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Bach Books

The St. Matthew Passion: Its Production and Performance
by ____

Book

The St. Matthew Passion: Its Production and Performance

 
 
     
 

Interesting SMP book

Chris Kern wrote (July 28, 2006):
I got a book from OSU's music library called something like The St. Matthew Passion: Its Production and Performance. It was a book from the 1950's about how to perform BWV 244 -- the emphasis basically seemed to be convincing amateur choirs that they could perform the work in part or in whole.

It's an interesting mix of HiP and M-B style. At times it scoffs at unhistorical things like 400-member choirs or doubling the cantus firmus with a trumpet, but then it also recommends using a piano for continuo, and having the arias sung by the choir. It instructs that the Evangelist and Jesus must not sing any other parts. It takes the performance of the work in English as a given, not even discussing the possibility that a group might want to perform it in German. It's also interesting that they had to write a whole chapter in defense of realizing the continuo part on a keyboard instrument rather than omitting it completely or rewriting it for orchestra(!). All in all it presents an interesting picture of the contemporary attitude towards the work and the way it was performed.

It also gives approximate timings for each movement -- the opening chorus is listed as "6 minutes to 9 and a half". Six minutes is extraordinarily fast even for HiP; the only recording I have faster than that is McCreesh.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 28, 2006):
Chris Kern wrote:
< It's an interesting mix of HiP and M-B style. >
I did the right thing and searched BCW for M-B style, but came up empty. What does this mean, how derived? Is it a useful acronym for non-HIP?

BTW, why the lower case i for informed, the most important word in HIP?
Well, maybe the P. hOW about hIP?

Raymond Joly wrote (July 28, 2006):
Ed Myskovski wrote:
< I did the right thing and searched BCW for M-B style, but came up empty. What does this mean, how derived? Is it a useful acronym for non-HIP?
BTW, why the lower case i for informed, the most important word in HIP?
Well, maybe the P. hOW about hIP? >

Thanks, Mr. Myskovski!
Sometimes, I feel the Cantatas list is in the process of looking like the "Personal" section in the classified ads: "BWYF wants to meet ML 30-40 UEDM". I never dare respond, for fear I might end up dating a moose.
Life is short, but typing three words is not that long either.

Julian Mincham wrote (July 28, 2006):
Chris Kern wrote:
< but then it also recommends using a piano for continuo, and having the arias sung by the choir. >
The former view was very much the norm in the first 2/3rds of the last century partly because some very prestigious musicians loathed the sound of the harpsichord. Thomas Beecham described it in a BBC interview as sounding like "two skeletons copulating on a tin roof". Vaughn Williams, took a similar view also in an extant interview and used the piano in his 1950s recording of SMP.

The idea of having the choir sing some of the arias goes back at least to Schweitzer (possibly further? I don't know). But on several occasions he recommends this; a notable example being the great trio, penultimate movement in BWV 38 (due to come up for discussion in a couple of months tim). Whether this view was because of the lack of good singers able to sing these parts (doubful) or allied to the C19th traditions of increasing forces and making everything bigger or louder, I don't know.

On another point I fully support Neil Mason's earlier posting about the use of authentic instruments. When performed by amatuers and school children, it is but a pipe dream. I remember arranging some movements of the Art of Fugue for a secondary school band some years ago (after some initial tentativeness they loved playing them) . Not an "authentic" instrument in sight. But either they have the opportunity to experience the music through their own peformances-----or they don't.

Regarding amateur choirs I recall reading as a student the view (may have been Tovey--I can't remember--perhaps someone knows the reference)that you could always get an amateur choir to learn Bach choruses from memory because of the logic and melodic nature of his lines---but you had little hope of achieving this with Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. (It wasn't a value judgement but a comment on the different natures of these composers' contrapuntal writing).

