The point of recapitulation in the first movement of the Ninth is one of the most horrifying moments in music, as the carefully prepared cadence is frustrated, damming up energy which finally explodes in the throttling murderous rage of a rapist incapable of attaining release.I talked about that in this post. But even if you don't like politics, politics might like you and it certainly seems to have made an impact on the lives of orchestral musicians in the Minnesota Orchestra. Here is a very illuminating article on the subject which explains a few things that were previously a mystery such as how an orchestra could remain locked-out for ten months?
Obviously what is needed is a third-party arbitrator to bring both parties to the table. As the article explains,
The sad truth is that musicians are usually at the beck and call of powerful players in society, whether bank executives in Minnesota or the City Fathers in 18th century Leipzig who were J. S. Bach's employers. Rarely there is the case of a musician like Beethoven who managed to win the support of a group of wealthy nobles who arranged a stipend for him. The force of Beethoven's personality and the power of his music won him the admiration of upper-class music lovers and therefore a certain amount of freedom from the usual constraints.
The world of popular music is different from that of classical music in that it is almost exclusively commercial success that allows for freedom and independence. But this freedom is likely an illusion because in reality, the demands of the commercial musical market are very severe. In most cases you simply must be generating the required formulas or you won't sell many records.
Apart from extreme cases like that of the Minnesota Orchestra, most musicians live with a blend of freedom and constraint. Usually if you have some talent you can make some kind of modest living in music and that is what most musicians do: make a very modest living. One has a tendency to be suspicious of musicians that are very successful and make a lot of money, but that is mere prejudice. There are fabulously wealthy musicians who seem unaffected by it and continue to produce lovely music for their fans. The example of Paul McCartney comes to mind as this article about his recent concert in Ottawa reveals.
Paul McCartney just turned 71 years old and it doesn't seem to be slowing him down much. At the end of the day, he has lived through all the politics and social upheaval of the last half-century and what is left is the music. That is rather heartening!