Is music above politics? WikiLeaks says no.

The questions was sparked by the Proms protest incident a couple of weeks ago. The instant reaction from music lovers was that it was. Art should not be sullied by petty mortal squabbles etc.

The contemporaneous release of unredacted WikiLeaks cables and a hunch that music and politics have been cosy bedfellows since the beginning led to some idle querying of the WikiLeaks database.

Violin and piano appear often, relatively speaking, as does orchestra and symphony. [Incidentally, it turns out the diplomats are quite fond of using the word symphony as a metaphor for everyone having an important individual role in a group project.]

Trumpets, clarinets and flutes get an occasional shout out. Violas, french horns and double reeds, I’m sorry to report that the U.S. diplomatic corps does not rate you.

My piece in Sunday’s LA Times gives you a bit of an idea how how classical music is used in the diplomatic world.

My absolute favourite cable is from Baghdad and begins in this spectacular fashion:

“What do you get when a U.S. Army band plays an Eastern Orthodox wedding hall in a Yezidi town with Arab, Christian and Kurdish musicians under the watchful gaze of the Barzani patriarch, a crucifix, and the Iraqi flag, plus a banner celebrating the anniversary of an anti-Saddam uprising?”

The rest is here.

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