Chris Kern wrote (July 28, 2006):
[To Ed Myskowski] M-B was supposed to stand for Mendelssohn-Bartholdy; I've seen that term used but I guess the abbreviation is not standard. Also I'm not sure why I lower-cased the "i" in "HIP"...

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 28, 2006):
[To Chris Kern] No real problem with HiP, I think we all know what you mean, and have accepted the convenience of this particular acronym, however reluctantly. In any event, it (HIP) is included in the BCW list of musical abbreviations. I was just curious.

We really could use a standard term to distinguish other performances from HIP. I have been using <traditional> until something better comes along. I don't think M-B will do it. Any other suggestions?

Bradley Lehman wrote (July 28, 2006):
[To Ed Myskowski] It's all a long continuum anyway, and "HIP" is not some monolithic structure wherein all performances loosely lumped into that category sound the same as one another.

For example, Ludwig Guttler's set of Brandenburgs uses modern instruments but lots of elements from recent research into style. Is "HIP" a primarily hardware distinction or a musical approach? If hardware, where does a cappella music get judged "HIP" or not?

And really, why must we care what made-up category anything falls into? A performance either sounds musically satisfying enough to serve various manners of listeners, or there are disagreements about tastes/preferences; and antiquarian-ness is also always a matter of degree. As Peter Kivy, John Butt, Richard Taruskin, Laurence Dreyfus, and other scholars remind us in their books: authenticity has so many different and valid faces to it, aesthetic questions are not simple.

John Pike wrote (July 28, 2006):
[To Bradley Lehman] Hello again. I have rejoined this and the Bach recordings list. I won't be as active as in the past, due to pressures of work, but I really did miss some aspects of the group, such as the thoughtful posting from Brad below, and generally trying to keep up to date. I look forward to reading your postings again. Best wishes to all.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 28, 2006):
Brad Lehman wrote:
<< M-B was supposed to stand for Mendelssohn-Bartholdy;
We really could use a standard term to distinguish other performances from HIP. I have been using <traditional> until something better comes along. I don't think M-B will do it. Any other suggestions? >>
< It's all a long continuum anyway, and "HIP" is not some monolithic structure wherein all performances loosely lumped into that category sound the same as one another. >

Personally, I could not agree more about the continuum. But it is human nature to categorize, and we are stuck not only with the category, but also with the not so hip acronym, HIP. The BCW archives are full of it, and I expect future posts will continue to use it extensively. I continue to feel that a distinguishing word (or phrase and associated acronym), such as traditional, is also useful, even if only for BCW discussions.

I don't think anyone, certainly not me, has suggested that all performances categorized as HIP sound the same, or that HIP is a monolithic structure. In fact, I have argued at every opportunity, that performances, whatever the category, should be heard and evaluated individually.

I wrote a few weeks ago (BWV 93):
I find that the modest sized choirs (adult male and female) and orchestras (modern instruments), along with thoughtful tempos, employed by Emmanuel Music and Cantata Singers in Boston, and I expect by many other groups, are <historically informed>, indeed.

So you will get nothing but support from me on that point! In fact I went out of my way to emphasize the importance of I in HIP, part of my motivation to write yesterday. Although I enjoy gently poking fun at acronyms, there was a somewhat serious underlying message: if something must be lower case, hIP is preferable to HiP!

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 28, 2006):
[To Julian Mincham] The Trio in the Magnificat is almost universally treated as a choral movement in most modern performances. "Wir eilen" from Cantata BWV 78 receives innumerable performances every year by children's choirs.

Chris Kern wrote (July 29, 2006):
The intent in using "M-B" was not to be the opposite of HIP, but to describe a specific type of non-HIP performance; one characterized by massive choirs, cuts, rescorings, and the like. Something like Rilling's cantatas are not HIP, but they generally attempt to stick close to the score while playing with modern instruments. You don't see Rilling using a piano, a 500 member choir, multi-voice arias, etc.

(I'm not necessarily saying there's anything wrong with non-HIP...)

