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NAZIS AND CULTURE Nazi Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, supervised all of Germany’s intellectual and cultural activities – Including music.

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Presentation on theme: "NAZIS AND CULTURE Nazi Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, supervised all of Germany’s intellectual and cultural activities – Including music."— Presentation transcript:

1 NAZIS AND CULTURE Nazi Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, supervised all of Germany’s intellectual and cultural activities – Including music

2 NAZI AESTHETIC Music should be consciously German – Should not contain foreign influences It should appeal to the masses – Familiar, tuneful, easy to understand, and serious Nazi views on music were narrow-minded

3 NAZI POLICY Nazis despised musical modernism – Especially the music of Jewish composer, Arnold Schoenberg and his disciples To the Nazis, modern music appealed to elite, cultured audiences and was difficult to understand Above all, Nazis wanted to remove all Jewish influence from German music

4 ANTI-JEWISH POLICIES Nazis denied employment to Jewish musicians in German concert halls, opera houses Allowed anti-Semitic musical propaganda to flourish Prohibited Jews from holding teaching jobs at musical conservatories Denied Jews membership in German musical organizations

5 A LITTLE LEEWAY Nazis allowed Jews to form their own cultural organizations – But the concerts they put on were closed to the general public Only Jews could attend Not allowed to perform German works – Felt that Jews would contaminate these works

6 WHAT NAZIS LIKED I German folk songs German classical music – Especially music by the “three B’s” (Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, sometimes Aton Bruckner is added to this group) – Also music by Handel and Wagner

7 WHAT NAZIS LIKED II Clear melody Consonant harmonies Steady rhythms Goal-oriented Noble, serious tone Traditional instrumentation Should not contain foreign influences – Such as jazz instruments or syncopated rhythms

8 FIRST SOUND CLIP Symphony No. 5 – Beethoven Style characteristics: – Classical orchestration Heavy use of strings – Strong, incisive rhythms – Very serious

9 SECOND SOUND CLIP “Ride of the Valkyries” – Richard Wagner Style Characteristics – Strong rhythms Like Beethoven Take-charge, forward march, battle music – Very serious

10 “DEGENERATE” MUSIC Name taken from the title of a 1938 exhibition in Dusseldorf – Organized by Goebbels – Translation of the German word “entartete” Exhibition was a crusade against certain types of music that the Nazis deemed destructive – Consisted of photographs and portraits of specific composers and crude propaganda – Also recordings on gramophone records

11 WHAT THE NAZIS DIDN’T LIKE Jazz Other American popular music – Fox-trot and Charleston Modern, experimental music Any music written by a Jewish composer

12 NAZIS REALLY HATED THIS STUFF Nazis especially hated modern, experimental music – Because they believed it was primarily developed by Jewish composers – But this was not true for two reasons This music was cultivated by such non-Jewish composers as Bela Bartok Some Jewish composers did write traditional music

13 CHARACTERISTICS Dissonant harmonies – Clashing, ugly Atonal Not tuneful or lyrical Texts of music are often negative and concern hallucinations and nightmares Overall effect is shocking, uncomfortable

14 SOUND CLIP 3 “Nacht” from Pierre Lunaire – By Arnold Schoenberg – About how the moon can drive people crazy Music is ugly but it reflects the times and the attitude of the intelligentsia

15 SOUND CLIP 4 Bela Bartok – Despised Nazi policies on music and was forced to flee Hungary “Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta” – 1938 – Style Characteristics Dissonance Unusual instrumentation High range of instruments Music was used in soundtrack of “The Shining”

16 NAZI TREATMENT OF MODERN COMPOSERS Their works were censored and banned from concert halls Most were sent to camps or forced to emigrate Many had a hard time making a living in the U.S. – Bartok forced to flee to US in 1940 and lived in New York just above the poverty line – Schoenberg lost teaching job in Berlin and settled in California. Had short-term teaching jobs at UCLA and USC

