Jeremy Corbyn loves Gustav Mahler

Jeremy Corbyn loves Gustav Mahler


norman lebrecht

August 28, 2016

At a launch of his arts programme in Scotland this weekend, the Labour Party leader said ‘he had a deep affection for the work of Mahler and liked other “pretty heavy classical music”.’

He added: ‘I hate the elitism [that says] only the wealthy can go to ballet, only the wealthy can go to opera, only the wealthy can go to Glyndebourne, only the wealthy can enjoy what’s termed highbrow music.’

Would Gustav Mahler love Jeremy Corbyn?




  • V.Lind says:

    It is not just “elitism” that means only the wealthy can go to ballet, to opera, to Glyndebourne. It’s the prices.

    And getting to go live occasionally makes it easier to fire up Radio 3 or buy classical music and boost those “classical sale of the week” numbers.

    • Alvaro says:

      Because to go to a rock concert, or a music festival (as 99.9% of the population understands the term) is….cheaper?

      Its MUCH more expensive to go see the Champions League or go see Coldplay than any price of any opera, even the best seats .

      People don’t go bc the idea that “classical music is for everybody” is pure, grass fed, 100% organic, man made, BULLS@#$. Period

    • pooroperaman says:

      The prices?

      £20 for Glyndebourne
      £10 or less for the opera at Covent Garden
      £5 or less for the ballet at Covent Garden
      £6 for the Proms

      You and Corbyn should both get your facts right, rather than repeating lazy, ignorant cliches.

  • Ellingtonia says:

    Well given that Mahler was Jewish by birth, Corbyn is going to have a difficult job selling his music to the antisemitic, hamas loving bigots in his party and I include Corbyn in that description. But I should remember that Corbyn is no stranger to telling lies………train seats anyone?

    • Heather Bird says:

      These kind of remarks show the depths to which the right wing media will sink to protect their personal financial interests. It is personally insulting and deeply upsetting that a fellow musician could hold these views about a sizable proportion of the population. I suggest you look outside the Mail and Express/Telegraph for your information.
      I am delighted he is a Mahler fan. Shows he has excellent taste as well as integrity and a steadfast commitment to his beliefs.

      • Ellingtonia says:

        I don’t know which part of “La La” land you occupy but the recent whitewash of antisemitism in the Labour Party, Jezzas love of Hamas (oh look, they are throwing a few gays off that building in Gaza) and the racist / anti Israel pronouncements of a good number of serving Labour MPs will confirm my original comments. And before you start labelling anyone who is critical of Jezza as “right wing” you might want to have a look at his political record, supported the IRA, shared a stage with fundamentalist Islamic zealots, supported the socialist regime in Venezuela which has led the country to near bankruptcy, wouldn’t commit to supporting NATO (that will go down well in the baltic and Eastern Europe) and thinks it would be nice to abolish the armed forces as there isn’t a need for them.
        Get real Ms Bird, this man is in cloud cuckoo land and just for interest sake, do write to Jezza and ask him which was the last classical concert he attended?

        • Heather Bird says:

          We actually covered that when i met him. Your stance and manner is so typical of those immune to the suffering inflicted upon the people of Palestine. The lack of compassion is palpable and your insulting tone is breathtaking. I suggest you listen to the Kaplan recording of Mahler 2 at full volume lying on the floor surrounded by candles and rethink. If you don’t get a feeling of compassion for all people from that then I respectfully bow out of this discussion. (Also knowing a bit about Mahler’s struggle with religion might aff to an informed debate.) Have a wonder filled evening.

          • Allen says:

            “We actually covered that when i met him.”

            And ….. ?

            No counter arguments then, just lines and lines of virtue signalling.

          • H says:

            Why aren’t you listening!? Candles? Wine?
            Don’t be daft. The arguments are there; you’re just not seeing (hearing!) them.

          • Elingtonia says:

            Before you start lecturing me about Palestine you might like to read the 3 following extracts from the Hamas Charter:

            “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”

            “The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said: ‘The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’”

            “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”

            You may also like to read the UN report that confirmed that Hamas were placing rocket launchers next to hospitals and schools (verified by reporters from Finland and Spain) to invite the inevitable response from Israel. However, Hamas say that the propaganda value of this is worthwhile sacrificing the lives of its own people.

            I do note you do not contradict any of the facts I posted about Corbyn.

      • Stanley Cohen says:

        Anyone who calls any classical music that they claim to enjoy as “Pretty heavy” is a liar and a poseur.

