Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Arnold Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw in Postwar Europe

Arnold Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw in Postwar Europe

Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: 1
Pages: 272
  • Book Info
    Arnold Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw in Postwar Europe
    Book Description:

    Joy H. Calico examines the cultural history of postwar Europe through the lens of the performance and reception of Arnold Schoenberg'sA Survivor from Warsaw-a short but powerful work, she argues, capable of irritating every exposed nerve in postwar Europe. Schoenberg, a Jewish composer whose oeuvre had been one of the Nazis' prime exemplars ofentartete(degenerate) music, immigrated to the United States and became an American citizen. Both admired and reviled as a pioneer of dodecaphony, he wrote this twelve-tone piece about the Holocaust in three languages for an American audience. This book investigates the meanings attached to the work as it circulated through Europe during the early Cold War in a kind of symbolic musical remigration, focusing on six case studies: West Germany, Austria, Norway, East Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Each case is unique, informed by individual geopolitical concerns, but this analysis also reveals common themes in anxieties about musical modernism, Holocaust memory and culpability, the coexistence of Jews and former Nazis, anti-Semitism, dislocation, and the presence of occupying forces on both sides of the Cold War divide.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95770-1
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. viii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Abbrevations and Acronyms
    (pp. xiii-xv)
  6. MAP
    (pp. xvi-xvi)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-19)

    Arnold Schoenberg’sA Survivor from Warsaw(1947) seemed designed to irritate every exposed nerve in postwar Europe. A twelve-tone piece in three languages about the Holocaust, it was written for an American audience by a Jewish composer whose oeuvre had been the Nazis’ prime exemplar ofentartete(degenerate) music. Said composer was both admired and reviled as a pioneer of dodecaphony and had immigrated to the United States and become an American citizen. Clocking in at approximately seven minutes,A Survivoris too short to occupy either half of a concert yet too fraught with meaning to easily share the...

  8. West Germany: Reternchment versus A survivor from Warsaw
    (pp. 20-40)

    The Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, or West Germany) figures prominently in most American musicological narratives of Western Europe during the Cold War because of its distinctive relationship with the United States, and because of its unrivaled support for new music. That support included dedicated international events, most famously Darmstadt’s Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (IFNM), which worked in tandem with radio stations to commission, record, disseminate, and promote new repertoire. Initially, this agenda featured music that had been repressed by the Nazis; eventually, the focus shifted to newly composed music. It also nurtured composers from abroad, some of whose...

  9. Austria: Homecoming via A Survivor from Warsaw
    (pp. 41-65)

    Such was Schoenberg’s response when the conductor Hermann Scherchen informed him that he was planning to performA Survivor from Warsawin Vienna and asked the composer for his blessing. Schoenberg had long had a love-hate relationship with his hometown. Just sixteen months earlier, in October 1949, he had expressed heartfelt delight at receiving honorary citizenship in Vienna from that city’s mayor, even while his correspondence with Viennese friends revealed a deep and abiding ambivalence. He had ample cause to proceed with caution. An organized anti- Semitic faction had torpedoed his academic career there, and the press had regularly savaged...

  10. Norway: Performing Rememberance with A Survivor From Warsaw
    (pp. 66-86)

    On 21 March 1954 the Scandinavian premiere ofA Survivor from Warsawwas given by the Philharmonic Society Orchestra in Oslo (Filharmonisk Selskaps Orkester), in cooperation with the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and the national section of the ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music). Heinz Freudenthal was on the podium, Ola Isene performed the recitation, and Ernst Glaser was the concertmaster. The only other work on the program was Darius Milhaud’sService sacré(Sacred Service), a setting of the Jewish liturgy for the Sabbath morning, featuring Swedish cantor Leo Rosenblüth as soloist. LikeA Survivor,theSacred Servicewas written by...

  11. East Germany: Antifascism and A Survivor from Warsaw
    (pp. 87-111)

    A Survivor from Warsawofficially breached the Iron Curtain in 1958. The relatively late date is not surprising. Certainly it could not have happened much earlier than Khrushchev’s “secret speech” renouncing Stalin’s crimes in 1956. ThatA Survivorhad its Soviet Bloc premiere in East Germany, however,issurprising, since the German Democratic Republic (GDR—Deutsche Demokratische Republik) had a reputation as one of the more Stalinist and culturally conservative of the satellite states. Schoenberg and dodecaphony were highly controversial in East German art-music circles in the 1950s, but generally speaking the state was more concerned about American incursions, whether...

  12. Poland: Cultural Diplomacy through A Survivor from Warsaw
    (pp. 112-135)

    We know now that this did not come to pass. Felix Greissle, Schoenberg’s son-in-law, then working at the music publishing company E.B. Marks, described the prospect of “a world premiere,” apparently unaware that Kurt Frederick would do the honors in Albuquerque just a month later, followed shortly thereafter by the European premiere in Paris under René Leibowitz. Yet even the suggestion thatA Survivor from Warsawmight have been performed in Warsaw just five years after the destruction of the ghetto and four years after much of the city had been leveled as well is noteworthy, world premiere or not,...

  13. Czechoslovakia: A Survivor as A Survivor from Warsaw
    (pp. 136-160)

    The story ofA Survivor from Warsawin Czechoslovakia is distinctive because two of the five narrators who performed the title role in the 1960s were Jewish. The first of these, Josef Červinka, survived the Holocaust because he was in exile in England; the second, Karel Berman, survived four Nazi camps and is now best known for his role in Terezín’s musical life. Berman made the only commercial recording of the work that features the narration in Czech, and he performed the role more often in Czechoslovakia than anyone else. Červinka and Berman represented two different modes of Czech Jewish...

  14. Afterword
    (pp. 161-168)

    Viewing the cultural history of postwar Europe through the lens of Schoenberg’sA Survivor from Warsaw,its early performances, and its reception can illuminate some of the fissures in the continental cultural and political landscape. Schoenberg’s biography and reputation, the subject matter of the work, and the dodecaphonic method according to which it was composed all attracted considerable attention in their own right, but they also functioned as metonymies, standing in for social, political, ethical, and aesthetic issues that ranged far beyond the particular composer and work. What this survey has not yet accounted for is why so many considered...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 169-212)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 213-232)
  17. Index
    (pp. 233-254)