Which musician polarizes opinions the most?

On "Igor Levit is tired" from October 16:

Levit should continue to get involved

I had to read Helmut Mauró's article twice. After the first time, I was at a loss because I wasn't sure whether I should take this expression of opinion as a - not shared - music criticism. After reading the second time, I was just angry, because although this text chooses a music-critical entry, this only seems to be a disguise for the fact that the author makes a subjective comment on the person of Igor Levit, which is aimed at his political opinion and only is looking for an ostensible reason, namely a comparison with the pianistic abilities of Daniil Trifonov.

You can guess which political motives the author is pursuing (it is probably no coincidence from which political corner the applause is given here), but it is puzzling to me why the SZ, whose features I usually appreciate, the author for this too still offers a forum. I can only encourage Igor Levit to continue his engagement outside the concert hall.

Lothar Steinborn-Reetz, Mainz

Hair-raising allegations

Whether Igor Levit is "in a completely different league" than Daniil Trifonov and Levit's Beethoven sonatas are "rather unimportant" - there are likely to be different opinions. But to mockingly reproach Levite for "conjuring up the right enemies every day" is (to say the least) tactless. This pianist from a Russian-Jewish family, who grew up and trained in Germany, not only has to be led onto the stage of the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie by four bodyguards because he has received death threats (!). The fact that anti-Semitic acts of violence like those in front of a Hamburg synagogue do not keep him silent is only to be welcomed! To associate something like this with "victim claim ideology" and to accuse Levit of "his ceterum censeo, the AfD is a Nazi party" is hair-raising.

Dr. phil. Matthias Wegner, Hamburg

Mesh for self-expression

Mr. Mauró speaks to me with the Levit article from the heart! This pianist was chosen as "God" by interested political circles, up to the Federal President, with no justification whatsoever. In the meantime, his tweeting and his self-portrayal have become a scam that has long removed him from art. But he seems to be the "media darling" thanks to "special" support.

Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, Malsburg-Marzell

Disparagement of an artist

Helmut Mauro's article is neither a music criticism nor a criticism of the political activity of the person of Igor Levit, it is nothing more than the denigration of a recognized artist. The alleged music criticism is limited to the bold statement that Trifonov is playing "in a completely different league". This condemnation is not shared at all by other music critics. In addition, the author remains very vague in his criticism of the musician Levit. (He does not have Trifonov's perfect legato, his Beethoven piano sonatas are rather insignificant). With his evening house concerts, Igor Levit reached a broad section of the population in difficult times and made many people familiar with classical music for the first time, also through his clever introductions. This is a merit that a music critic cannot even dream of.

The article then becomes very bad and unbearable in its main part, the criticism of Levit's political activities. Mauró completely ignores the fact that Levit himself became the target of right-wing extremist hatred because of his justified criticism of fascist and anti-Semitic tendencies and is right to defend himself against it. Calling this "victim claims ideology" confuses victims and perpetrators and is simply unacceptable.

Mauró takes on the level of Alice Weidel, who similarly condemns Levit's activities. In Mauró's view, artists are not allowed to express themselves politically and defend themselves against attacks. Daniel Barenboim is also dismissed in a half-sentence because of this. The fact that Levit also receives the Federal Cross of Merit for his house concerts and political activities is, in his opinion, the height and leads him to wipe out the "Federal President, who is always keen to make contacts with artists". It can hardly go any deeper than this article apologetically referred to as "polemic" by the SZ editorial staff. It is simply the unqualified and cheap disparagement of an outstanding pianist and politically active fellow citizen.

Johann Schoo, Luxembourg

Gray area for anti-Semitism

The private and political skirmishes of Mr. Mauró under the guise of "music criticism". And that in the SZ. Playing CD recordings and pianists against each other, using Daniil Trifonov so shabbily in this bad game, that is disgusting, cheap and absolutely unprofessional. I experience the statements made by Mr. Mauró on the subject of anti-Semitism as downright alarming. It is frightening that such gray areas are possible in the SZ.

Renate Burkhardt, Rossdorf

Everyone is allowed to express themselves politically

After reading the article, the question remains: Is it up to a music critic to deny someone, in this case a multiple award-winning pianist, the right to express himself politically and to defend himself against disgusting hostility and threats? As a citizen, Igor Levit should have the same right to express his opinion freely as any other citizen, whether on a talk show or on Twitter!