  • DESR says:

    I think Mahler would have been horrified by Corbyn. A knee-jerk hard socialist, totally antithetical to artistic openness. A stranger to Doubt.

    The spirit of Mahler is the spirit of Barenboim: inclusive, non-partisan, questioning.

  • DESR says:

    I imagine Mahler would have been appalled by narrow-minded national socialism.

    The spirit of Mahler is the spirit of Barenboim, not of Corbyn.

  • John Whiting says:

    Barenboim? He and Edward Said were accused of antisemitism for starting the West-East Divan Orchestra.

    • Stanley Cohen says:

      The main problem with Barenboim is that he is so successful in the world of classical music that he has come to believe his own propaganda and consequently thinks that he cannot be wrong about anything. He is not anti-Semitic, he is what is known as a self-loathing Jew, that is a person born of Jewish stock who believes and keeps no aspect of his religion’s laws but excuses himself by portraying himself as a bigger intellect than those who have preceded him who did believe. His marriage to a non-Jew and his stance vis a vis Israel all confirm this. For my part I wish he’d keep playing and conducting and otherwise keep his mouth firmly shut.

      • John Whiting says:

        I knew someone would come up with this. A self-hating Jew is anyone who is unhappy with what has become the most reactionary government that Israel has ever had.

        • Stanley Cohen says:

          No, not really, Mr W. A self-hating Jew is one who while not engaging with the traditions of the religion, scorn all those who do. Israel just doesn’t come into the basic premise but serves as a bandwagon upon which they might climb to feel that they’re in good company.

          • John Whiting says:

            A typical reply, totally sidestepping what Netanyahu’s government has become. Even Ehud Barak laments the “budding fascism”. Or is he a self-hating Prime Minister?

  • John Borstlap says:

    No doubt Corbyn is a Mahler fan, he looks on all photographs as if he has just finished a listening session of some catastrophic Mahler movement.

  • Julie says:

    There are many smears mentioned above that are either entirely or partially inaccurate. It is only to be expected, as there has been a smear campaign of gigantic proportions and only those who seek alternative sources or care to really examine the evidence will be any the wiser.

    Those who disagree politically will disagree politically and if democratic socialism isn’t for you, you won’t like Corbyn, but readers beware of the smears and be aware of the general abuse and smear campaign against a decent man trying to make a difference and his overwhelmingly respectable supporters trying to do likewise.

    This article is lengthy but illuminating reading for anyone who is interested in examining the other side of the story:

    Although the Musician’s Union chose to support Corbyn’s opponent in the Labour leadership election, they did not consult their members on this and many were up in arms at not being consulted, not least because of Corbyn’s arts policy.

    Corbyn is actually extremely supportive of the arts and proposes various ways to support and fund them as summarised below. For full policy see:

    Arts policy Launch

    Over the past six years, £42.8m has been cut from Britain’s Arts Councils. Cuts to local government have meant library closures and cuts to opportunities. And for many people, work is increasingly precarious and consuming, with a lack of childcare provision and rising fees and barriers to education and training.

    Under a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour government, that will change. Austerity is a political choice, not an economic necessity – and for every pound invested in the arts, £1.06 is generated for the economy.

    At the heart of our plan to rebuild and transform Britain, we place a vision for a well-funded, independent, dynamic arts sector.

    1. Arts policy at the heart of the government’s policy making agenda.
    from opposition, Labour will commit to delivering a strategy for a publicly funded arts, culture and heritage sector in government, fit for the 21st century.
    we will create a cross departmental cabinet committee in Parliament on the arts and creative industries

    2. Reinstating and expanding funding for the arts in Britain
    we will increase funding to the arts so that it reaches the European average.
    we will restore grant in aid funding of the Arts councils. Cultural budgets will be devolved to regional levels so that decisions can be taken locally about how best to use arts funding to equip

    3. Access for all
    we will introduce a new arts pupil premium to schools in England and Wales, and will fund its introduction in Scotland
    we will support the recognition of dance and drama as national curriculum subjects in their own right.
    we will introduce a new bursary and scholarship scheme for the arts, aimed at improving access for disadvantaged students

    4. Protecting artists and performers
    we develop and enforce transparent national policy and guidelines on minimum standards of artists’ pay and conditions

    5. Safeguarding our galleries, museums and libraries
    we will defend free access to museums and galleries and place an immediate moratorium on all privatisations in the sector.
    We will create a legal obligation for local authorities to provide a comprehensive library service

    6. Protecting the BBC
    we will defend the licence fee as a means of funding an independent BBC
    we will support the continued development of devolved regional television news and local radio.

