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Just in: Gidon Kremer will play for Pussy Riot, Anna Politkovskaya and other Russian victims

This has just arrived from the desk of the great violinist:

 

kremer

 

Annecy, Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My dear Colleagues and Friends in Art and Music

I am writing to ask you to support us musicians from all over the world who will be gathering in Berlin on 7 October to play a concert in support of the innocent victims of violence and human rights violations in Russia, and to show solidarity with all those who hold dear that country’s future.

7 October was the day in 2006, on which the renowned journalist and human rights activist, Anna Politkovskaya, was murdered in Moscow. Over the past decade the death toll and list of dubiously convicted people in Russia have grown exponentially. They include not only journalists and human rights activists, but also business people, lawyers, and musicians. The names of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, Sergei Magnitsky (the lawyer who died in prison), Pussy Riot punk group members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alekhina are known the world over. These names have become symbols of resistance to arbitrary power and unjust jurisprudence.

The trials are currently underway of the so-called Bolotnaya Prisoners – the young people who dared take to the streets to demand their constitutional rights. An unprecedentedly harsh sentence has recently been imposed on the rural schoolteacher, Ilya Farber, who fell victim to corrupt local officials.

We are musicians, we are a peaceful people, our ‘weapon’ is music, our aim – to create, not destroy, and our main goal is harmony. And so we cannot remain indifferent to other people’s suffering. Compassion is the basis of all morality. Many great artists of the past upheld these principals. Among them Pablo Casals, Slava Rostropovich, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Yehudy Menuhin and many others. We live today and being motivated by high standards of humanism, should be able to continue walking in their “footsteps”.

It is naive to believe that our joint action can dramatically change something and justice will prevail. Dostoevsky’s famous words that ‘beauty will save the world’ evidently also sound naive. But we do choose idealism and do believe in miracles.

Our goal is not only to create and conjure wonderful sounds, but also to bring effective help to all those who are in real need. As great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin said:
“And to the people long shall I be dear because kind feelings did my lyre extol, invoking freedom in the age of fear, and mercy for the broken soul”

I sincerely hope that you will respond to my appeal, and share our standpoint and our action.

Thanking you in advance,

Sincerely yours, Gidon Kremer

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Comments

  1. Neil van der Linden says:

    Talking about Kremer, just when the new Slipped Discs came in, I was trying to find Gidon Kremer’s recording of the wonderful violin concerto by (Shostakovich) friend Qara Qarayev, a sort of national hero now in Azarbaijan.
    Kremer’s recording is not on youtube, but is is on mp3 through Amazon.
    Here is another treasure that is on youtube, the first movement of Qarayev’s violin concerto, here not with Gidon Kremer but with Jamila Garayusifli and nobody less than violinist Maxim Vengerov (!) conducting the Azarbaijna State Orchestra http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkDWIKJAdYc

  2. Neil van der Linden says:

    But good that Kremer does this.. Another violinist speaking out and using his fame to express some not purely artistic ideas when such artist feels it is necessary.

  3. For sure the time will come when we all shall have to stand up and be counted……………One must act out of ones consciousness, to be truly human there is no other option………And, for me personally Dostoevsky was correct in stating. “Beauty will save the World.” Rey.

  4. Well said, Gidon! It is very good of you to organize this.

  5. Marathonrunner says:

    He also should play for Snowden, Manning and Syria in support of the innocent victims of violence and human rights violations in USA.

    • He is a very intelligent person and he knows that he should not be making statements about things he does not know very well. Some of the commenters here would do us all a favor if they followed his example.

  6. When is Valery Gergiev going to make a statement? Given how long he has been silent, he should now be compelled to make a statement…

    • He does not owe any of us any statements. Compelling anyone to say things sounds very Stalinist to me. If you don’t like his silence, you don’t have to attend his performances or buy his recordings.

      • I don’t attend his performances or buy his recordings… not because I think he is a terrible human being (which he undoubtedly is), but because I think he is a terrible musician…

        • Lucky for you to be completely free of any doubt, but since you are so sure that this man is “terrible” all around, it seems quite odd that you are so eager to hear his statements.

  7. Politkovskaya, yes, absolutely.
    Khodorkovsky on the other hand, seriously? He is a thug.
    Pussy Riot? Yes their prison sentence is ridiculous, but so are their “protests”.

    I think Politkovskaya would turn in her grave if she knew which names are put at her side for the same cause.

    But it’s good to know that I have to publicly masturbate or desecrate religious sites in order for a concert by Gidon Kremer and friends in my name.

  8. The big issue is not about comparative qualities of different victims of repression – which ones of them are mostly nice and which ones are closer to naughty – but about what is happening to the country with which Gidon Kremer is very familiar.

    • What is happening to the country? Do you know it? The problem is that 99% of the people who have opinions about what is happening in Russia have not the slightest clue about what is happening in Russia. The mainstream press isn’t helping either, quite to the contrary.

      • Knowing the exact percentages is always helpful, so thanks for providing us with precise number. In that case, Gidon Kremer definitely belongs to the 1% of those people who know very well what they are talking about.

  9. what a bad and unfortunate timing for such a concert!I am not fan of Putin, but the world situation at the moment is delicate enough to have reserves towards such a concert.

    I am surprised also at the fact that musicians of Latvian, Georgian etc. descent want to make a concert against another countries president. For decades Latvians and Georgians were opressed by the Russian regime, but now that they are free of it, they don’t seem to be able to get away from it. It is a love-hate relationship towards Russia that I find difficult to understand.

    On the other hand, it is easy to make such a concert as long as the fees in Russia are very small. The US deserves many such concerts as well, but at the moment pays higher fees to musicians. I would love to see Kremer and his entourage have the courage to speak out against the US. Now, THAT would be a concert!

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