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Classical Music in Weimar Germany : Culture and Politics before the Third Reich
Bloomsbury Academic

Classical Music in Weimar Germany : Culture and Politics before the Third Reich

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Classical Music in Weimar Germany
Author(s): Brendan Fay

From Hitler's notorious fondness for Wagner's operas to classical music's role in fuelling German chauvinism in the era of the world wars, many observers have pointed to a distinct relationship between German culture and reactionary politics.

In Classical Music in Weimar Germany, Brendan Fay challenges this paradigm by reassessing the relationship between conservative musical culture and German politics. Drawing upon a range of archival sources, concert reviews and satirical cartoons, Fay maps the complex path of classical music culture from Weimar to Nazi Germany-a trajectory that was more crooked, uneven, or broken than straight. Through an examination of topics as varied as radio and race to nationalism, this book demonstrates the diversity of competing aesthetic, philosophical and political ideals held by German music critics that were a hallmark of Weimar Germany.

Rather than seeing the cultural conservatism of this period as a natural prelude for the violence and destruction later unleashed by Nazism, this fascinating book sheds new light on traditional culture and its relationship to the rise of Nazism in 20th-century Germany.



Review(s):

"Fay has uncovered a wealth of fascinating material, not only enriching our preconceptions of musical life during the Weimar Republic, but also demonstrating both connections and significant divergences after the Nazis came to power." - Journal of Modern History

“The book’s major strength lies in this reexamination of an implied assumption of continuity between Weimar conservative music critics and the practices and ideologies of Nazism." - German Studies Review

“In this thoughtful, intelligent account, Brendan Fay forcefully challenges the notion that Weimar-era conservative critics were always the intellectual outriders for Nazism that they have often been painted as being. He reminds us of the open, varied and contested nature of conservative thought in the 1920s. In doing so he invites us to re-examine the relationship between Weimar-era politics and culture in fresh and provocative ways.” —Neil Gregor, Professor of Modern European History, University of Southampton, UK

Classical Music in Weimar Germany provides an important corrective to our tendency to regard tradition and modernism as simple opposites. Fay uncovers the free-wheeling exchange of opinion and activism among conservatives and progressives in the years between the end of the First World War and the Nazi seizure of power. This is a revelatory and eloquent work of interpretation, illuminating a crucial period of German musical development.” —Celia Applegate, Professor of History, Vanderbilt University, USA





ISBN:  9781350114807