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Jewish Music and Modernity$
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Philip Bohlman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195178326

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178326.001.0001

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JEWISHNESS IN MUSIC: MIRRORS OF SELFNESS IN JEWISH MUSIC

JEWISHNESS IN MUSIC: MIRRORS OF SELFNESS IN JEWISH MUSIC

Chapter:
(p.181) CHAPTER EIGHT JEWISHNESS IN MUSIC: MIRRORS OF SELFNESS IN JEWISH MUSIC
Source:
Jewish Music and Modernity
Author(s):

Philip V. Bohlman (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178326.003.0009

Identifying certain forms of music as Jewish and establishing the criteria for how Jewishness in music would be recognized preoccupied ideological and aesthetic concerns of many Jews entering modernity by the end of the nineteenth century. This chapter concerns itself primarily with the ways in which Jewishness would counterbalance the nineteenth-century notion of absolute music, in which textual meaning negated contextual functions. Richard Wagner’s invective 1850 essay on “Jewishness in Music” unleashed responses until the Holocaust, and the chapter summarizes many of these, especially by leading Jewish music critics. Examples are drawn from Mahler, Jewish social organizations, and political musical traditions of Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler, Kurt Tucholsky, and others from the Weimar period separating the world wars.

Keywords:   absolute music, Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler, Holocaust, ideology, Jewishness, Gustav Mahler, Kurt Tucholsky, Richard Wagner

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