    Hope this info is of interest x

    • John Borstlap says:

      Thank you. Such support plans for the arts are much needed…… not only in the UK. It would also be encouraging if the arts themselves would be forced to drop their nonsensical waste ideologies, and the wrapping-up of institutions like the ICA would provide money for worthwhile projects, instead of the puerile stuff they deem interesting for the public.

  • Andrew Hinchcliffe says:

    A less anti-Semitic person you couldn’t wish to meet. It is just a crazy idea invented by people unwilling to see socialism in the Labour Party or the country and not content to debate policy. The man himself is about as even-handed and anti-anythingist as a person can be. Views on the situation in a country is one thing, global judgement of a people is quite another. Shami Shakrabati is a pretty respected human rights activist who found against the idea of anti-Semitism. As for the train thing, there is clear evidence from multiple sources that there weren’t the empty seats required and it is such a minor issue it is laughable. It has now become a huge PR disaster for Virgin Trains as everyone around the country sends in their pictures of crammed Virgin Trains and people sitting on the floor to social media. As a musician I was horrified that the MU backed someone else. Not in my name. How dare they not consult us?

    • kwonco says:

      Chakrabati? Hmm, let’s see … appointed to committee, then joined Labor, gave the party a free pass in her report. …. and know she is the ideal candidate for House of Lords?

    • pooroperaman says:

      ‘A less anti-Semitic person you couldn’t wish to meet.’

      That’ll come as a disappointment to his friends in Hamas and Hezbollah.

  • Alice Fripp says:

    Jewish groups have condemned the use of anti-Semitism as a political football in Labour squabbles and Jeremy Corbyn has many Jewish supporters, individuals and groups. It is mainly media moguls, big corporations, and right wing politicians in Labour and other parties that have a problem with him, although he is always very polite to everybody, even them.

    • Ellingtonia says:

      Apparently Rudolf Hoess was very kind to his wife and children, polite even………….but we all know the other side of this very personable gentleman.

    • Ellingtonia says:

      Firstly Corbyn says that the train was rammed full and that there were no seats.
      Then when challenged about this he changes his story to say that yes there were free unbooked seats but he wanted to sit next to his wife.
      Why did they not do the same as any “normal” couple and sit apart until a couple of seats together became available?
      Corbyn then sees a propaganda opportunity and goes to sit in the corridor, so if he wanted to sit with his wife why was she not sat in the corridor with him.
      Corbin is a bit like the 17 year old student who still has a print of Che on the wall and wears the obligatory Yasser Arafat scarf and attends ANY demo against Israel.
      He is not used to being challenged and disagreed with, as he has spent his whole life in smoke filled rooms with a cohort of other left wing nutters who still believe that Stalin was an excellent role model.

      Recent pontifcations from Corbyn and his communist cabal:-

      Yet another example of socialist “Black is really white” indoctrination.

      • Joseph Stalin should not be compared to Hitler as there were no Belsens or Treblinkas (Seamus Milne)

      • The west, not Al Qaeda were responsible for 9/11

      • The UK was responsible for 7/7 not the terrorists who did it (both Jeremy Corbyn)

      • France was responsible for the Charlie Hebdo and other attacks not the terrorists who did it (Seamus Milne)

      • The murder of Lee Rigby wasn’t terrorism as he was a soldier who had served in Afghanistan so it wasn’t the murderers fault (Seamus Milne)

      • The IRA should be honoured for fighting for a united Ireland (Jeremy Corbyn)

      – all mantras currently being espoused by the Labour Party or its senior members. The sad thing – the minds of the younger generation are being moulders to this type of thinking, and they don’t know it.

      …………..and he is such a nice and generous man, give me a break!

      • Fay Manners says:

        I am not sure if you are deliberately misunderstanding and misrepresenting people’s views or if you really believe what you are saying, but it is gross misrepresentation.

        Regarding the idea of Corbyn supporting Hamas, which he does not, I believe this rumour came about due to him using the expression “my friends” on a platform that included members of Hamas. He has publically apologised for his choice of words, an expression he often uses to set people at their ease, and encourage inclusive dialogue. His main objective has always been the prevention of conflict around the world, and he has won the Ghandi peace prize for those efforts. It’s disingenuous to imply, or accuse Corbyn of a friendship with any organisation which promotes violence.