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 29, 2006):
[To Chris Kern] Thanks for the clarification. I'm glad I asked. I thought the discussion was productive, as well. But I'm so laid back, I think all discussion is productive. Especially if the alternative is violence.

Tom Hens wrote (July 29, 2006):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< The former view was very much the norm in the first 2/3rds of the last century partly because some very prestigious musicians loathed the sound of the harpsichord. Thomas Beecham described it in a BBC interview as sounding like "two skeletons copulating on a tin roof". Vaughn Williams, took a similar view also in an extant interview and used the piano in his 1950s recording of SMP. >
When did narrow-minded English dinosaurs like Beecham or Vaughn Williams become "the norm" for Bach performance during the first two thirds of the twentieth century? For god's sake, by the end of the timeframe you name Harnoncourt and Leonhardt hadn't just been performing but producing recordings for well over a decade. And they weren't pioneers in a previously-unexplored field. Going back a bit further, why would, say, Beecham's silly opinion about harpsichords have been "the norm" c. 1930, not Wanda Landowska's, for instance? Who established this "norm"?

< The idea of having the choir sing some of the arias goes back at least to Schweitzer (possibly further? I don't know). But on several occasions he recommends this; a notable example being the great trio, penultimate movement in BWV 38 (due to come up for discussion in a couple of months tim). Whether this view was because of the lack of good singers able to sing these parts (doubful) or allied to the C19th traditions of increasing forces and making everything bigger or louder, I don't know. >
Barring someone coming up with a better explanation, I'd bet it was because Schweitzer simply didn't give a second thought to historically accurate performance practice, and went on what he thought sounded "good", i.e. big, lush, Victorian, and like it could have been written by Brahms rather than Bach. How did Schweitzer become any kind of "authority" in the first place? His name is still mentioned quite often in discussions about Bach. Why? He was an amateur musician who wrote a popularising book about Bach, and he played the organ. So?

(Sorry, I realise my two messages today sound a bit angry, and I apologise for any offense. Blame the heatwave for the way I've worded them, which is making me cranky. But after rereading, I stand by the content.)

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 29, 2006):
Tom Hens wrote:
< When did narrow-minded English dinosaurs like Beecham or Vaughn Williams become "the norm" for Bach performance during the first two thirds of the twentieth century? >
Keep a few good thoughts for Beecham and V-W. They were important popularizers of Bach among English audiences who much prefered Handel.

Ed Myskowski wrote (July 29, 2006):
Tom Hens wrote:
< How did Schweitzer become any kind of "authority" in the first place? His name is still mentioned quite often in discussions about Bach. Why? >
Hey, it's hot on my block, too. Chill out. A couple possible reasons:
(1) His texts were pioneering in scope, no matter how much subsequent research has improved on his conclusions.
(2) He originated (or promoted?) the idea that the cantata and chorale texts were essential to understanding the music.

Tom Hens wrote (July 29, 2006):
Ed Myskowski wrote, about Albert Schweitzer:
< (1) His texts were pioneering in scope, no matter how much subsequent research has improved on his conclusions. >
Could you list some of his pioneering concepts? I find it hard, on principle, to conceive of anything 'pioneering' about comments, however original, on someone else's music.

< (2) He originated (or promoted?) the idea that the cantata and chorale texts were essential to understanding the music. >
I've never really thought about it that way, but yes, that might be an excellent explanation for his enduring popularity. He could well be one of the central figures in the takeover of Bach scholarship in the early decades of the 20th century by theologians who think of Bach as a Christian preacher, not as a musician.

Tom Hens wrote (July 29, 2006):
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< Keep a few good thoughts for Beecham and V-W. They were important popularizers of Bach among English audiences who much prefered Handel. >
To be honest, I'm not too sure their idea of what Bach was supposed to be about was all that much better than the English audiences' idea of what Handel was supposed to be about. And I tend to agree with Philippe Herreweghe (hey, he's my countryman, I have to agree with him just out of pattriotism) that Handel's music stands up a lot better to ridiculously outsized, 'romantic' performances than Bach's does.

