Composers of the Nazi Era

Composers of the Nazi Era : Eight Portraits

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How does creativity thrive in the face of fascism? How can a highly artistic individual function professionally in so threatening a climate? The final book in a critically acclaimed trilogy that includes Different Drummers (OUP 1992) and The Twisted Muse (OUP 1997), this is a detailed study of the often interrelated careers of eight outstanding German composers who lived and worked amid the dictatorship of the Third Reich: Werner Egk, Paul Hindemith, Kurt Weill, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Carl Orff, Hans Pfitzner, Arnold Schoenberg, and Richard Strauss. Noted historian Michael H. Kater weighs issues of accommodation and resistance to ask whether these artists corrupted themselves in the service of a criminal regime-and if so, whether this is evident in their music. He also considers the degrees to which the Nazis politically, socially, economically, and aesthetically succeeded in their treatment of these individuals, whose lives and compositions represent diverse responses to more

Product details

  • Hardback | 414 pages
  • 156 x 230 x 34mm | 779.99g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0195099249
  • 9780195099249

Review quote

Kater's background knowledge is impressive, and he refuses to oversimplify of to make facile judgements ... well worth reading. * David Matthews, Times Literary Supplement. * A very impressive achievement - for two reasons above all. First, the range of Kater's research and documentation is awe-inspiring. Second, Kater sets out neither to canonise or to demonise ... Ultimately, this is a book which provokes thoughts rather than spelling them out ... Kater doesn't offer answers, but after reading his book, we can at least see the questions more clearly. * Stephen Johnson, BBC Music Magazine * One of the merits of this book is the way in which it brings to light the fine differences in the attitudes of these composers towards the Third Reich and how they and their music were regarded by the Nazi ruling class, whilst refraining from black-and-white depictions and generalizations. * Bulletin of the German Historical Institute * With the accuracy of a detective, Kater goes in search of the slightest clues that could throw light on each artist's degree of involvement with the Third Reich. At the same time he lets the reader participate in this search for evidence and in the difficult and often ambivalent assessment of each individual when it comes to guilt or responsibility in dealings with the regime. * Bulletin of the German Historical Institute * This psychologically sensitive and fascinating study of the lives of eight selected composers must be acclaimed as a significant contribution to our understanding of the history of the Third Reich ... recommended reading. * Bulletin of the German Historical Institute *show more

About Michael H. Kater

Michael H. Kater is Distinguished Research Professor of History at the Centre for German and European Studies, York University, Toronto. He has published widely on several historical subjects, and is a Guggenheim Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Society of more

Table of contents

Preface ; Werner Egk: The Enigmatic Optimist ; Paul Hindemith: The Reluctant Emigre ; Kurt Weill: A Survivor on Two Continents ; Karl Amadeus Hartmann: The Composer as Dissident ; Carl Orff: Man of Legend ; Hans Pfitzner: Magister Teutonicus Miser ; Arnold Schoenberg: Musician of Contrasts ; Richard Strauss: Jupiter Compromised ; Conclusion ; Notes ; Indexshow more

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8 ratings
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