Synopses & Reviews
Is music removed from politics? To what ends, beneficent or malevolent, can music and musicians be put? In short, when human rights are grossly abused and politics turned to fascist demagoguery, can art and artists be innocent?
These questions and their implications are explored in Michael Kater's broad survey of musicians and the music they composed and performed during the Third Reich. Great and small--from Valentin Grimm, a struggling clarinetist, to Richard Strauss, renowned composer--are examined by Kater, sometimes in intimate detail, and the lives and decisions of Nazi Germany's professional musicians are laid out before the reader.
Kater tackles the issue of whether the Nazi regime, because it held music in crassly utilitarian regard, acted on musicians in such a way as to consolidate or atomize the profession. Kater's examination of the value of music for the regime and the degree to which the regime attained a positive propaganda and palliative effect through the manner in which it manipulated its musicians, and by extension, German music, is of importance for understanding culture in totalitarian systems.
This work, with its emphasis on the social and political nature of music and the political attitude of musicians during the Nazi regime, will be the first of its kind. It will be of interest to scholars and general readers eager to understand Nazi Germany, to music lovers, and to anyone interested in the interchange of music and politics, culture and ideology.
"Mr. Kater...has extracted masses of information from far-flung sources, including public and private archives in Germany and elsewhere, and has drawn level-headed, intelligent conclusions from his research.[T]he broadest and clearest study of classical music in Hitler's Germnay that has appeared to date.....Mr. Kater's treatment of the complicated-and hotly debated-case of the conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler is thorough and convincing....A great deal more is packed into "The Twisted Muse," including fresh looks at the Wagner family's complicity with the Nazis and the cases of Paul Hindemith,....and Herbert von Karajan....Anyone interested in the depressing but fascinating subject of art and politics will find this book exceptionally worthwhile."--Wall Street Journal
"Kater...has done prodigious primary research, much of it in hitherto unexamined files, to emerge with a mountain of fresh material....Anyone seriously interested in the interface of art and a peculiarly threatening political culture will find [this book] endlessly fascinating."--Publishers Weekly
"[Gives] more analytical attention to the entire [Nazi] era's secrets. Kater...has combed newspaper archives, studied economic statistics, interviewed surviving composers and meticulously correlated information from denazification proceedings. His account...is the most throrough and nuanced now available of Nazi musical alliances, allegiances and ambiguities....[B]rings us to a more complicated understanding without tolerating latent defenses of old friends or 'Vissi d'Arte' alibis." --New York Times Book Review
"Fills a conspicuous lacuna in 20th-century musicology. Kater...presents a detailed, disturbing, but always compelling account....There is a great deal here to engage scholars and professional musicians as well as general readers interested in the study of music and ideology. Highly recommended for all libraries."--Library Journal
"The best source of information about conductors and other musicians in the Third Reich is now Mr. Kater's book, dense with facts, many of them newly unearthed."--New York Times
About the Author
Michael H. Kater
is Distinguished Research Professor of History at the Canadian Centre for German and European Studies at York University, Toronto, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is also the author of Different Drummers: Jazz in the Culture of Nazi Germany
Table of Contents
1. National Socialism, The Third Reich, and the Music Scene
2. Musical Professionalism and Political Compromise
3. Persecuted and Exiled Jewish and Anti-Nazi Musicians
4. Music in the Institutions
5. Dissonance and Deviance