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Jewish Contiguities and the Soundtrack of Israeli
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Assaf Shelleg

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199354948

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199354948.001.0001

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Hava Nagila? Decentering the Eastern European Soundscape

Hava Nagila? Decentering the Eastern European Soundscape

Chapter:
(p.15) 1 Hava Nagila? Decentering the Eastern European Soundscape
Source:
Jewish Contiguities and the Soundtrack of Israeli History
Author(s):

Assaf Shelleg

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199354948.003.0002

Chapter 1 discusses music by and about Jews in early twentieth-century Europe, and the ways that Jews have grappled with the musical stereotypes that spelled their “otherness.” While persistently engaged with a foreign view of Jewish culture, assimilated and estranged Jewish composers became more familiar with the exoticism attributed to Jews in Western art music than with the actual sounds coming from Jewish vernacular traditions or from the synagogue. Unfolding the continuum of Jewish composers haunted by the Wagnerian regime of representation and the noisy tropes associated with musical Judaism, the chapter includes a discussion on Ernest Bloch, Arnold Schoenberg, Erich W. Sternberg, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and their perceptions of the “Jewish East” (either Eastern Europe and/or Palestine). As most Jewish and non-Jewish composers gravitated to the Eastern European soundscape, musicological historiography followed suit and focused mainly on composers who drew on this inventory. Decentering of the Eastern European soundscape through the above-mentioned case studies serves the double function of underscoring the various importations of Jewish musics silenced by musicological historiographies and the mapping of the emerging habitat in Palestine and later Israel.

Keywords:   A. Z. Idelsohn, Arnold Schoenberg, auto-exoticism, Erich W. Sternberg, Ernest Bloch, Israeli art music, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, twentieth-century music, modern Jewish art music, Martin Buber

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