Thursday, March 08, 2012

Golijof Scandal

New Yorker here 2/21/12.  This is Alex Ross.

Washington Post here  2/21/12,  here 3/6/12.  This is Anne Midgette.

New York Times here.  3/7/12.  This is Daniel J. Wakin.

I have long been a fan of Golijov, so the fact that his name has recently been associated with plagiarism has aroused my interest.

Plagiarism is not a crime.  The crime is called copyright infringement, and involves citing or using things currently under copyright without permission of the copyright owner.  Plagiarism is another idea entirely and apparently arises with Romanticism.  Plagiarism could mean nothing more than sounding like someone else's work.  One is to be admired for ones own original creations only.  It is a crime of honor.

Golijov is accused of using other people's work with their permission.  They probably agreed because he is vastly more famous than they are, and otherwise no one would ever hear of them.  To know that this is going on you would have to have read the fine print.

I am trying to decide what I think of this.  It has always seemed to me that the real problem was that he was having writer's block.  It should be obvious to anyone that has spent time listening to him that his work arises from the music of his environment.  So the question for me is can he continue to create works based on musical environments he no longer lives in.  All we get here is the commercial product, and no one seems particularly inspired by it.  I have suggested that perhaps the solution would be to move back to Argentina.

Do I care that each and every note is completely original?  No, I do not.  What I care about is do I enjoy listening to it?  I can hardly think of anyone writing today whom I enjoy more.  I wish him luck.

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