That Mr. Mauró does not like the legato playing of the pianist Levit and that he prefers interpretations by Trifonov is of course granted to him. But not to criticize the way an artist expresses himself as a citizen and mix this with his musical achievements. One realizes the intention and wonders what is behind this malice! It is disgusting! It has nothing to do with music criticism. The way in which the attempt is made here to devalue the achievements and awards of an artist is shameful for Mr. Mauró. But "if you shout loudly and often, you will be noticed", as Mr Mauró himself writes, unfortunately he too as a music critic.

Helmut Fietzek, Dießen am Ammersee

The limit has been crossed here

The article is completely out of the question and simply unworthy of a paper like the SZ. Of course, artists can be criticized, but if ultimately their behavior outside of the theater and concert hall is thematized in the features section, with completely unfounded terms such as "victim claim ideology", then the limit seems not only to the good taste and judgment, which the author with considerable - no: with arrogant - volume and yet wrongly claimed for itself, but also exceeded the limit of what is acceptable.

Achim Lotz, Hamburg

Well deserved recognition

The very headline of the article gives the impression that the artist Levit has come to an end; it is the anti-Semist misdeeds and crimes, which have been increasing for a long time, which are likely to have worn him down. Igor Levit has made an outstanding contribution to the revival of musical performances with public appearances during the corona pandemic and, not least, has earned public recognition for this. The abusive article by Mr Mauró disqualifies himself.

Dr. Birgit Fenner and Dr. Peter Triefenbach, Berlin

Its marketing is exposed

With this contribution, Mr. Mauró has deciphered Igor Levit's simple and highly successful marketing concept. With the fight against the right and against the Nazis, in the Berlin Juste Milieu and elsewhere, a well-monetizable following can be built safely and free of charge. That is legitimate and timely, but anything but brave. Who in the overwhelming majority of our country is not against Nazis and against racially motivated crimes? Levit knows how to stage his supposedly fearless fight on Twitter, embedded in the lukewarm mainstream of our time.

There they celebrate each other smugly, while at the same time every deviator is mercilessly put in their place in the style of totalitarian cancel culture checkers. Our once democratic culture of debate, characterized by decency and respect for the opinion of those who think differently, is now falling under the wheels. A look at the posts on this article on Twitter clearly shows how the mood and language have changed.

Mauró is assumed to have anti-Semitism, which - assuming careful reading of the article - is neither specifically proven nor verifiable in this article, but is always well suited as a club to destroy the renowned author of the article. Morally and materially. That is perfidious, but nowadays it is a tried and tested means of ensuring order and quiet in the hall. But while we are already on the subject: With many of the intrepid fighters "against the right" it is noticeable that they are very silent on questions of Islamic anti-Semitism and anti-Semitism of the left milieu, even though it is practiced daily in front of our eyes. Then she loses courage. Out of tiredness or for ideological reasons?

Matthias Düwel, Berg / Starnberg

Endanger Jewish life?

The article about Igor Levit struck me deeply. As a descendant of those persecuted in the Third Reich, it feels threatening when the public positioning of a Jew is criticized in such a way in the SZ (!). Especially at a time when anti-Semites are sitting in the German Bundestag and there are massive neo-Nazi activities in the security authorities, to put a Jewish artist and public intellectual in such a saddle, and even to deny him his existence as such, is monstrous. Does the SZ want to marginalize, muzzle, and endanger Jewish life in Germany?

Sandro Simon, Cologne

Nasty lethal injection

The author of the text tries extremely flimsy to pretend that he is interested in real music criticism by comparing Igor Levit with Daniil Trifonov (undoubtedly also a phenomenal pianist!). But he does that at the level of kindergarten children ("My dad is a lot better than yours!"), So: Trifonov's legato is (allegedly) a lot better than Igor Levit's. Oh really? In my opinion, Mr. Mauró is only trying to disguise the actual vile intention of his text: namely to spray poison against the Jewish artist Levit, who vigorously and eloquently defends himself against anti-Semitism and racism. As if a pianist was only allowed to play the piano and otherwise had to shut up ... A piece like this has no place in the SZ. I recommend Bernhard Neuhoff's replica on BR-online to anyone who, like me, was annoyed about this "music review".

Winfried Off, Gablingen

Note

Letters to the editor are in no way expressions of opinion by the editors. We reserve the right to shorten the texts. When published, the first and last name and place of residence are given.

We also reserve the right to include letters to the editor in the digital edition of Süddeutsche Zeitung and at Süddeutsche.de to publish.

[email protected]