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Musical Legacy of Wartime France

Musical Legacy of Wartime France

Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 298
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  • Book Info
    Musical Legacy of Wartime France
    Book Description:

    For the three forces competing for political authority in France during World War II, music became the site of a cultural battle that reflected the war itself. German occupying authorities promoted German music at the expense of French, while the Vichy administration pursued projects of national renewal through culture. Meanwhile, Resistance networks gradually formed to combat German propaganda while eyeing Vichy's efforts with suspicion. In The Musical Legacy of Wartime France, Leslie A. Sprout explores how each of these forces influenced the composition, performance, and reception of five well-known works: the secret Resistance songs of Francis Poulenc and those of Arthur Honegger; Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, composed in a German prisoner of war camp; Maurice Duruflé's Requiem, one of sixty-five pieces commissioned by Vichy between 1940 and 1944; and Igor Stravinsky's Danses concertantes, which was met at its 1945 Paris premiere with protests that prefigured the aesthetic debates of the early Cold War. Sprout examines not only how these pieces were created and disseminated during and just after the war, but also how and why we still associate these pieces with the stories we tell-in textbooks, program notes, liner notes, historical monographs, and biographies-about music, France, and World War II.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95527-1
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xxiv)
  5. 1 Poulenc’s Wartime Secrets
    (pp. 1-37)

    After France declared war on Germany on 1 September 1939, Francis Poulenc, at forty a veteran of the First World War, had a much easier time as a soldier in the French army than most of his fellow composers. Instead of being forced to sit idle in a field during months of tense anticipation, Poulenc was sent on a goodwill tour by the Administration of Fine Arts with baritone Pierre Bernac to give concerts in January and February 1940 in Portugal, Italy, and Switzerland. When the Germans finally invaded in May 1940, there followed mass surrenders of French soldiers, including...

  6. 2 Honegger’s Postwar Rehabilitation
    (pp. 38-79)

    After Paris was liberated from German occupation on 25 August 1944, the city’s inhabitants exuberantly embraced their newfound freedom. For the city’s symphony orchestras, it was time to celebrate the return of both the music and the musicians that had disappeared from their wartime concerts on the basis of race, religion, or nationality. Manuel Rosenthal emerged from years of hiding to conduct the Orchestre national’s first post-liberation concert. Rosenthal had been the orchestra’s assistant conductor until he was drafted as a medic in September 1939. In June 1940 he was taken prisoner by the German army and interned for eight...

  7. 3 Ignoring Jolivet’s Testimony, Embracing Messiaen’s Memories
    (pp. 80-119)

    Nearly every commentary on Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time tells the story of the composer’s odyssey of defeat and captivity in 1940, the genesis of the work, and its first performance in a German prison camp on 15 January 1941. From biographies to monographs, memoirs, and liner notes, we encounter the same details: the Germans who captured Messiaen in the woods near Nancy and transferred him to Stalag VIIIA in Görlitz, Silesia; the pocket scores of Berg, Ravel, and Stravinsky that the German guards allowed him to keep; and the chance encounters with a cellist, clarinetist, and...

  8. 4 The Timeliness of Duruflé’s Requiem
    (pp. 120-150)

    In May 1941 Maurice Duruflé received a commission from Vichy’s Administration of Fine Arts to write a symphonic poem, for which he was offered ten thousand francs, payable upon completion of the work.¹ Reversing the program’s steady decline each year since its inception in 1938, the administration provided ample funds—270,000 francs—to grant a total of seventeen commissions between May and August 1941, the first year of commissions granted under the new regime. The large number of commissions for symphonic poems and symphonies, thirteen in the first year alone, were intended to provide new repertoire for Paris’s four symphony...

  9. 5 From the Postwar to the Cold War: Protesting Stravinsky in Postwar France
    (pp. 151-184)

    In the 1944–45 season following the liberation of Paris, the free weekly performances of the Orchestre national, broadcast live to a nationwide radio audience, introduced French listeners to music that had been inaccessible to them during the German occupation. Manuel Rosenthal, who took over the direction of the orchestra in September 1944, conducted several concerts featuring music by the persecuted (such as Mihalovici on 16 November) and the banned (Prokofiev on 19 October, Hindemith on 22 November). Rosenthal later recalled the sense of urgency he felt about using the Orchestre national as a platform to reinstate the works of...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 185-248)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 249-262)
  12. Index
    (pp. 263-280)