MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus on Twitter · Facebook · Flickr · Newsletters · Instagram 
Thursday, September 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 47.0° F  Fog/Mist
Collapse Photo Bar

Actually, I don't like the title of this thread.

Theater, Dance, Visual Arts, Music That Doesn't Rawk, Overture issues, etc.

Actually, I don't like the title of this thread.

Postby kurt_w » Fri Feb 07, 2014 8:08 am

The classical music world is in a minor uproar over the news that the famed Japanese deaf composer Mamoru Samuragochi is actually ... neither deaf nor a composer.

From the NY Times:

On Thursday, Japan learned that one of its most popular musical figures, Mamoru Samuragochi, 50, had staged an elaborate hoax in which someone else had secretly written his most famous compositions, and that he had perhaps even faked his hearing disability.

Across a nation long captivated by Western classical music, people reacted with remorse, outrage and even the rare threat of a lawsuit after Mr. Samuragochi’s revelations that he had hired a ghostwriter since the 1990s to compose most of his music. The anger turned to disbelief when the ghostwriter himself came forward to accuse Mr. Samuragochi of faking his deafness, apparently to win public sympathy and shape the Beethoven persona.


One of his (or, not his) pieces will be on the program at the Olympic figure skating competition in Sochi:

The scandal began on Wednesday, when Mr. Samuragochi publicly confessed that someone else had written his most famous works. These include Symphony No. 1 “Hiroshima,” about the 1945 atomic bombing of his home city, which became a classical music hit in Japan; the theme music for the video games Resident Evil and Onimusha; and Sonatina for Violin, which the Japanese Olympic figure skater Daisuke Takahashi is scheduled to use in his performance in Sochi.


That makes an interesting dilemma for the skater Takahashi, who won a bronze medal at Vancouver four years ago.

The actual composer of the works credited to Samuragochi is apparently Takashi Niigachi, a "largely unknown part-time lecturer" at a college of music in Tokyo.

Like all art fraud, this raises interesting questions about how and why we appreciate art/music, and how independent a work is from its creator.

Will Samuragochi's compositions still be performed and listened to, now that people know they were written by an obscure music teacher rather than the highly publicized deaf Japanese composer? Will people's assessment of their musical value change?
Last edited by kurt_w on Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5083
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: "Japanese Beethoven" a fraud?

Postby snoqueen » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:25 am

The world of the visual/material arts asks the same questions all the time.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/arts/ ... -real.html

A collection of forged paintings -- acknowledged forgeries, not just possible ones -- is touring the US this year. Some of the fake paintings are valued in the five figures. The show, titled "Intent to Deceive," has sparked plenty of discussion.

The works in “Intent to Deceive” are less art than artifacts; they have genuine historical significance. In that sense, these fakes underscore the persistent appeal of the real thing. Copies of a van Meegeren fake [as opposed to the actual fake, one supposes] would not command such costly security precautions or draw visitors.


or

...last year, Jonathon Keats, who wrote “Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age,” argued that “forgeries are more real than the real artworks they fake” because “they genuinely manipulate society rather than merely illustrating alternate points of view.”


Whatever that means.
snoqueen
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 11498
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:42 pm

Re: "Japanese Beethoven" a fraud?

Postby TheBookPolice » Fri Feb 07, 2014 10:48 am

snoqueen wrote:or
...last year, Jonathon Keats, who wrote “Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age,” argued that “forgeries are more real than the real artworks they fake” because “they genuinely manipulate society rather than merely illustrating alternate points of view.”

Whatever that means.

What it means is that, clearly, we live in a utopian age where Internet trolls are the true philosopher-kings.
TheBookPolice
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 8371
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 1:09 pm
Location: The mystical Far East

Re: "Japanese Beethoven" a fraud?

Postby kurt_w » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:35 am

There's quite a history of hoaxes and fakes in the world of classical music.

Most commonly, a minor composer or musician would put the name of a better-known colleague on his own composition, perhaps on the theory that it's better to be known as the discoverer of a long-lost masterpiece than ignored as the composer of original music that no one will ever listen to.

Fritz Kreisler is probably the best-known example.

The very, very famous Adagio in G Minor by "Albinoni" is a bit different; in that a lot of people seem to think it was a hoax but the original publication was pretty clear about the actual authorship.

My personal favorite musical hoaxer is the Soviet violinist Mikhail Goldstein, who secretly composed a number of works that he attributed to 18th/19th century Ukrainian composers. In his case, it seems that at least part of his motivation was revenge against anti-Semitic critics who claimed that as a Jew, Goldstein couldn't possibly write Ukrainian music or use it effectively in his compositions. Wanting to prove that you can so write Ukrainian music has got to be one of the odder motivations for a hoaxer.

Goldstein's case makes me a bit nervous, though, because he also edited and published an (excellent, IMHO) sonata for cello and piano by the great Russian (not Ukrainian!) composer Alexander Borodin. In this case, Goldstein apparently was explicit about his own role in completing and revising the work ... but one still wonders how much if any of it was actually written by Borodin. I sure hope there's an original manuscript out there somewhere in Borodin's own handwriting...

By way of contrast, this Japanese case seems to have been boringly financial -- the guy who actually wrote the music needed money, so he let someone else pay him to write it and to keep silent about the whole thing.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5083
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: "Japanese Beethoven" a fraud?

Postby rabble » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:44 am

The Japanese Beethoven is an interesting notion but doesn't really pique my interest. I will be more interested when the Japanese Beatles begin their tour.
rabble
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6157
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: "Japanese Beethoven" a fraud?

Postby kurt_w » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:46 am

They go on tour every summer, with the first stop being my hollyhocks.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5083
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: "Japanese Beethoven" a fraud?

Postby rabble » Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:53 am

kurt_w wrote:They go on tour every summer, with the first stop being my hollyhocks.

Now see, that's why these hoaxes never stop. Some of us will believe anything.
rabble
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6157
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:50 pm

Re: "Japanese Beethoven" a fraud?

Postby kurt_w » Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:27 pm

Actually, I hate the title of this thread.

There is no "Japanese Beethoven" except Beethoven himself.

Saul Bellow: Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus?

Ralph Wiley: Tolstoy is the Tolstoy of the Zulus.


Beethoven was sui generis, and belongs to all humanity.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5083
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Re: "Japanese Beethoven" a fraud?

Postby DCB » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:39 pm

kurt_w wrote:They go on tour every summer, with the first stop being my hollyhocks.

I usually see them first playing with the Raspberries.
DCB
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2648
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2008 5:08 pm


Return to The Arts

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


commentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR

Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar