GB news: Nigel Farage slams orchestra for cancelling Tchaikovsky over Russian links

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The Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra’s (CPO) new programme will include John Williams’ The Cowboys Overture, Dvorak’s Symphony No.8 and a performance of Elgar’s Variations On An Original Theme. However, the Wales-based orchestra chose to omit the Russian composer from their programme amid the ongoing Ukrainian crisis.

It tweeted: “In light of the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra, with the agreement of @stdavidshall, feel the previously advertised programme including the 1812 Overture to be inappropriate at this time.”

The 1812 Overture was written to commemorate the successful Russian defence against Napoleon’s invasion in 1812, featuring cannon fire, chimes and a brass fanfare.

The piece was due to be performed alongside another militaristic work by Tchaikovsky: his 1876 Marche slave, written to celebrate Russia’s involvement in the Serbian-Ottoman War.

The composer’s Second Symphony was the final piece in the programme.

Speaking on GB News, Farage compared the cancelling of an orchestra performance due to its links to a Russian composer, to the English throwing stones at Dachshund dogs in the UK in 1914 because of their German ancestors.

The former leader of UKIP and Brexit Party said: “Is this turning into a complete anti-Russia or anti-Russian fest?

“Are we to take it out on all Russians now alive in the world including those living in the UK?

“Is it their fault that Putin has done what he’s done?

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“Could it be the fault of Russians who died 130 years ago? I don’t think that it is.

“I sort of wonder whether we’re getting towards the stage that people did in August 1914 when people threw stones at Dachshund dogs in the streets of the United Kingdom because they had German ancestors.

“Are we going a little bit too far, too fast? Are we getting frankly a little bit hysterical?

“Should Tchaikovsky be cancelled? I really, honestly, don’t think so.”

The move is the latest in a series of music resignations, cancellations and withdrawals that have been made since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Martin May, the orchestra’s director, has since shared a statement to explain the context behind the decision.

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The statement read: “The decision on this concert was very much based on here and now. A member of the orchestra has family directly involved in the Ukraine situation and we are trying to respect that situation during the immediate term.

“There were also two military-themed pieces as part of the programme (Marche Slave and 1812) that we felt were particularly inappropriate at this time. We were also made aware at the time that the title ‘Little Russian’ of Symphony No. 2 was deemed offensive to Ukrainians.

“Whilst there are no plans to repeat the Tchaikovsky concert at the moment, we have no plans to change our summer and autumn programmes which contain pieces by Rachmaninov, Prokofiev and Rimsky-Korsakov.

“So, in summary, this is a one-off decision made with the best of intentions and there is no intention to exclude Tchaikovsky in particular. He is one of my favourite composers. We are aware that, whatever decision we made, it would not go down well, so we are stuck between a rock and a hard place.”



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