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The Politics of AppropriationGerman Romantic Music and the Ancient Greek Legacy$
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Jason Geary

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199736119

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199736119.001.0001

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The Growth of a Genre

The Growth of a Genre

(p.99) Chapter Four The Growth of a Genre
The Politics of Appropriation

Jason Geary

Oxford University Press

With a focus on Berlin, this chapter discusses new productions of Greek tragedy in the wake of Antigone, arguing that the music composed for such performances came to be seen as representing a new genre modeled on the example of Mendelssohn. Hoping to capitalize on a fresh wave of “Graecomania,” Friedrich Wilhelm IV ordered a court production of Euripides’ Medea (1843), for which the court composer Wilhelm Taubert provided the music. Taubert clearly used Mendelssohn’s Antigone as a model but generally adopted a more liberal approach to evoking elements of Greek tragedy. Taubert’s music is viewed here not only against the backdrop of a developing musico-dramatic genre and of the king’s own cultural and political aims, but also in light of a German fascination with the vengeful Medea and the murder of her children that raises questions of both social and gender norms.

Keywords:   Euripides, Medea, Wilhelm Taubert, Genre, Infanticide, Gender, Melodrama

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