        As Corbyn has spoken out about the occupation of Palestine he’s been wrongly accused of being anti-Semitic. If you look at his voting history you’ll see he is anti war, invasion and violence. He also knows that in order to broker peace both sides need to talk. You can be concerned for the plight of people and have dialogue with them without agreeing on the tactics used. It is our governments that should be criticised for supporting terrorists. Look at how much business they do with Saudi who were and are major donors to the Isis movement. Corbyn has stated that he would look at stemming the funding streams to Isis.

        It is part of a false black and white argument to suggest that Corbyn has said that terrorists were NOT responsible for atrocities and that others were. He has never said that terrorists were not responsible for their actions, much as some opponents would like to suggest so for their own purposes. It is quite a different thing to take SOME responsibility for creating the conditions and escalating the situation (including providing arms). That is an intelligent approach that acknowledges the grey area and how to move forward. If you want to look for people who support violence and killing and have questionable morals and judgement, look at all those who voted for war in Iraq, which Corbyn did not, and for which he has been entirely vindicated and others have been duly shamed (if they had any shame). Corbyn and others did all they could to prevent that war and it has been acknowledged that that war helped to create conditions where terrorism has grown (despite the fact that those terrorists were also responsible for their actions).

        I am not sure I have the time or energy to keep finding and posting counter evidence or counter arguments to these slanderous remarks as I can only guess you will keep coming back with more ad infinitum, but to other readers, it really is worth looking at the evidence and not taking such comments as these on face value. They really are untrue and it is a good job that the people mentioned are not, thus far, litigious. For anyone not yet aware, the majority of the popular media really isn’t as neutral and rigorous as we may want or imagine it to be and is certainly not in favour of any kind of socialism.

        • Ellingtonia says:

          Please quote one example of where Corbyn has referred to Jews / Israel as his friends. Moreover, the most telling comment made by Corbyn was when he was asked in an interview “does Israel have a right to exist” he parroted back “they do exist”, when challenged again for clarification he simply said again “they do exist.” This gives some idea of Corbyn’s antisemitism as he would not stay categorically that Israel had a right to exist. However, ask him if Palestine has a right to exist (a stance many Israelis actually support) and he will launch forth into a left wing diatribe about Israels treatment of the Palestinians…………forgetting of course to mention that the Hamas Charter explicitly states that Israel has no right to exist and that ALL Jews should be killed.
          And you claim he isn’t an antesemite……………..another one in “La La” land!

        • John Whiting says:

          Thank you, Fay; what patience you have! Are you a working party member of some sort? You have the ability to suffer fools gladly.

          It’s interesting that, in almost all of these cases, one can tell which the author’s position by the degree of logic/literacy that’s displayed. I’ve only stayed here from a horrible fascination with the anger, the terror, which has taken over our entire society on both sides of the pond. Meanwhile, Mr. Lebrecht will be chuckling quietly to himself — it’s all clickbait for his column.

          • Fay Manners says:

            Thanks John. Things have got rather nasty these days haven’t they? No not involved with the party beyond being a recently joined member. I have just been paying increasing attention and had my eyes opened. If you do pay attention and watch live speeches etc, it can be quite illuminating what the media choose to take from them and make of them. Also, looking into things further where there have been allegations has shown me how demonstrably fabricated stories can become news and presented as fact. I really didn’t know about things like this other than in the abstract until I followed the Corbyn story.

    • pooroperaman says:

      I care that anyone is seriously thinking of electing not only a liar, but an incompetent liar. Not to mention somebody so incapable of forward planning that he can’t even buy a ticket in advance, which would have a) guaranteed him a seat; and b) saved his party large amounts of money.

  • Jerome Hoberman says:

    Mahler would probably have supported whomever promised the most funding, not to the arts in general, necessarily, but to Mahler’s opera house in particular, wherever it was at the time.

    • Stanley Cohen says:

      We’re discussing Mr Corbyn’s poseur stance not Mahler’s attitudes to finance. Your diversionary tactics are very suspicious, Sir, and I’m unsure as to whether you’re even correct.

  • Neil says:

    Reminds me of Paul Keating, Australian left-wing politician with a very public regard for the arts, classical music and Mahler in particular. Watch the youtube clip “Keating on the arts”. Very much from an Australian context however…

  • John Whiting says:

    I am heartened to see such active support here for Jeremy Corbyn. Anti-Corbyn and anti-arts generally appear to go hand in hand.

