By Jacob Stockinger
For generations, the conquests of the legendary Don Juan were treated as seductions.
But were they really rape?
One blog writer for slate.com – Bonnie Gordon, who teaches a class on music and gender at the University of Virginia — draws a link between the charismatic historic nobleman and the current charges of “womanizing” and allegations of sexual assault made against Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (below).
She raises questions about what is sexual assault, seduction and rape – and how the definitions of a “rape culture” have changed over time and depending on whether it comes from a man’s or a woman’s point of view.
She pegged her essay to LAST weekend’s broadcast performance of the opera by “Live From the Met in HD” with Simon Keenlyside in the title role. In the YouTube video at the bottom, with English subtitles, Don Juan’s servant Leporello sings an aria about his master’s thousands of “conquests.”
But despite the week that has passed since the broadcast of the production, to The Ear the essay still seems relevant as the national election approaches.
Here is a link to that essay:
What do you think about the essay and its main argument or point?
The Ear wants to hear.
By Jacob Stockinger
Politically, this has been a historic week and a week to remember for women.
Democrat Hillary Clinton (below), the former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, became the first woman to win the presidential nomination – barring something unexpected or a surprising turn of events – of a major political party in the United States.
So it also seems a good time to take a long look back to the 17th century and discover women composers who were overlooked and who failed to crack the glass ceiling of artistic fame or sexism in the arts in their own lifetimes.
They include the Baroque composer Barbara Strozzi, the Romantic composers Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel and Clara Schumann (below top, in a photo from Getty Images), and the modern composers Lili Boulanger and Elizabeth Maconchy (below bottom).
(You can hear a lovely Romance for solo piano by Clara Schumann, a virtuoso pianist who championed the works of her husband Robert Schumann, in the YouTube video at the bottom.)
The Ear doubts there is a better guide than Anna Beer (below top, in a photo by Jeff Overs) and her new book “Sounds and Sweet Airs: Forgotten Women of Classical Music” (below bottom):
The historian and writer recently spoke with Rachel Martin of NPR or National Public Radio, about her history. Here is a link to the blog site, which also has links to related stories:
By Jacob Stockinger
Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson has been in the news this week as his campaign flounders with the loss of its manager, deputy manager and communications director, who all resigned.
A while back, The Ear complained about too little attention being paid to the arts by the candidates and questioners during the Republican and Democratic presidential debates.
Here is a link to the posting:
But now Dr. Ben Carson (below) – whose politics seem downright bizarre to The Ear – has indeed talked about classical music, including the music he listened to, and made others listen to, in the operating room.
True, in this interview he doesn’t talk about funding the arts. And one must assume that his conservative, small government policies would probably undermine any support for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Public Radio (NPR) and the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).
The Ear guesses, perhaps wrongly, that Dr. Ben Carson is or will be a defender of defunding.
But at least it is a start. And given his earlier comments and complaints, The Ear feels obliged to be honest and pass it along:
And in honor of Carson — who especially loves the Baroque composers Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi and Arcangelo Corelli — here is a YouTube recording of one of his favorites: the Symphony No. 8 “Unfinished” by Franz Schubert as performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the baton of the late music director and conductor George Solti: