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Forbidden Music

Forbidden Music: The Jewish Composers Banned by the Nazis

Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Forbidden Music
    Book Description:

    With National Socialism's arrival in Germany in 1933, Jews dominated music more than virtually any other sector, making it the most important cultural front in the Nazi fight for German identity. This groundbreaking book looks at the Jewish composers and musicians banned by the Third Reich and the consequences for music throughout the rest of the twentieth century. Because Jewish musicians and composers were, by 1933, the principal conveyors of Germany's historic traditions and the ideals of German culture, the isolation, exile and persecution of Jewish musicians by the Nazis became an act of musical self-mutilation.

    Michael Haas looks at the actual contribution of Jewish composers in Germany and Austria before 1933, at their increasingly precarious position in Nazi Europe, their forced emigration before and during the war, their ambivalent relationships with their countries of refuge, such as Britain and the United States and their contributions within the radically changed post-war music environment.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15431-3
    Subjects: Music, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    As this excerpt shows, German Jews had a complex relationship with their sense of national identity. Heine’s epic poem from 1844,Germany: A Winter’s Tale, offers a chilling prediction of the disastrous direction in which the German nation would move. In an apparent contradiction, Heine states in his introduction that his sense of patriotism consisted of dreaming of a world that one day would be entirely German.¹ Heine was simply personifying the conflict that resulted from his respect for German culture, above all its language, with his wariness about a national identity that saw itself as so exceptional as to...

  5. CHAPTER 1 German and Jewish
    (pp. 7-27)

    Isak Schrečker, the Jewish father of the composer Franz Schreker, had been court photographer in Budapest to Franz Joseph, King of Hungary and Emperor of Austria, as well as to his son and heir Crown Prince Rudolf, since obtaining the royal seal of approval in 1871. In 1874, he divorced his Jewish wife, converted to Protestantism and changed his name to Ignácz Ferenz Schrecker before placing an advertisement in the paper in search of a new, presumably non-Jewish, wife. The success of this venture must have startled even him: with his marriage to the penniless god-daughter of Princess Eleonore Maria...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Wagner and German Jewish Composers in the Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 28-42)

    In Richard Wagner’s 1850 polemicDas Judenthum in der Musik (Judaism in Music)¹, several features demand special attention. Not only can the document be seen as a template for what was still to come, but it also offers a reflection of the period in which Wagner lived and wrote. The impulse to produce the pamphlet grew out of a casual reference to a work possessing a ‘Hebrew flavour’ that was made by Wagner’s friend Theodor Uhlig in theNeue Zeitschrift für Musik. The gusto with which Wagner addresses this point becomes apparent within the first paragraph. It is equally clear...

  7. CHAPTER 3 An Age of Liberalism, Brahms and the Chronicler Hanslick
    (pp. 43-61)

    The years 1867 to 1897 were defined by the central role played by the Austrian Liberal Party and matched almost precisely the period that Brahms was resident in Vienna (1868–97). Economically, these years of Liberalism financed the burgeoning Industrial Revolution and promoted open markets, unregulated trade, a liberal economy, and easy access to finance. It shunned institutions that put barriers in place and inevitably began showing tendencies of anti-clericalism and anti-nationalism, both seen as impediments to unhampered capital growth. Its emergence, following the creation of the Austro-Hungarian dual Monarchy in 1867, picked up where the missed political opportunities of...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Mahler and His Chronicler Julius Korngold
    (pp. 62-79)

    It is a historic coincidence that Mahler should arrive at the Imperial Opera in Vienna in the same year that Brahms died. The significance of this intersection of musical biographies is highlighted by a lecture and interview given by the Anglo-Austrian composer and musicologist Egon Wellesz. Recordings of the lecture and interview reveal that they were given at two different times and in two different languages: German and English. The English interview is from a 1962 BBC broadcast with Deryck Cooke and comes from Wellesz’s period as lecturer (retired) at Lincoln College, Oxford, a position he took up after fleeing...

  9. CHAPTER 5 The Jugendstil School of Schoenberg, Schreker, Zemlinsky and Weigl
    (pp. 80-98)

    According to Bertha Zuckerkandl, the popular cultural philosopher and historian Egon Friedell ‘had both the misfortune and good luck to be an Austrian. Misfortune because Austrian genius has rarely, if ever, succeeded in obtaining domestic recognition, and good luck because Austria, as no other place, provided a unique hotbed of creativity that allowed uninhibited growth of vision, originality and individuality.’¹ Zuckerkandl could have been referring to any of the Viennese composers in the title of this chapter, particularly Arnold Schoenberg.

    Describing the Vienna of 1901, the year in which Schoenberg left the city to work at Ernst von Wohlzogen’sÜberbrettl...

  10. CHAPTER 6 A Musical Migration
    (pp. 99-127)

    In 1900, Germany, the United States and Austria-Hungary had populations of around 40 million each. By 1919, Austria was reduced to just 6,420,000, including hundreds of thousands of immigrants from former Habsburg territories who flooded into the remaining ‘rump-state’ of Austria. This now consisted of Vienna – the sixth largest city in the world as recently as 1910¹ – a few German-speaking holdings, and a narrow neck of mountains running to Switzerland which prevented Germany from having a border with Italy. The disappearance of the Austrian Empire as a geographical entity was unprecedented in modern European history, with the possible...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Hey! We’re Alive!
    (pp. 128-148)

    ‘Wissenschaft’ or ‘science’ as a suffix became a useful means of establishing academic credibility in disciplines far removed from the physical and natural sciences. With its mathematical permutations, much of the arcane fascination with dodecaphony arose because it appeared to bring music closer to ‘Wissenschaft’. A cursory glance down the index of ‘scientific’ articles found inMelosandAnbruchonly confirms how involved Jewish critics, writers and musicians were in the process of making music rational and subject to empirical evaluation. Most of these writers would later be included in the notoriousLexikon der Juden in der Musikcompiled by...

  12. CHAPTER 8 A Question of Musical Potency: The Anti-Romantics
    (pp. 149-173)

    To musical conservatives, Hans Pfitzner’s pamphletDie neue Aesthetik der musikalischen Impotenz. Ein Verwesungssymtom?(The New Aesthetic of Musical Impotence: A Sign of Decay?), written in 1919 and published the following year, must have seemed like a godsend. It was a response to the critic Paul Bekker, the author of a popular and well-received biography of Beethoven in which he suggested that the music of the early twentieth century was the fruit of Beethoven’s legacy. As reactionaries and progressives both claimed Beethoven as their own, Pfitzner’s attack on Bekker was intended to dispute the legitimacy of the modernists’ claim. However,...

  13. CHAPTER 9 The Resolute Romantics
    (pp. 174-199)

    At this point, it’s worth recalling the cultural upheaval resulting from the First World War. Though Germany and Austria had sued for peace in 1918, they assumed that the war, which had ground on for four years, had ended in a stalemate. Neither side had gained any significant advantage and both had suffered unimaginable casualties. Germany, Austria and their allies sustained losses of approximately 8.5 million, compared with the 5 million casualties of the Entente and its various partners. But the sabre rattling and armaments race before 1914 had been as intense among the Triple Alliance of France, Russia and...

  14. CHAPTER 10 Between Hell and Purgatory
    (pp. 200-238)

    At the end of 1932, there was much to occupy the largely Jewish contingent of journalists at Vienna’sNeue Freie Presse. The 300th birthday of the philosopher Baruch Spinoza was celebrated on 24 November,¹ though despite the detail of the accompanying articles, it was far more subdued than the retrospective the paper had produced on the 250th anniversary of his death in 1927.² It was a last gasp of rationalism: the Dutch Jewish philosopher had laid the intellectual basis for the Enlightenment that became the foundation for two pillars of German Humanism: Lessing and Goethe. In 1933 the readers of...

  15. CHAPTER 11 Exile and Worse
    (pp. 239-273)

    In a letter to Erich Korngold dated 6 December 1934, Ludwig Strecker of the music publisher Schott confirms that with the new situation in Germany, the firm is not in a position to take on the composer’s new operaDie Kathrin: ‘Only yesterday, Furtwängler, Kleiber and Hindemith have resigned from all of their posts and they stand accused of being “too Jew-friendly”. Fall’s operettas, even Offenbach and Mendelssohn, are being boycotted these days and not even works by Kreisler are allowed to be broadcast on the radio.’¹ When, four years later, Otto Witrowsky wrote to his brother-in-law Julius Korngold on...

  16. CHAPTER 12 Restitution
    (pp. 274-304)

    The letters quoted above provide a snapshot of life after Hitler. The first refers to cringing attempts by former Nazi-supporting academics to hold onto their livelihoods during the denazification processes. The plea for positive endorsements from the colleagues they forced into exile (or worse) is made in the context of revelations of extreme ruthlessness carried out by many non-Jewish academics between 1933 and 1945, profiting from the anti-Semitictabula rasain their institutions. Robert Haas, to whom Einstein refers, was the Nazi-supporting head of the Austrian National Library’s Music Collection and principal editor of the Bruckner critical edition. He was...

  17. Epilogue
    (pp. 305-306)

    In the introduction to this book, I write that it would chalk up a cultural victory to the Nazis to accept the belief that the pre-Hitler contributions made by Jewish composers to German music were delusional; however, I end the book paradoxically with Korngold’s sobering encounter with this very same delusion upon his return to post-war Vienna. The 2003 Viennese and New York exhibition on Jews and German musical identity, ‘Quasi una fantasia’, maintained the default setting since the end of the Third Reich that Jewish contributions to German music were never recognised, acknowledged or valued by the societies so...

  18. Notes
    (pp. 307-319)
  19. Bibliography
    (pp. 320-334)
  20. Index
    (pp. 335-358)