Sorry, I was feeling rather testy that day.
Had been recently reading a lot about the 1943 Volhynia massacre
(not on Wikipedia, but I'm giving the link so you can get some idea of what I'm talking about): people disemboweled and/or skinned alive (and salted
!), little children (infants) torn apart
or buried alive
, or nailed to the ground
, people cut into pieces with saws. Dear God, just making that list makes me feel paralyzed...
20% of the entire Polish population living in Ukraine at that time was killed. Of course, Polish-Ukrainian relations prior to that terrible genocide were uneasy to say the least, and neither side had a "clean slate". But, OTOH, can any
"buildup of tension" justify
such an atrocity? (Poles killed Ukrainians in that region too, and I don't see any justification for that either.) I don't see a problem with putting these matters aside when dealing with modern issues, but can't think of any reason why they should be forgotten. (Not discussing with anyone at GMG at the moment - these are just random thoughts about the predominant attitude in Poland, where everyone seems to be thinking that publishing books about the subject etc. might actually undermine Polish-Ukrainian relations
- which, incidentally, are today perhaps better than they ever were).
Anyway, if Szymanowski happened to still be alive and living in Volhynia at that time, I'm absolutely sure he wouldn't
be spared. So calling him a "Ukrainian composer" seems... well, a bit inappropriate. Though maybe I have a stilted view of these things. I'm certainly no expert.
I think the discussions I mentioned earlier were mostly on the old (now defunct) forum, and even if it was here, they certainly took place quite a long time ago.
Anyway, re Weinberg, I really don't have a formed opinion. Of course, in Poland he's usually referred to as a Polish composer.
One of the arguments being that he went through a lot of pains to "get back" his original name: Mieczysław (and not Moishei). This, I understand, was quite a feat in Soviet Russia, and actually required a bit of courage (not sure why exactly - it probably wasn't "well seen" to be underlining one's "Polish background" when one was so lucky as to be a Soviet citizen!). He certainly never cut himself off from his Polish roots. But, unlike Tansman, for example, he didn't brag left and right about really
being a Pole. But that may have been his prudence, not reluctance. I really don't know all that much about his personal life and opinions. His wife was Russian, so there was nothing "unnatural" in his choosing to live there. He was a fully grown man when he left Poland, so I guess it's reasonable to call him a Polish composer...?