But, of course...
Pliable's On An Overgrown Path deserves the attention of almost any serious reader and lover of music, and it deserves whatever accolades can be given for his coverage of Hugo Chavez' "Bolivarian Revolution," especially as the musical world swoons over Gustavo Dudamel.
Perhaps my love of Wilhelm Furtwängler should be tempered for this reason, and - as I have said here - some recordings, like that 1943 Bayreuth Meistersinger, are problematic for me - maybe that's right; however, I cannot help but think that Dudamel is a servant of a state verging ever nearer to totalitarianism and repression. Supporting Dudamel, his youth orchestra, and other Venezuelan cultural products is akin to saying that we love the produce of a nascent dictatorship, even if we don't so much care for the dictator. While Mr. Dudamel should not be made to suffer for being the product and superstar of the music-education program of Venezuela, we should not get in the business of supporting Chavez or the end-results of his projects until it becomes clear that Chavez is committed to democracy and human rights.
I would, in addition to the Thielemann Pfitzner/Strauss disc, recommend Valery Gergiev's recording (live broadcast, and not - to my knowledge - commercially issued) of Pfitzner's Violin Concerto, op. 64, with Rainer Küchl as soloist from 2004.