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The Organ and its Music in German-Jewish Culture$
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Tina Fruhauf

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195337068

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195337068.001.0001

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The Aftermath of Emigration

The Aftermath of Emigration

(p.187) Chapter Five The Aftermath of Emigration
The Organ and its Music in German-Jewish Culture

Tina Frühauf

Oxford University Press

The mass emigration of German Jews during National Socialism in 1933 had a profound impact on the identities of Jewish musicians. Because of their need for social and professional integration, they needed to strike a balance between preserving an identity that had been shaped by the European musical tradition and adjusting to a new cultural situation. While the forced relocation and new living conditions affected the creative output of the émigré musicians, these also greatly influenced the musical life of their adopted countries. The US became a popular destination for German–Jewish artists, including musicians who found employment in synagogues to influence Jewish–American service with their organ playing and organ building. Unfortunately, the next generations of synagogue musicians apparently had no interest in further developing the organ in Jewish worship, as the German–Jewish culture seemed to have dissolved into American culture. The British Mandate of Palestine was a popular destination for Zionists from Russia and eastern European countries. Inspired by the new and different environment, German–Jewish musicians took interest in the music of Eastern Jewry and the Arabs. Many composers in the new Israel sought a musical synthesis of East and West either by combining the harmonic and compositional techniques of Western music with the rhythms, melodies, and instruments of Eastern music or by applying Eastern aesthetics without using the actual musical elements associated with Eastern music. Although organ music had not been a central part of the musical life of Palestine, many émigré musicians who were familiar with the organ from their youth in Europe revived their interest in the instrument, giving rise to an organ tradition. Unlike in the US, where organ music has almost disappeared, in Israel the music is still in a unique phase of development.

Keywords:   organ music, German–Jewish immigrants, National Socialism, Jewish identity, Jewish tradition, US, Palestine, organ culture

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