Julian Mincham wrote (July 29, 2006):
Tom Hens wrote:
< When did narrow-minded English dinosaurs like Beecham or Vaughn Williams become "the norm" for Bach performance during the first two thirds of the twentieth century? For god's sake, by the end of the timeframe you name Harnoncourt and Leonhardt hadn't just been performing but producing recordings for well over a decade. And they weren't pioneers in a previously-unexplored field. Going back a bit further, why would, say, Beecham's silly opinion about harpsichords have been "the norm" c. 1930, not Wanda Landowska's, for instance? Who established this "norm"? >
OK the phrase 'the norm' was somewhat loosely used and is open to balanced and sensible argument. I look forward to receiving some! The point is that, particularly in the first years of the century most people would have heard Bach only through concerts (the minority) or through 78 records. Who made the records? conductors and musicians---who by their very position were influential in their views and performance practices. As a boy interested in all this,musical names (and recordings) like Henry Wood, V Williams and Beecham came up a lot more than Landowska's. And as a matter of fact Williams and Beecham died in the late 1950s--just how much had Harnoncourt and Leonhardt influenced the general public at that stage? The ealiest records I have of Harnoncourt and Leonhart were about five years earlier and had not really impinged much upon the general public. The point that I stand by is that a number of these great pertformers (working at that time and within the limits of contemporary Bach scholarship of which we have the advantage today) did greatly influence taste and performance practice.Even before the C20 we had people like Arthur Sullivan hawking the B minor mass (a work he conducted on several occasions) around the country with huge forces and double bass sections wearingly doubling an octave below in all movements--a point that Wood himself commented upon.

And to call great musical figures such as Beeching and V Williams 'narrow minded dinasours' appears to indicate a lack of knowledge of their achievments and consequent influence.They were, as most people become in retrospect, people of their time.

Tom Hens also wrote
< How did Schweitzer become any kind of "authority" in the first place? His name is stmentioned quite often in discussions about Bach. Why? He was an amateur musician who wrote a popularising book about Bach, and he played the organ. So? >
Again a dismissive and somewhat offensively stated view that appears to indicate a lack of background. Schweitzer was an organist who gave concerts and made recordings. He decided not to follow music as a professional when, at the age of 30 he discovered the plight of many living without medical aid in Africa. He spent several years training to be a doctor and devoted himself to their needs. His versatility should not diminish his achievements--although in some countries this often is the case, sadly.

His two volume work was published in French in 1905, German in 1908 and English in 1911 with a large number of re-issues. He was quite wrong on several accounts--how could he not be with the state of Bach scholarship very much in its infancy at that time?. But he was the first to draw attention to a number of important points, not least of which was Bach's word and picture painting at a time when some were still viewing him as the great 'purist' composer. His achievement was monumental when one considers the difficulties of hearing performances, getting scores and discussing the works with performing Bach players at that time.My own view is that the dismissive way in which Schweitzer has been described is not acceptable in the face of the facts.

Also I never claimed he was always 'right' or even an authority on performance pracrtce--I suggested that he was influencial--a point I stand by.

Finally, when perfectly acceptable and stimulating differences of view exist, could I make a plea for civilised and measured responses on list. I don't see that warm weather excuses rudeness or the denigration of major figures of the past. To misquote the American president, if you can't stand the heat, stay off list.

Douglas Cowling wrote (July 29, 2006):
Tom Hens wrote:
< He could well be one of the central figures in the takeover of Bach scholarship in the early decades of the 20th century by theologians who think of Bach as a Christian preacher, not as a musician. >
I've also wondered if the playing of Bach's organ works was also construed as an act of resistance to the Nazis who took control of the Evangelical churches in the late 30's.

