Articulating Jewishness in Israeli Art Music
After the linear properties of non-Western Jewish musical traditions had destabilized Zionist Eurocentric formulations, the theological undercurrents nationalized by the Hebrewist discourse grew more visible. Art music of the 1960s and ’70s saw a dialectical return to the Jewish worlds from which Hebrew culture sought to be “healed.” Hasidic stories enacted in modernist musical syntaxes now avoided both the otherness embedded in post-romantic and auto-exoticist constructions in the spirit of the Yishuv while the properties of both the Eastern European soundscape and non-Western Jewish oral musical traditions gave birth to new modes of cultural memory. Paradoxically, the aftermath of the 1967 War accelerated the dialectical return to Jewish culture outside of the land, underscoring the subterranean presence of linguistic and theological strata that manifested themselves both culturally and politically. The collapse of national rhetoric that formerly distinguished between diasporic and Hebrewist cultures now enabled the reemergence of repressed exilic pasts that defined Jewishness through its symbiotic qualities, rather than the translation of theology into politics that gave rise to territorial maximalism in the 1970s.
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