The New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s recent visit to North Korea has stirres a hornet’s nest in world opinion.

While the US media hailed the event as historic (which it no doubt was) 

 http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/02/26/nyphilharmonic.nkorea/index.html,

opinions elsewhere were less congratulatory to put it mildly.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3512560,00.html

I’m no politician & have never understood how the game is played. I’ve never understood for example, how the gift of a pair of pandas from the People’s Republic of China to Taiwan can improve relations between them. Why does there have to be such a lot of symbolic gestures? Why not just knuckle down & make peace?

Having said that, I was a little disappointed to have missed the live broadcast of the concert. I switched on the telly just in time to hear the encore “Arirang” (apparently a Korean patriotic song) being played. I also watched a snippet of the Stars & Stripes in a later broadcast. 

It was interesting to watch the audience. Who did they comprise? Were they all just party officials, or were at least some of them genuine music lovers? If the latter, how do they nurture that love, as presumably music must be hard to come buy in that hermetically sealed nation? If there were hardly any music lovers there, it begs the question: was it worth it? Would it have made more sense to send the Knicks or Seahawks, or the Harlem Globetrotters? Much more economical, & may have won more hearts & minds.

It was good to see Maazel again. He has aged well. I discovered he has his own website www.maestromaazel.com 🙂

I think the North Korean leg of the NYPO tour was tagged on at the last minute, judging by its own website www.nyphil.org

Cloak-and-dagger stuff. Maybe someone will write an opera about it.  Perhaps a duet for Maazel & Kim Jong Il thrown in somewhere? 🙂  

Advertisements