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Zdenka Cerny - Greatest Bohemian Cellist


Rue
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1 hour ago, sospiri said:

Also Philip I have read both books.

I don't agree that Longitude is about Class oppression. Harrison was always recognised as a genius. Some reviewers probably only skim read the book.

It took him 30:years to be recognized, even when such people as Captain Cook acknowledged his invention as solving the problem. The book is absolutely about elitism. No one could abide a peasant solving such a significant problem

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9 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

Because, as has been mentioned multiple times, she was about to play the Saint-Saens concerto with Frederick Stock and the Chicago symphony.

Yes, she was just about to start her glittering career as a soloist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra  when suddenly...it didn't happen. 

Just like her European tour that didn't happen.

They were just stories she told her daughter. 

I don't doubt that her family was well connected. I don't doubt she had ability. But the story doesn't add up.

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9 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

It took him 30:years to be recognized, even when such people as Captain Cook acknowledged his invention as solving the problem. The book is absolutely about elitism. No one could abide a peasant solving such a significant problem

Another attempt at re-writing history. Did you actually read the book, or just the reviews?

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Why do you have such clear memories of book reviews from 1995?

I can barely remember the book I read it so long ago.  I have half a mind to dig out my copy to settle this dispute.

 

I wonder if sospiri would also reject the idea that Fanny Mendelssohn was likely a genius held back by the sexist culture of the time.  We have a great deal more evidence on the subject...

Or what about Nannerl Mozart? I won't argue that she should be as well-known as Wolfgang, but there's every chance that she would have developed into one of Europe's great musician's had she been allowed...

Cerny is likely just one in a long line of women held back by male jealousy and possessiveness.

As you point out, we don't have conclusive evidence, but as we've shown in other threads, even conclusive evidence isn't conclusive for some people.

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1 hour ago, sospiri said:

Another attempt at re-writing history. Did you actually read the book, or just the reviews?

There comes a time when someone needs to realize that they are wasting their time. I realized I was wasting my time a couple days ago but I persisted. I am going to stop now.

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6 minutes ago, PhilipKT said:

There comes a time when someone needs to realize that they are wasting their time. I realized I was wasting my time a couple days ago but I persisted. I am going to stop now.

You were writing romantic fiction and insisting it was fact. Now you are sulking.

 

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51 minutes ago, Stephen Fine said:

Why do you have such clear memories of book reviews from 1995?

I can barely remember the book I read it so long ago.  I have half a mind to dig out my copy to settle this dispute.

 

I wonder if sospiri would also reject the idea that Fanny Mendelssohn was likely a genius held back by the sexist culture of the time.  We have a great deal more evidence on the subject...

Or what about Nannerl Mozart? I won't argue that she should be as well-known as Wolfgang, but there's every chance that she would have developed into one of Europe's great musician's had she been allowed...

Cerny is likely just one in a long line of women held back by male jealousy and possessiveness.

As you point out, we don't have conclusive evidence, but as we've shown in other threads, even conclusive evidence isn't conclusive for some people.

Stephen I don’t know whether that comment was to me or not, but I remember vividly because I bought it when it first came out because I love such subjects(Although it is completely unrelated to this topic I also highly recommend a book called “the keys to Egypt”.) I read it and lent it to my father, and he said delightedly, “is this a gift?” And I said “why of course,” and he read it enthusiastically and we had a memorable father-son chat about it. During our discussion he said, with awe, “no one can predict genius.”

He died of cancer less than a month later, and 26 years later I still miss him. After the funeral, my younger brother, with tears in his eyes, brought me the book, and said, “Papa lent me this book to read, I think you should have it back.” And I looked inside and my father had inscribed it, “a gift from Philip,”November 95.

I still have that book of course, and yes not only do I remember the book vividly, but a dramatization of the book was made many years later that I also watched, and yes It is absolutely beyond doubt that his accomplishment was rebuffed because he was not the right sort of fellow. He eventually got some of the prize money but not the entire amount. The review to which I refer in which Dava Sobel was assumed to be male was actually a review of a subsequent book, “The Planets” I think, but possibly it was “Galileo’s daughter”

I don’t remember the review at all, it just stuck in my head how miserably uninformed the reviewer must’ve been to get the author’s gender incorrect.

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1 hour ago, Stephen Fine said:

Why do you have such clear memories of book reviews from 1995?

