At the same time, one might easily have accepted Solomon's findings without its modern interpretive consequences. The idea that Germany had a particular affinity for great music, and that this was under threat in the inter-war period, was not confined to the Nazi Party. This strategy is filled with perils.
There have been too few Jews in any single religious configuration to justify a parallel exercise. But that too is not adequate. In occupied cities and towns, local musicians were frequently forced to perform for Nazi audiences. The forms of Jewish self-definition and communal organization, as well as the patterns of integration and the disappearance of distinction, all shed light on cultural and political phenomena within the so-called historical center or mainstream. Given the chaotic and differentiated complexity of life and history—even twentieth-century history—this might well be seen as far less likely to be true. Jews, as a minority not only an elite often excluded if not persecuted by a non-Jewish majority, are held responsible for generating identifiable contributions to culture, more by their own behavior than through the reaction by the non-Jewish world. Many a Yiddish song betrays a transparent and commonplace hybrid character, an amalgamation of familiar secular operatic conventions, evocations of liturgy, and local non-Jewish folk music. The experience of immigration and the ways in which Jews came to be understood as a group in America as a religion rather than a dispersed nation itself seem to justify a claim of a common subject, even though anti-Semitism in America has its own distinct history. But apart from the routine and extreme confrontation with anti-Semitisms of varying degrees, with one's surroundings in non-Jewish worlds, and the formation of new cultural spaces shared with non-Jews to the dismay of some e. Bohlman's fine collection Jewish Musical Modernism, Old and New Chicago University Press, and Ruth HaCohen The Music Libel Against the Jews Yale University Press, , which reconfigures the evolution of anti-Semitism and distinct Jewish and Christian cultures in terms of sound and music, further attest to the intense engagement with understanding the intersection between Jews and musical life and culture in European history. Musical Quarterly, 77 3 , It was discovered upon his death that Schubert had been composing a nationalistic Symphony No. Herzl became a major Jewish political figure whose aesthetic perhaps including the political writings is indistinguishable from dynamic new local cultural traditions in Vienna albeit influenced from the s on by the presence of a substantial Jewish participation, demographically defined, in the creation and reception of that culture. That disturbing fact notwithstanding, the subject itself does not have as obvious a potential coherence or continuity as sexual behavior, and therefore lacks the seemingly obvious validity that bridges distinct historical epochs and regions. Jews in history seem to be defined retrospectively as those whom the Nuremberg laws would have defined as such. Consider circumcision, the Sabbath, dietary laws, and the like as sufficient shared basic characteristics. This strategy is filled with perils. Assimilation inadvertently becomes a polemical category of retrospective judgment, despite its use by actors in the past especially after the late eighteenth century , rather than a key to understanding history. Most German of the Arts: We might wince at Clara and Robert Schumann's anti-Semitic reactions to Eduard Marxsen, Brahms's teacher, and would readily judge them harshly if they were in the next room, but they are not. True to the mission of the journal, each does so in a manner directly pertinent to the history of music. Our capacity to distinguish E. Do we believe that a better grasp of them can play a role in explaining the seemingly inexplicable: Published by Oxford University Press. Commitment to Nazi ideology, however, tended to be weighed more heavily than musical talent, allowing loyal mediocrity to be rewarded over skill. Do we not also seek to illuminate something about social processes we call assimilation and acculturation and other generalized theses about connections and interactions between Christians and Jews, specifically between German Jewry and German culture?
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