Site/Foundation for music supressed by the Nazis

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IcedNote
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Site/Foundation for music supressed by the Nazis

Post by IcedNote » Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:10 pm

http://orelfoundation.org/index.php/site/

Thought this would interest some/many of you.

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

absinthe
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Re: Site/Foundation for music supressed by the Nazis

Post by absinthe » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:05 pm

What surprised me was that non-Jewish music was also proscribed under the Nazis where the composer had association with Jews. Alban Berg was one such, an Ayrian but his teacher was a Jew. Berg would have been a little better off had his operas and other works without such proscribing. The Nazis laid into Schoenberg all right.

Modernistfan
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Re: Site/Foundation for music supressed by the Nazis

Post by Modernistfan » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:16 am

Yes, a lot of music written by non-Jewish composers was also banned--anything that had a connection either with any form of modernism or with jazz was banned. Another non-Jewish composer who was banned and eventually emigrated (to Southern California) was Ernst Krenek. The Nazis really went after his opera "Jonny Spielt Auf" (available in a modern recording in the Decca "Entartete Musik" series, although it may be out of print now). Krenek was blasted as a Jewish degenerate, even though he was a practicing Catholic with no Jewish ancestry whatsoever, as far as he could determine. Paul Hindemith eventually had his music banned and also emigrated; he wound up teaching at Yale.

What is even more remarkable is that virtually the same composers who were banned under Naziism were also banned by the Stalin regime in the Zhdanovshchina beginning after World War II. This included anything related to 12-tone music or jazz as well (one would think that the Communists would have regarded jazz as the music of a part of the proletariat that was especially oppressed under capitalism, but nyet). Mahler was also banned--Neeme Jarvi, who grew up in Estonia when that area was part of the Soviet Union, recalls collecting recordings as a kid and grabbing any Mahler recording he could somehow find (some came in from Czechoslovakia, where Mahler, still regarded as a Czech composer, could still be played, at least for part of the period). It is remarkable that the same works could be regarded as "cultural Bolshevism" under the Nazis and "bourgeois formalism" under the Stalinists without changing a hemidemisemiquaver.
Last edited by Modernistfan on Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

Lance
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Re: Site/Foundation for music supressed by the Nazis

Post by Lance » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:21 am

Excellent sources for info. I just subscribed to their news bulletins. Thank you!
Lance G. Hill
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John F
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Re: Site/Foundation for music supressed by the Nazis

Post by John F » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:11 am

I'd be interested to know just when Mahler's music was banned in the Soviet Union. Not only did young composers like Shostakovich know their Mahler, but no later than 1980 and in some cases earlier, the Soviet national record company MK/Melodiya issued recordings of seven of the symphonies, all but two of them by Soviet orchestras and conductors, and pirated western recordings of many of the songs. Vladimir Jurowski says Mahler's music was largely suppressed in the Soviet Union but that his father had a recording of the 5th symphony, perhaps Bruno Walter's with the New York Philharmonic which was ripped off by MK in the early '70s. I'll look into it if I can.
John Francis

Modernistfan
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Re: Site/Foundation for music supressed by the Nazis

Post by Modernistfan » Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:34 am

According to my information, Mahler's music was basically banned during the last years of the Stalin period, presumably 1948-1953 (this was the same period that composers such as Prokofiev and Shostakovich were being attacked as formalist). I suspect that Mahler's music began sneaking back somewhat afterward during the Khrushchev thaw, allowing for the recordings mentioned to be made in the Soviet Union. As for Shostakovich, he had developed an interest in and an influence from Mahler at a much earlier date, certainly by the composition of the Fourth Symphony by 1936. Please recall that, in the St. Petersburg of the mid-to-late 1920's, you could not only hear Mahler, but also Hindemith, Berg, and even Krenek. Krenek's Second Symphony, a largely atonal work in three movements, has been suggested as a possible influence on the Shostakovich Fourth; try to hear it if you like Shostakovich (there have been modern recordings on CPO and Decca). I would bet a few rubles that Shostakovich had gotten copies of the scores of many if not most of the Mahler symphonies, although recordings of Mahler were very scarce even in the West at that period.

John F
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Re: Site/Foundation for music supressed by the Nazis

Post by John F » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:12 pm

I've still found no mention of an actual official ban of Mahler's music during the Soviet period, or of its having been declared "decadent," "formalist," and so on. Boris Schwarz's "Music and Musical Life in Soviet Russia 1917-1970" contains many page references to Mahler in its index, but none of these is at all out of the ordinary. You say "According to my information." Could you tell what the source of that information is?
John Francis

rogch
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Re: Site/Foundation for music supressed by the Nazis

Post by rogch » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:42 pm

A splendid web site paying tribute to many underrated composers! I agree with James Conlon who writes:
Many, who perished in concentration camps, and others, whose freedom and productivity were curtailed, were fated to be forgotten after the war.
Some of the composers listed are more known than others (Kurt Weill is on the list, while Schönberg, Webern and Berg are not). Still there are many interesting composers to discover or learn more about. I don't know how famous all of these composers were before the third reich. But many of them are not played too often today, and that raises the uncomfortable question if their reputation never recovered after the third reich surpressed their music.
Roger Christensen

"Mozart is the most inaccessible of the great masters"
Artur Schnabel

Modernistfan
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Re: Site/Foundation for music supressed by the Nazis

Post by Modernistfan » Mon Jan 09, 2012 1:09 pm

I cannot verify that there was, in fact, a formal ban on the playing or recording of Mahler from, say, 1948-1953 in the Soviet Union. The comments by such as Neeme Jarvi and others mentioned suggest that the music was indeed suppressed, but there may not have been any formal ban. If so, I stand corrected.

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