Tom Hens wrote (August 1, 2006):

Tom Hens wrote:
<< He could well be one of the central figures in the takeover of Bach scholarship in the early decades of the 20th century by theologians who think of Bach as a Christian preacher, not as a musician. >>
Douglas Cowling wrote:
< I've also wondered if the playing of Bach's organ works was also construed as an act of resistance to the Nazis who took control of the Evangelical churches in the late 30's >
That seems extremely doubtful to me. The Nazis loved Great German Artists of the past, as long as they ware racially pure Aryans of course, and Bach amply qualified. I can't imagine anyone ever construing playing Bach's organ works, or any other music by him, as some kind of anti-Nazi statement.

That "the Nazis" took control of "the Evangelical churches" also seems a bit of a retelling of history to me, meant to put the conduct of the church authorities in a friendlier light. The vast majority of Nazis were always members of either the Evangelical (or Lutheran, as most non-Germans would say) or the Catholic church, and the vast majority of people within those church hierarchies never lifted a finger to stop the Nazi takeover of society as a whole. It's not like they were opposing groups within society. Unlike, say, people in leadership roles in the Social Democratic party who were sent to concentration camps, most German bishops, lutheran and catholic, happily survived the Nazi years secure in their positions.

Handel, on the other hand, was something of a problem. He was more than German and Aryan enough, and his use of English librettos could be fixed by using translations, which was the norm anyway. But those oratorios based on Old Testament texts with Jewish characters were a problem. This led to at least one singularly ridiculous musical event during the German occupation of the Netherlands, when Handel's Judas Maccabeus was performed with a Dutch text, transformed from a story about a Jewish war hero from the Old Testament into one about the hero of the Dutch war of independence, William of Orange, who was born in Germany and therefore Aryan and Germanic enough to pass the requirement of the German censors. (Through a stroke of luck, "Judas Maccabeus" in English and "Willem van Oranje" in Dutch scan exactly the same.)

Douglas Cowling wrote (August 1, 2006):
Tom Hens wrote:
< That "the Nazis" took control of "the Evangelical churches" also seems a bit of a retelling of history to me, meant to put the conduct of the church authorities in a friendlier light. The vast majority of Nazis were always members of either the Evangelical (or Lutheran, as most non-Germans would say) or the Catholic church, and the vast majority of people within those church hierarchies never lifted a finger to stop the Nazi takeover of society as a whole. >
Perhaps I wasn't speciific enough.

I was referring to the establishment of the Reich Church which was intended to subsume all of the Protestant churches into the Nazi cult. Every time I drive a VW or take a Bayer Aspirin, I am reminded of the moral failure of nearly every profession and organization in Germany to resist.

And of my own country's shameful past:

"None is too many"
- Frederick C, Blair, head of Canadian Immigation, 1930's & '40s.

Eric Bergerud wrote (August 3, 2006):
Tom Hens wrote:
< That "the Nazis" took control of "the Evangelical churches" also seems a bit of a retelling of history to me, meant to put the conduct of the church authorities in a friendlier light. The vast majority of Nazis were always members of either the Evangelical (or Lutheran, as most non-Germans would say) or the Catholic church, and the vast majority of people within those church hierarchies never lifted a finger to stop the Nazi takeover of society as a whole. It's not like they were opposing groups within society. Unlike, say, people in leadership roles in the Social Democratic party who were sent to concentration camps, most German bishops, lutheran and catholic, happily survived the Nazi years secure in their positions. >
Christianity and the 3rd Reich again? This is really a subject I think well left alone because one is going to get very deep into some of the most complex historical questions of the century very quickly. And, like anything to do with Hitler nuance and even narrative are rapid casualties. Let's put it this way, if one wishes to understand this era, you have to go well beyond Wikipedia. I know many fine people who dedicated their lives to issues revolving around European fascism and the 3rd Reich and can guarantee there is no consensus among serious historians and much pure rubbish coming from people that should be doing something else.

