Talk:Maynard Solomon

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Complaint[edit]

This is an extremely narrow view of Maynard Solomon. He was a "Renaissance Man" (http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/bc/text/pubs/bcmag/bcm-spr02/class.htm#maynard) who co-founded and co-owned Vanguard records in 1950, had a hit as producer of "Walk Right In" in 1963, signed up Joan Baez to the label, was a producer of the Grateful Dead, the Country Gentlemen and Richard and Mimi Farina. In his later years he has written about classical music. A more rounded picture is needed here. Ogg 11:28, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Okay, do provide one.
He was born in 1930 in New York. (http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/bc/text/pubs/bcmag/bcm-spr02/class.htm#maynard). Ogg 11:31, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Immortal Beloved[edit]

'Solomon's arguments for Antonie have been convincingly refuted by Gail Altman'? This statement is a hoot! And the town K is of course a town with the fantasy name Klosterneuberg (as invented by Mrs. Altman). In a personal contest between Solomon and Altman on who is certainly not the IB, the lady is definitely the winner!--131.130.135.193 16:40, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Immortal Beloved and Solomon's fabrications[edit]

Solomon‘s "claim to fame" in the context of the enigmatic "Immortal Beloved", namely fabricating "evidence" (in his arrm-chair), as stated below, "demonstrates, as indeed Tellenbach has done, that much of the basis for the claims of Antonie's supporters consists of distortions, suppositions, opinions, and even plain inaccuracies." (Cooper 1996, p. 18) Given that we are dealing here with Beethoven’s "love life" in some sense, it should be noted that the insinuation that he was – ever, occasionally or even regularly – visiting prostitutes is actually not supported by any conclusive evidence (Tellenbach 1983, pp. 285–287). It is also well-known that Beethoven lived most if not all his life like a monk (i.e., celibate): "… der spätere Beethoven [geht] geradezu wie ein Asket durch die Geschichte.” [The later Beethoven is walking virtually like an ascetic thru history.] (Goldschmidt 1977, p. 325.) After dwelling extensively on some gossip that Beethoven might have visited prostitutes (in his fifties – the man was frequently ill and bedridden, close to his death!), Solomon then relates this rather juicy story:

"Would you like to sleep with my wife?" asked Karl Peters in a Conversation Book of January 1820. … Peters was about to leave on a trip and generously offered his wife … to Beethoven for a night. Beethoven’s reply … was apparently affirmative, for Peters wrote that he would go and "fetch his wife." (Solomon 1998, p. 340.)

In a footnote, Solomon (1998, p. 475, n. 37) even provides the original German text of what Peters wrote:

"Wollen Sie bey [!] meiner Frau schlafen? Es ist so kalt."

Here, "bey" ("bei" in modern German) translates first as "at" (and then maybe as "in", "with", etc., depending on context). And why was "Es ist so kalt" [It is very cold] omitted? Solomon (1998, p. 475, n. 37) then adds the – astonishing – comment:

One authority implausibly [!] suggests the entry could be read, "Would you like to sleep over at my wife’s place?"

In case you know some German, you might be inclined to think (quite plausibly!) the same as this "one authority" (why not named?): The context, unfortunately, does not fit the picture of Beethoven the notorious fornicator (nor the – respected – Peters couple being habitually promiscuous). According to Tellenbach (1983, p. 285), it went like this:

Hofrat Peters: "Ich muß mit meiner Frau um 5 nach Gumpendorf. Wollen Sie bey meiner Frau schlafen? Es ist so kalt." (Court Councilor Peters: "I have to go to Gumpendorf with my wife at 5 o’clock. Do you want to sleep at my wife’s [place]? It is very cold.")

So, Beethoven’s (and Prince Lobkowitz‘s) old friend Peters offered his wife’s house (being vacated but well heated – it’s January!) to him to stay there for a night… After which Peters had to excuse himself, as he wrote into the deaf man’s book: I need … to pick up my wife. – for their journey. Not to "fetch" her and lead her into Beethoven’s bed! John E Klapproth (talk) 01:17, 3 October 2011 (UTC)

Antonie: refuted by Beethoven himself[edit]

It was only recently (Klapproth 2016, p. 40) that Solomon's Antonie hypothesis was finally and thoroughly refuted. The answer to this perennial question can be found already in the second part of Beethoven's famous Letter:

(1) "Mondays – Thursdays – the only days when the mail coach goes from here to K."

(2) "... you will probably not before Saturday receive the first message from me."

