Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits

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Oxford University Press, Dec 23, 1999 - Music - 416 pages
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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? Composers of the Nazi Era is the final book in a critically acclaimed trilogy that includes Different Drummers (OUP 1992) and The Twisted Muse (OUP 1997), which won the Wallace K. Ferguson Prize of the Canadian Historical Association. Here, historian Michael H. Kater provides a detailed study of the often interrelated careers of eight prominent German composers who lived and worked amid the dictatorship of the Third Reich, or were driven into exile by it: Werner Egk, Paul Hindemith, Kurt Weill, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Carl Orff, Hans Pfitzner, Arnold Schoenberg, and Richard Strauss. 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 may be discerned from their music. After chapters discussing the circumstances of each composer individually, Kater concludes with an analysis of the composers' different responses to the Nazi regime and an overview of the sociopolitical background against which they functioned. The final chapter also extends the discussion beyond the end of World War II to examine how the composers reacted to the new and fragile democracy in Germany.
 

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Composers of the Nazi era: eight portraits

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With this volume, Kater has completed a remarkable trilogy of books about music during the Nazi era. This final book, the logical successor to The Twisted Muse (LJ 1/97), focuses on the works and ... Read full review

Contents

The Enigmatic Opportunist
3
The Reluctant Emigré
31
A Survivor on Two Continents
57
The Composer as Dissident
86
Man of Legend
111
Magister Teutonicus Miser
144
Musician of Contrasts
183
Jupiter Compromised
211
Composers in the Postwar Era Until the 1960s
264
Notes
285
Index
379
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About the author (1999)

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 modern Germany and is a Guggenheim Fellow as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

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