Music, theatre and politics have maintained a long-standing, if varying and problematic, relationship. In the Ancient World, the relationship used to be a harmonious one, scholars have us believe, glorifying the moment at the beginning of Western history when a political community, or polis, affirmed itself in a practice that purportedly achieved the perfect integration of music and theatre. To revive this original harmony was, of course, one of the main impulses that engendered the genre of opera. However, while it is widely recognized that the political represented a prius in the Ancient triangle of music, theatre and politics, there has been little attention to the status of the political in the triangle's modern variety. Nonetheless, the relationship between the three continues to be strong. In many contexts, the political still takes priority, encouraging or curbing artistic creativity. The contributions in this volume bridge the conventional chronological division between 'late Romantic' and 'modern' music to thematize a wide array of issues in the context of Germany. The contributors focus on a national tradition and period in which the friction between music, theatre and politics grew particularly intense. Major themes include: reception history; the entwining of aesthetic and political intentions on the part of composers, critics and historians; and the construction and/or critique of collective political identities in and through music theatre.
'…excellent essays on German and Austrian opera….highly entertaining and offers much of value….Highly recommended.' Choice 2007 ’… this collection offers much more than its title or introduction would imply, making it all the more crucial to reveal to potential readers the treasures that lie within. Almost without exception, the contributions are rich in scholarly insight, original, and easily accessible to readers in any discipline.’ Monatshefte
Contents: Introduction. Part 1 The New German School: Weber's ghost: Euryanthe, Genoveva, Lohengrin, Laura Tunbridge; Wagner amongst the Hegelians, Nicholas Walker. Part 2 Wagnerian Politics: Magnificent obsession: Tristan und Isolde as the object of musical analysis, Thomas Grey; From critical tool to political metaphor: thoughts on the writings of Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Roger Allen; A question of identity: Die Meistersinger von NÃ¼rnberg in Weimar Germany, Ãine Sheil. Part 3 The Politics of Reception: SchÃ¼tz's Dafne and the German operatic imagination, Bettina Varwig; Deception on stage: Don Carlos di Vargas and Franz Werfel's politics of operatic translation, Gundula Kreuzer; Bruckner in the theatre: on the politics of 'absolute' music in performance, Nicholas Attfield. Part 4 An Excursus on Vienna: 'Wer weiss, Vater, ob das nicht Engel sind?' Reflections on the pre-Fascist discourse of degeneracy in Schreker's Die Gezeichneten, Peter Franklin; 'The republic of the mind': politics, the arts and ideas in Schoenberg's post-war projects, Jennifer Shaw; Berg's operas and the politics of subjectivity, Julian Johnson. Part 5 Interwar Germany: 'Stadtluft macht frei': urban consciousness in Weimar opera, Peter Tregear; Magic boxes and VolksempfÃ¤nger: music on the radio in Weimar Germany, Alexander Rehding; Socialism and the 'free development of art': Karl Amadeus Hartmann's Opera Simplicius Simplicissimus, Egon Voss. Bibliography; index.