I can barely remember the book I read it so long ago.  I have half a mind to dig out my copy to settle this dispute.

 

I wonder if sospiri would also reject the idea that Fanny Mendelssohn was likely a genius held back by the sexist culture of the time.  We have a great deal more evidence on the subject...

Or what about Nannerl Mozart? I won't argue that she should be as well-known as Wolfgang, but there's every chance that she would have developed into one of Europe's great musician's had she been allowed...

Cerny is likely just one in a long line of women held back by male jealousy and possessiveness.

As you point out, we don't have conclusive evidence, but as we've shown in other threads, even conclusive evidence isn't conclusive for some people.

I don't know about Fanny Mendelssohn, but Nannerl Mozart did have a career of sorts did she not? 

Isn't it more likely that Cerny was held back by the poster proclaiming her genius when she was just 17 and an unknown? 

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"Occam's Razor, put simply, states: “the simplest solution is almost always the best.” 

"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” - Sherlock Homes”

I still think, given the times, that Zdenka Cerny likely wanted to escape from home, fell for a guy (maybe one her parents didn't like? :o), was compromised, got married...and then caved to the convention of a wife staying at home.

That's my takeaway from reading the summation of the book, on the blog I linked to.

The rest, without reading the book, really is pure assumption. Maybe she was brilliant and hubby was on a power trip, stoking his ego by beating her into submission. Maybe she hated the cello and wanted an out. Maybe she was developing a physical condition that she didn't want publicized, or maybe she was pregnant before the wedding, couldn't admit to it, got married, then lost the pregnancy...

...and...if I'm going to write a novel based on speculation...I have one on the go that I should put more time into. 

<_<

 

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Philip, perhaps the cinema dramatiztion has altered the perception of Harrison's life and achievements?

Dava Sobel's book gives detailed accounts of his success. It was an extraordinary struggle to design, build and present his machines and convince everyone of their seaworthiness and reliability in long voyages.

Reducing his entire amazing career to a few words of journalistic hyperbole doesn't help inform anyone of how difficult the problem of inventing, building, and installing  a Longitude measuring clock that was super accurate and reliable really was.

To say he struggled because of his low social status is nonsense. Compare his achievements with Charles Babbage's failure to complete his invention of the first computer in the 1820s-30s despite his privileged background and massive government funding.

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17 minutes ago, Rue said:

"Occam's Razor, put simply, states: “the simplest solution is almost always the best.” 

"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” - Sherlock Homes”

I still think, given the times, that Zdenka Cerny likely wanted to escape from home, fell for a guy (maybe one her parents didn't like? :o), was compromised, got married...and then caved to the convention of a wife staying at home.

That's my takeaway from reading the summation of the book, on the blog I linked to.

The rest, without reading the book, really is pure assumption. Maybe she was brilliant and hubby was on a power trip, stoking his ego by beating her into submission. Maybe she hated the cello and wanted an out. Maybe she was developing a physical condition that she didn't want publicized, or maybe she was pregnant before the wedding, couldn't admit to it, got married, then lost the pregnancy...

...and...if I'm going to write a novel based on speculation...I have one on the go that I should put more time into. 

<_<

 

Another possibility is that the pressure placed on her to live up to the title "The greatest Bohemian Violincellist" caused her great anxiety, not to mention critcism?

The poster is a romantic fantasy. The story is too.

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24 minutes ago, sospiri said:

I don't know about Fanny Mendelssohn, but Nannerl Mozart did have a career of sorts did she not? 

Isn't it more likely that Cerny was held back by the poster proclaiming her genius when she was just 17 and an unknown? 

Nannerl was forced to retire as a performer once she was of marriageable age.  She composed well-enough that Wolfgang thought she was good, but she was never published nor did her father ever even mention it.

Fanny Mendelssohn is the obvious case study here... the fact that you don't know about her somewhat proves the point.

The idea that someone would be "held back" by an exuberant publicity poster is very strange, especially in an era when exuberant posters were the norm.  It's absolutely a possibility that she was crushed by the pressure or whatever you're hypothesizing, but it is much less likely than her being forced to retire by the mores of the time.

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12 minutes ago, sospiri said:

To say he struggled because of his low social status is nonsense. Compare his achievements with Charles Babbage's failure to complete his invention of the first computer in the 1820s-30s despite his privileged background and massive government funding.

