearance in your paper is a sad lapse from your customary levels of courtesy and charity.

Anthony Milner London, S.E.3.

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