Beethoven was in Teplitz when he wrote this on Tuesday the 7th (no doubt about that), and Antonie Brentano was (as Beethoven knew very well) at the same time (for several weeks) in "K" (Karlsbad). From Teplitz to Karlsbad (ca. 100 km), the post coach took just one day. Therefore, if it had been intended for Antonie, she would have received the Letter on Friday morning, the latest. If, however, Beethoven expected the addressee to receive the Letter not before Saturday (and "probably") then she must have been two days away from Teplitz, or one more day from Karlsbad - in a westerly direction: the next bigger township is Eger [Cheb], ca. 50 km from Karlsbad (and Franzensbad another 10 km away). Now it is established that Antonie is definitely ruled out, and only Josephine remains as a likely candidate, it helps to know that the Austrian Emperor was briefly in Franzensbad on 5 July 1812, and given the known fact that Josephine's first husband was a personal friend of the Emperor (to whom she went to ask for help, after becoming a widow), it makes sense to assume that she tried to meet him there (after her encounter with Beethoven on 3–4 July).John E Klapproth (talk) 23:50, 31 December 2015 (UTC)

Is Solomon a sloppy scholar?[edit]

I recently (and somewhat rudely, sorry) reverted a contribution claiming that Maynard Solomon is a bad scholar whose work is filled with mistakes arising from imperfect knowledge of German. In fact, from what I've seen of evaluations of his work from musicologists (e.g. in the Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia, or browsing for reviews of his books on JSTOR), the professional musicologists seem in general fairly positive about him.

I'm all for editorial balance, and if there are cases where Solomon has screwed up with the German translations or other facts, then by all means we should discuss them. However, allegations of incompetence must come from published, authentic scholarly sources--that's WP policy, and indeed I think it's a wise policy. We really lose a lot prestige if our articles give the appearance of just letting editors blow off steam, rather than repackaging professional scholarship, as we are supposed to. Sincerely, Opus33 (talk) 23:13, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

As long as the presentation of facts (i.e. Solomon's countless errors, misinterpretations and mistranslations, about which there is no discussion anymore in accademia) are denounced as "personal rants", an objective article on this amateur scholar will never be possible. There are a lot of musicologists who care about the correct evaluation of primary sources and therefore are not positive about Solomon's methods. As a matter of fact Solomon's writings and his legendary psychobabble are not even taken a bit serious by European scholars. And the Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia is a monument of sloppiness, a mass accumulation of howlers, a tragic chapter in the history of wretched Mozart lexica.--Suessmayr (talk) 08:11, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, really now, Suessmayr.
"There are a lot of musicologists" ... who are they and where have they expressed this opinion?
"are not taken even a bit seriously by European scholars" ... which ones?
When this sort of question goes unanswered, then the title "ranter" does indeed emerge from the wings, ready to be applied to an editor who offers outbursts of anger far more frequently than scholarly citations.
The requirement of citation, particularly for controversial contributions, is not some kind of personal preference of mine but is laid out clearly on the Wikipedia policy pages WP:NOR and WP:NPOV. I participate, like many editors, in enforcing these policies.
On the other hand, if you can find and quote the published words of a scholar who says Solomon's work is low-quality, I will not remove them. Defending Solomon is not my purpose; it's defending the practice of citation.
Sincerely, Opus33 (talk) 16:54, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
There is a kind of ignorance that is as embarrassing as it is funny. You grade other people as if you knew the scholarly literature. You want citations? Where are yours in the article? Have you read Klaus Kropfinger's Beethoven article in the MGG? Followed the year-long dispute that Tellenbach and Steblin had with Solomon? Or read Ernst Hilmar's numerous critical publications? I guess you haven't even read Solomon's own articles. You yourself are responsible for your education. Deleting other people's contributions might give you a feeling of judicial grandeur and self-satisfaction, but you only make a fool of yourself. This is one of Wikipedia's main deficiencies: the ignoramuses always have enough time to guard the articles, the scholars have too many other things to do - which also keeps them from providing "citations" to people who would never bother to look and read for themselves.--Suessmayr (talk) 07:24, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
There seems to be a basic misunderstanding here. Solomon isn't a scholar, he's an amateur researcher and primarily a writer of very good semi-fictional biographies. Hence his writings should never be mistaken for "scholarship". Somebody who writes about Beethoven and Mozart and doesn't even understand German should definitely be distrusted.--193.170.112.245 (talk) 09:51, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for sharing, 193.170.112.245, but you don't have any citations either. Sincerely, Opus33 (talk) 16:54, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Neither have you. I can only repeat what this suessmayr has stated: you want citations without providing any yourself. Solomon's Mozart book is an entertaining book. Yet what's wrong with it is:
  • He never tells you if a statement of his is his own speculation or something based on hard evidence, and he speculates a great deal. He's a modest shrink by education, not a musicologist - which would be fine, but this old Freud stuff became a bit obsolete in the meantime.
  • He chooses evidence that supports his speculations. How are the readers to know that there is also other evidence, which contradicts his

speculations and which he omits?

