Seeing Mahler: Music and the Language of Antisemitism in Fin-de-Siecle Vienna

Seeing Mahler: Music and the Language of Antisemitism in Fin-de-Siecle Vienna

K. M. Knittel


nobody, after all, doubts that Gustav Mahler's tenure on the Vienna court docket Opera from 1897-1907 was once made tremendous disagreeable by means of the anti-semitic press. the good biographer, Henry-Louis de l. a. Grange, recognizes that 'it has to be acknowledged that anti-Semitism used to be an everlasting characteristic of Viennese life'. regrettably, the focal point on blatant references to Jewishness has obscured the level to which 'ordinary' attitudes approximately Jewish distinction have been everyday and pervasive, but sophisticated and covert. The context has been misplaced in which such coded references to Jewishness could were instantly well-known and understood. by means of painstakingly reconstructing 'the language of anti-semitism', Knittel recreates what Mahler's audiences anticipated, observed, and heard, given the biases and ideology of turn-of-the-century Vienna. utilizing newspaper reports, cartoons and memoirs, Knittel eschews focussing on adverse discussions and overt assaults in themselves, quite revealing how and to what volume authors name realization to Mahler's Jewishness with extra refined language. She particularly examines the studies of Mahler's Viennese symphonic premieres for his or her resonance with that language as codified by means of Richard Wagner, although now not invented via him. a whole bankruptcy can be dedicated to the Viennese premieres of Richard Strauss' "Tone Poems", as an explanation textual content opposed to which the experiences of Mahler is additionally learn and understood. Accepting how deeply embedded this fashion of pondering used to be, not only for critics yet for the final inhabitants, definitely doesn't mean that you can find anti-semitism lower than each stone. What Knittel indicates, finally, is that a lot of early feedback was once unease instead of 'objective' reactions to Mahler's track - a brand new viewpoint that enables for a re-examination of what makes his tune specific, thought-provoking and important.

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