From Joshua Kosman, the fine classical music critic of the San Francisco Chronicle, comes this reaction to my post about the Shostakovich ad:
The SF Symphony had a marketing director once who was perfectly capable in many areas, just not really as marketing director of a symphony orchestra. She lasted a *very* short time. The best mistake she made — the one people still cackle over — was the ad she conceived and approved in connection with the Symphony’s performance of Babi Yar on 2/14.
I can’t remember the details, but it was actually a Valentine’s deal, something like “Treat your honey to Shostakovich’s great Symphony No. 13″ or some damn thing. No one who knew better saw it until it was way too late.
That symphony, for those who might not know it, is a vocal piece in many movements, premiered (not exactly to the delight of the Soviet communists) in the early 1960s. It condemns Soviet anti-Semitism, worries that Stalin’s terror will return, and commiserates with beaten-down Soviet women lined up for hours to buy food.