  • He doesn't do primary sources research - he couldn't, because his German is very rudimentary. So he relies on secondary sources, which may or may not be reliable. (If he looked up primary sources, he wouldn't write all that nonsense stuff on Mozart's supposedly signing himself as "Adam" instead of "Amad[e]".)
Also, Solomon includes hardly any technical analyses of music. Such a book may be easier for the general public to read, they can read it through even without background in music, and they are more likely to praise the book. Solomon's psychobable is the kind of armchair musings that everybody can do, hence it's something a lot of people relate to and that helps his book get positive ratings. There's a lot of such musings on various net forums: people take a tidbit from somebody's biography (a fact or fiction, doesn't matter) and spin their fantasies. Occasionally they are on to something, but most of the time they are far off the target, because there is a great lot of historical context that one has to know to say something reasonable, and getting familiar with this context requires years of study - archival research, often somewhat tedious (and the old German handwriting is a pain to read even for Germans and Austrians). Solomon often mistranslates from German in an atrocious way; in this case, however, he had it easier because he could use at least the Mozart family letters in Emily Anderson's translation - he didn't have to use the original German. But when he has to translate something, he trips over the simplest grammar constructions. From various mistranslations of his I saw I can tell that he has some idea about the meaning of basic words, but no idea about the grammar. Basically he puts together the English translations of the particular words with disregard for declension and conjugation, and as a result, the relationships between the words and therefore the meaning of the text is changed.
The review on Amazon entitled "Enjoyment marred by pop psychology" is a pretty good description of what's wrong with Solomon's psychoanalyzing a "patient" dead for two hundred years. Now, the positive reviewers claim that the book helped them understand Mozart as a person. How can they tell if Solomon's view is based on evidence if they don't know what evidence exists? Solomon won't tell them. He just states everything as facts. And people like that, because they believe they finally get the ultimate, authoritative scoop on Mozart's life. The general public likes clear statements and he provides them. Ask a bona fide scholar about a complex issue and you get an answer that some evidence suggest this, other suggests something else, and if new evidence comes up, the situation will change - and there may not be enough evidence to say for sure anyway. People hate that. They want to "know", to be sure, to have definitive answer. You don't get that often in real scholarship: there are too many factors to be taken into account to make simple statements. Nor can many statements be definitive, because there is always a possibility that new evidence comes to light.
It's not surprising that S's books get positive ratings: definitive statements presented in a persuasive and authoritative way will always

get a lot of applause. The general public won't and can't look "behind the scenes".--141.203.254.65 (talk) 14:10, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Hello 141.203.254.65, Concerning whether I'm using reference sources when I edit, I think the track record is actually pretty reasonable; please consult my "User contributions" listing or this page.
If it makes you feel better, I'm pretty much done editing out of Solomon now, and have moved on to Braunbehrens and Deutsch, with the goals of completeness and balance in mind. If you have particular sources that you think it would be important for me to consult at this point--especially for the purpose of trimming back errors attributable to Solomon--I would appreciate knowing of them. Yours sincerely, Opus33 (talk) 17:45, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh my. Braunbehrens and Deutsch is where many of Solomon's howler's originated. Braunbehrens never did any archival research and just copied the old literature and Deutsch was not even able to copy printed sources without errors. You shouldn't miss reading Otto Biba's review of Braunbehrens's book in th MJb.--193.170.112.226 (talk) 14:41, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

Very Touchy Page for an Academic[edit]

It is interesting that such strong feelings are generated about someone who is mainly a Mozart scholar. Who was the authority on Mozart's music before Maynard Solomon clarified the truth on the life of Mozart? Who is the leading authority on Mozart and His music in Germany? DavoudMSA (talk) 11:43, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

A useful question, and I'd be curious to know other people's answers. Opus33 (talk) 16:32, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
A question that again betrays only ignorance. Solomon is not a Mozart scholar, he is an author of a well-written semi-documentary biography of Mozart. He was mainly known as a writer on Beethoven, Mozart only was a kind of appendix to his earlier work on that composer. Solomon clarified nothing "on the life of Mozart", he added a number of nonsensical mistakes that unfortunately keep popping up in the work of writers who do too much copywork. Solomon doesn't know the primary sources, he has never read Mozart's letters in their original German version (not to mention a heap of German secondary literature) and being no musicologist by education, his expertise on Mozart's music is absolutely nil. The leading Mozart scholar in Germany is Professor Ulrich Konrad (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulrich_Konrad) and as a matter of fact he also is THE most important Mozart scholar on the planet. Of course he doesn't write semi-fictional biographies, which could be the reason that he is not too well known outside academia. Real scholars don't have to rely on ballyhoo.--Suessmayr (talk) 07:10, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Musicologist?[edit]

It's absurd to call Solomon a musicologist, when his only academic qualification is a bachelor's degree in psychology. Every real and serious musicologist must take this as a personal insult.--62.47.143.114 (talk) 16:44, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

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