I think you have a lot of work to do if you want to prove that England of that period wasn't extremely classist.

I'm not sure how your Babbage example doesn't prove the opposite of what you seem to think...

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1 minute ago, Stephen Fine said:

I think you have a lot of work to do if you want to prove that England of that period wasn't extremely classist.

I'm not sure how your Babbage example doesn't prove the opposite of what you seem to think...

The Industrial Revolution gave inventors the chance to prove themselves. Harrison did this many times over. But the stakes were very high. Britannia ruled the waves. 

Captain Cook came from a lowly background too:

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.colonialdance.com.au%2Fcms%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2019%2F11%2FCooks-birthplace_no-caption.jpg&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.colonialdance.com.au%2Fearly-life-in-yorkshire-3734.html&tbnid=RoDQ8KyBqZqSaM&vet=1&docid=ye77Fu4RBLzZVM&w=2613&h=1560&itg=1&hl=en-GB&source=sh%2Fx%2Fim

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3 hours ago, Stephen Fine said:

Fanny Mendelssohn was likely a genius held back by the sexist culture of the time.  

Hundreds of her pieces survive.  How do they compare to Felix?  Was she pushed aside by the oppressive patriarchy or does she just not compete?  This is one that doesn't require any speculation, because the stuff is there to evaluate.  

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2 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

Hundreds of her pieces survive.  How do they compare to Felix?  Was she pushed aside by the oppressive patriarchy or does she just not compete?  This is one that doesn't require any speculation, because the stuff is there to evaluate.  

Once should not necessarily compare her works to brother Felix but also to others. Her work fits well into programming.

Felix's work at one level requires a lot of physical work that is not necessarily relevant to 21st century audiences. His octet could be, in theory and practice be cut down about 8 minutes and still be glorious. Her trio is excellent but may requires a bit more exuberance to show off what is on the page - because of particular attitudes. I am reworking both Felix trios at the moment ( because the pianist loves the slow mvmts ) but Ms Fanny's trio has elements that are part Mozart and Schubert. It can be most wonderfully performed.

What is a frustration, is that much excellent music becomes "asterisked" simply because another is more famous. There is a lot of great music out there, that may not have the heft of Beethoven's 7th or 8th.

I do try to find pieces that are worthy of experiencing by the audience. Why waste their time? Rebecca Clarke's viola sonata  changed how I saw the viola as soloistic instrument, at the notes were not so difficult, but getting the music off the page was so difficult. This was an experience that occurred more 30 years ago ( i think. ) There was an LP on Northeastern of Clarke's sonata, that made me re-think how a viola should be played.

The fact that I parsed this post based on gender might be the issue... 

   

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6 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

Hundreds of her pieces survive.  How do they compare to Felix?  Was she pushed aside by the oppressive patriarchy or does she just not compete?  This is one that doesn't require any speculation, because the stuff is there to evaluate.  

Fanny Mendelssohn is a fine composer.

I would rather listen to any number of her lieder or her Piano Trio rather than, say, Elijah.

And she wasn't afforded the same educational or professional opportunities as her brother, but left a remarkable legacy. We are fortunate that Felix believed she was "pushed aside by the oppressive patriarchy" or else all her works might have been lost to us.

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57 minutes ago, Stephen Fine said:

And she wasn't afforded the same educational or professional opportunities as her brother, but left a remarkable legacy. We are fortunate that Felix believed she was "pushed aside by the oppressive patriarchy" or else all her works might have been lost to us.

She "left a remarkable legacy", so what's the problem then?  Are you figuring her husband beat her up?  She needs to be made more famous for the sake of affirmative action?  Are you going to leave a remarkable legacy because you're male?  Then what's your excuse?  If only things were really as simple as they are during playtime.

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3 hours ago, Bill Merkel said:

She "left a remarkable legacy", so what's the problem then?  Are you figuring her husband beat her up?  She needs to be made more famous for the sake of affirmative action?  Are you going to leave a remarkable legacy because you're male?  Then what's your excuse?  If only things were really as simple as they are during playtime.

Well, the problem is that she was prevented from enjoying the possibilities and fruits of her legacy while she was alive...

The problem is that she wasn't allowed the full and free range of educational and professional experiences that her brother was allowed.

I have no desire to compare myself to members of the Mendelssohn family, thank you very much, and I have no delusions of grandeur about my own legacy, I have no idea why you would bring it up in this discussion...

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