Junk Music

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk




American Jewish Music:  Distinguishing Myth from Reality


    The purpose of sociology is to separate myth from reality. We Jews know how destructive myth can be, as the billion Muslims of this world claim that Jews drink the blood of Muslim children, poison the wells, rule the world, have all the money, killed the prophet Mohammed etc., etc. Israel exits in large measure to protect the Jews who once lived in Muslim lands from the age old persecution we suffered there (If this interests you, read chapter 6 of my latest book, The Restoration of Israel).

    While we easily reject such myths, we are nevertheless subject to numerous other nonsense preached by our media day and night. Unwilling to think for ourselves, or afraid to hold a view not popular with TV reporters and other “moguls”, we believe whatever is written in a newspaper or preached on the idiot box.

     An excellent example of this is the recitation of the musical achievements of David Shire. Having had the misfortune of spending two hours in a concert hall in which Shire and consorts made a feeble effort to play and sing, I could only recall the great contributions made to American music by Richard Rodgers (Rosinsky), Irving Berlin (Baline), Alan Lerner, George Gershwin and so many others. These Jewish composers wrote melodies one can sing. Consider “Oklahoma” by Rodgers and compare that to the utter disaster labeled music as produced by Shire. Shire cannot write a melody. Instead he is loud, very loud. He and his cohorts substitute boring, screeching bellows for real singing. Consider Irving Berlin’s great works, such as Annie Get Your Gun. Even someone without the slightest musical talent can sing Berlin’s songs, including “God Bless America”. No one can sing the dull noises made by Shire, etc., not even the two lady soloists he hired. They either cannot sing anything or they simply could not sing Shire’s so-called music because no one can.

     Noise for the sake of noise is hardly to be confused with music. Leonard Bernstein wrote music one can enjoy immensely. Consider West Side Story. Then there is Forty Second Street by Al Dubin or Cabaret by John Kander. It is of course true that Shire writes mostly background music for the movies. Such “movie music” is hardly noticed by the viewers of such entertainment as The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, which is so bad a film that it fits right into the usual trash not worth watching even if the theaters paid the customers. When such “movie music” is played by itself it becomes intolerable noise which tortures the listeners, who are no doubt sorry they didn’t bring earplugs to the so called “concert”.

     Surely that is not so if you listen to Fiddler on the Roof by Jerry Bock or Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser. Consider the great  Mary Poppins by Robert Sherman or Three Penny Opera by Kurt Weill. Compared to these achievements, Shire and company produced trash. Utter trash.

     This raises the question; “Why do so many people pay money to hear and see this kind of failed effort?” There are at least two reasons for this. First, is the fear on the part of so many of us that we may deviate from popular opinion. We hear and see the miserable performance but praise it just the same because the media tell us that gross noise is great music, or that the bunk that hangs in art museums are great paintings or that trashy novels are great literature. We are terribly afraid to have an opinion of our own, and recite the views of others for fear of being different.

     A second reason so many people attend concerts by utter musical failures is that we know nothing about the great musical achievements of the past. Many of us never heard of Richard Rodgers, do not know of the great Jewish composer Johann Strauss , who wrote Die Fledermaus or “The Bat”, and never heard The Desert Song by Sigmund Romberg and therefore cannot tell the difference between that which is truly music and that which is just noise.    

     It is of course not only the “music” by current Jewish composers which exemplifies the “no talent” era of the last forty years.  Such “dreck” as The Phantom of the Opera which belongs into the nearest trash can, or Hair which, compared to “Showboat” by Jerome Kern, sounds like the screaming of an alley cat, just like the idiot production Cats.

      The lesson from all this is that we have every right to live in reality and not to let ourselves be influenced by the fads promoted by the media. We can even listen to the real music in this world. We can enjoy Italian Opera by Verdi and Donizetti and Leoncavallo and Mascagni and Puccini. Of course there are many who “know” that Italian opera is boring and unintelligible.  They never heard an opera but “know” it just the same. But those who live in reality know no such thing, anymore than we “know” that the Jews poison the wells, a theory to which Hillary Clinton subscribes.

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including The Restoration of Israel (2006).

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