Prior to WWI I think it safe to say that German Protestantism had strong echoes to it's American counterpart. This was the era of the Social Gospel, the general debunking of Biblical literalism and open skepticism on the part of the elites. In the cities at least, the empty pews were already beginning to appear. Unlike America, however, the German states had a role in the support of churches of various denominations. The shock of defeat in 1918 corresponding to the rise of militantly anti-clerical Bolshevism (and theoretically anti-clerical German socialism) changed the situation drastically. As the great German historian Ernst Nolte pointed out, Hitler was unthinkable without Bolshevism. And, as luck would have it, the most obvious threat to German society during the 20's were the Communists - militantly anti-clerical and in this era still including many Jews (atheists to a man like Trotsky). The political groups most closely associated with Weimar included western style liberals and socialists, neither group jamming the pews after 1918. When the economy began to slip and then collapse around 1930 the political perfect storm arrivand in slipped the Nazis.

The Nazi leadership was anti-clerical at the top almost to a man. Hitler had contempt for any faith that believed in turning the other cheek or promising that the meek shall inherit the earth not to mention it's connections with Judiasm. Hitler, Himmler, and later Bormann, considered the eventual destruction of Christianity as requisite for the creation of an enduring 3d Reich but realized implementation of any move against the churches had to come after victory in war. Goering and Goebbels were more cynical and looked for ways to broaden the Nazi coalition - I doubt either of them had a serious thought about religion during their life. There were, however, a horde of "petit bourgeoises" that made up the back-bone of Hitler's post-Depression support and many of them were church goers.

With lightning speed after being appointed Chancellor Hitler moved to solidify Nazi power, greatly aided by the "enabling acts" passed in the wake of the Reichstag fire. The German term "Gleichschaultung" has no real equivalent in English: call it "bringing things together." This was a diabolically clever and successful attempt to bring every important political/social institution into the Nazi fold or neutralize it if in opposition. Political parties, already neutered, were either outlawed or melded into the Nazis. Almost simultaneously the Civil Service was purged of political unreliables. The labor unions were attacked in May 1933. A few old liners were put in jail, but for the most part the economic catastrophe had taken the fight out of mainline labor movement. (The Communists, naturally, had already been crushed.) The new German Labor Front bent over backward to show symbolically that workers were at the heart of the state. And Hitler's policy of state employment did provide jobs (at extremely low wages, but it wasn't safe to complain.) Party organizations were created for farmers, tradesmen, women, youth - almost anyone with two legs. Along with all of this went a brutally effective propaganda barrage that didn't let up until May 1945.

It was in this environment that the Nazis moved against the traditional Churches. The Catholic Church signed a concordat that promised that the traditional Catholic position in Catholic states would be respected. In return the Catholic Center Party dissolved itself. The story of Hitler and the Vatican has recently become a cottage industry: those interested in the truth should consult Hitler and the Vatican by Peter Godman.

The Protestant Churches should have been far easier prey. Most had never embraced the Weimar Republic which they believed was secular and responsible for Germany's defeat in 1918. During the 20's a series of fringe groups tried to claim Jesus as an Aryan and eliminate the Old Testament and much of the New. At the time these
organizations were rebuked but found a home under the wing of the still small Nazi Party. Like many Germans, Protestants shed no tears for Weimar and welcomed the chance to help build a truly united and great Germany. The pro-monarchist conservative Protestant leadership quickly found itself under attack by the German Christian Faith Movement who wished to follow Hitler wherever he led. In line with Gleichschaultung the German Protestant churches were unified in May. Recall that the Civil Service, who controlled many of the local church positions, had been purged by this time and thus many an old fashioned conservative found himself hitting the street. New church elections were ordered in July and the Nazi run German Christians secured a solid majority.