  • Mark Mortimer says:

    Well Corbyn has a fondness for Mahler- he can’t be such a bad guy afterall.

    He’s also right about elitism & the arts in this country. Particularly opera & particularly Glyndebourne. I for one- am fed up of going down there and seeing a bunch of hedge fund managers/investment bankers- who’re ultimately responsible for the woes of our country- pissed on Dom Perignon & seemingly oblivious to the subleties of Janacek or Mozart!

    • Allen says:

      You walk up to people and ask them what they do, or are you one of those chippy individuals who sees toffs and bankers everywhere?

      I would suggest that the woes of our country are a bit more complicated than that.

      You must be a truly sad individual.

  • Deal Hudson says:

    I appreciate anyone who loves Mahler and wants to promote his music, regardless of his political opinions or affiliations, with the obvious exception of the outright evil few.

  • kwonco says:

    As a dispassionate observer from across the pond, I would like to make a few observations -Jerome Hoberman’s comments were very obviously referring to Richard Wagner, and NOT to Gustav Mahler [interesting allusion to money and greed, JH] -Alvaro is quite on the mark; Corbyn’s arguement of reverse discrimination is not unexpected of someone who listens to ‘pretty heavy c.m.’ -Mr Cohen is correct about Barenboim BUT -Mr Wighting was correct about Edward Said: He was an antisemite. The celebrity and darling of the pseudo-intellectuals and hip left wing, but an absolute scoundrel and a failed academic, producing nothing of substance -Heather is a bird of a different feather, who needs to actually take the time to get her facts straight before forming her opinions – Are you all blind to the rabid anti-Semitic comments of Corbyn and members of his party? British anti-semitism is no longer genteel. It is loud, overt, and threatening Time to wake up –

  • Julie says:

    Corbyn is for equality all around and has repeated it over and over. Believe me there is a lot of smoke without fire these days…smoke and mirrors.

    Addressing Labour Friends of Israel:

    Responding to anti-Semitism question:

    • Ellingtonia says:

      Would you mind addressing the issue of the Hamas Charter calling for the obliteration of Israel and the killing of all Jews and Corbyn’s unqualified support for Hamas. Please quote one example of Corbyn criticising Hamas for calling for the genocide of the Jews.
      Could you also list the number of times he has shared a platform with Israel supporters?
      What the videos you have linked to show is Corbyn spouting his usual platitudes and the answer to everyones problems is to disarm and stand around all holding hands.
      Its a bloody good job that Corbyn was not around in 1939 or his peace platitudes would have resulted in us living under a very different regime today.

      • Julie says:

        He does not support Hamas at all, never mind unqualified. He has said so on numerous occasions and he has also stated that he is not a pacifist. He is just a lot more motivated than most politicians seem to be to seek peaceful solutions and work towards peace and won’t be goaded into waging imaginary war in response to hypothetical questions.

        No I will not go and fetch you any more examples so you can dismiss them and pour scorn on them. The links and information that I have posted are for the benefit of other readers that are interested and not closed minded. You can very easily find further evidence for what I am saying if you look for it. A quick Google search will suffice.

        I am not sure why you enter into dialogue and ask questions. You are closed minded and disinterested in input. You are only prepared to rant and lecture without offering any evidence of your own (which would be impossible as you are regurgitating unfounded smears) or allowing for other views or information. I suppose you feel the need to take whatever is really bothering you out on other people. If you are in the habit of being so rude and aggressive you will never understand someone who seeks peaceful solutions.

        Others who are interested please see above for sources of information that counter this person’s outrageous allegations and give a more balanced view x

        • Ellingtonia says:

          I note that you ignore the questions I have posed with a lot of blather about Corbyn not supporting Hamas, one example please of criticism of Hamas? One example of a statement recognising Israel. As I said in a previous posting the Labour leader (there is a misnomer if ever there was one) and his bunch of groupies have this marvellous capacity to try and convince the rest of us that “black is white.”
          As you are unable to engage in a proper discussion when Corby’s behaviour and ramblings are put under the spotlight I will let you get back to your hero worship of Jezza and his acolytes.

  • kwonco says:

    Zionist Kool-aid poisoning, really?
    Care to address any of my comments, or is your sorry response the very best your pathetic little mind mind can produce
    Your failure to address any of my comments suggests a tacit acceptance of my observations. Thank you

  • John Borstlap says:

    The combination of Mahler and Labour seems to unlock a lot of heated frustration, as in the later symphonies (VI, VII, IX, X)