The racialism of the Nazis provoked the first opposition to the German regime since Hitler's Chancellorship began. Led by men like Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoller the "emergency federation of ministers" publicly rebuked the new national church. Obviously they struck a chord because 2,000 pastors joined the movement. The extreme Nazi ideology of the Christian Faith Movement was proving counter-productive and by 1934 one third of Germany's pastors were in open opposition to the Nazi regime. Nobody picked up a rifle, but this was the only organized public opposition faced by the Nazis outside periodic dust-ups with the Catholics in the prewar period. (The German military opposition which was well underway by 1938 was strongly motivated by anti-Nazi Protestant teachings: naturally, this opposition was clandestine until the failure of the bomb plot.) Hitler wasn't happy with events so, at Himmler's urging, he shifted tactics. In January 1934 Alfred Rosenberg was made "plenipotentiary" for the spiritual and philosophical education of the National Socialists. After this the Party openly backed Himmler's neo-paganism and a Reichs Ministry was created to monitor church activities and punish any anti-state discussion. Older Protestant Nazis kept coming to church but the younger zealots fresh out of the Hitlerjugend openly scorned Christianity as a faith of the weak. Over time the Protestant opposition either withered as war approached: many pastors refused to be seen as anti-patriotic with war clouds brewing - or was simply crushed: Niemoller spent 8 years in prison and Bonhoeffer was hanged. No one knows how many feared the road followed by Hitler but kept their mouths shut.

Did the German Protestant opposition do anything to stop Hitler? Obviously not. Whether by inclination or necessity they kept their objections strictly within matters of church doctrine. The boat that held groups that supported, were duped or were terrified by Hitler was a big one and most Protestants were in it. That said, in a land were any opposition was shockingly slight, thousands of Protestant churchmen in Germany and in occupied territories showed scorn and disapproval of the regime in any way possible. (And there were very few ways possible.) The Junker generals who ended up on Spandau's meathooks were almost all Christians. After the war, men like Niemoller were central in defining the idea of "collective guilt" for Hitler's crimes and included themselves among the guilty. It wasn't enough, but it was certainly something.

Ralph Johansen wrote (August 1, 2006):
Eric Bergerud wrote:
< Christianity and the 3d Reich again? This is really a subject I think well left alone because one is going to get very deep into some of the most complex historical questions of the century very quickly. And, like anything to do with Hitler nuance and even narrative are rapid casualties. Let's put it this way, if one wishes to understand this era, you have to go well beyond Wikipedia. I know many fine people who dedicated their lives to issues revolving around European fascism and the 3d Reich and can guarantee there is no consensus among serious historians and much pure rubbish coming from people that should be doing something else.
Clip <
This is a fascinating disquisition and though it's totally off topic (tot?) I am in your debt for having filled in blanks in my understanding of the Germany of the Weimar and Nazi regimes. I have read a fair bit about it, but I was not aware of many of the aspects having to do with re;igion -- although what you write fits with everything else I know about this period. I did have to keep prompting myself that this was not one of several other lists I frequently visit, though.

Bradley Lehman wrote (August 4, 2006):
Bach performance practice affected by Weimar Republic

< This is a fascinating disquisition and though it's totally off topic (tot?) I am in your debt for having filled in blanks in my understanding of the Germany of the Weimar and Nazi regimes. >
Especially on the topic of musical performance practices, see Robert Hill's article "Overcoming romanticism: on the modernization of twentieth-century performance practice" in the book Music and Performance During the Weimar Republic edited by Gilliam.

20th century performance practice of Bach's music (et al) was affected profoundly by that culture in Germany, the first half of the 20th century...as to notions of objectivity, authenticity, fidelity to the composer, etc etc. An indispensable perspective.

Here: http://tinyurl.com/s5wn5

I also liked the article in there about the way early radio technology in Germany affected the types of compositions being written or arranged. And the articles in there about the new thrusts in musicology, toward making monumental editions of a composer's music, and the types of methodology chosen (which both enlarges the repertoire but also restricts the way performers tend to approach it...).

Well, the whole book is good: essays by various authors.

 

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