17 NAZI IDEOLOGY AND MUSIC I Was narrow-minded and repressive – Only “German” music by German composers could be heard and played – Considered any foreign influence as a threat to the purity of German culture – Hated any Jewish influence And therefore isolated Jewish music activity Removed all Jewish works from concert programs Prohibited collaboration between Jews and “Aryans”

18 NAZI IDEOLOGY AND MUSIC II Nazis espoused music that was tuneful, pleasing, and that had strong, vigorous rhythms – And therefore abhorred much modern music Because it was harsh and unmelodic Thought it was subversive, difficult to understand, and written largely by Jews – even though much of it was actually written by non-Jews such as Richard Strauss

19 FLAWS Nazi ideology on music was full of inconsistencies and contradictions – There was no such thing as pure German music and Jews and non-Jews alike wrote modern music

20 DISTORTED VIEW OF HISTORY Jewish composer Felix Mendelssohn rediscovered music of German composer, J.S. Bach Nazis tried to “Aryanize” Handel’s oratorios – Claimed he really wanted to write oratorios based on Nordic legends but his English audiences did not know about them – Also erased Jewish words from Handel’s texts Handel

21 MUSIC IN THE CAMPS Many camps allowed music – Auschwitz-Birkenenau – Terezin Also had theatrical productions, lectures, poetry readings, and sports activities – The Warsaw, Lodz, and Vilna ghettos

22 TEREZIN Had greatest number of musical organizations – Because it was “model” camp designed to show outside world that Jews were treated well just a stopping off place for victims going to the extermination camps – Because a large number of prominent Jews were sent there Including famous musicians and members of intelligentsia – Because it was huge Had space needed to mount musical productions

23 TEREZIN: THE REALITY 140,000 people sent to Terezin between 1941 and 1945 – 33,000 died there from disease – 87,000 sent to Auschwitz Where 95% of them perished

24 WHY MUSIC? Way of keeping inmates calm Viewed as creative outlet for inmates – Nazi view was “let them have their fun— tomorrow they are going to die” – Therefore allowed instruments and sheet music to be smuggled in

25 TYPES OF CAMP MUSIC Auschwitz had two symphonic orchestras – One for men and one for women Warsaw ghetto had an orchestra Terezin had a jazz band called “Ghetto Swingers” Marching bands Chamber music ensembles Variety shows, caberets, choruses, operas Music education for children

26 TREATMENT OF CAMP MUSICIANS Were lucky compared to other prisoners Excluded from manual work Resented by other prisoners But did not have lives of luxury – Half-starved and always in fear of SS dismantling their ensembles and sending back with other prisoners

27 REASONS FOR CAMP MUSIC To show that the musical style of camp music was often experimental – Contained dissonance and foreign influence To show that much of this music was personal – Depicted life in the camps and feelings of intense pain, hopelessness, and sadness

28 OLIVIER MESSIAEN Wrote “Quartet for the End of Time” in 1941 One of France’s most prominent young composers Born in 1908, died in 1998 Was not Jewish but was a devout Catholic Joined army in 1939 – Captured by Germans has he was trying to escape on old bicycle Imprisoned in Gorlitz, Silesia

29 MESSIAEN AGAIN Quartet was written while Messaien was in prison Scored for four instruments – Violin, cello (only had 3 strings), clarinet, and piano First performed on January 15, 1941 to an audience of 5000 prisoners Eight movements to the piece

30 SOUND CLIP 5 Movement 2 is a musical depiction of death and the afterlife Two parts – End of the world as we know it Depicted as a cataclysm – Eternity Sounds spooky No sense of progression

31 KAREL BERMAN Jewish Czech composer born in 1920 Sent to Terezin in 1943 – Already an established singer, conductor, and composer Later sent to Kauffering and then Auschwitz Wrote “Suite for Piano” between – Autobiographical – Not recorded until 1984 – Eight movements

32 SOUNDCLIPS 6, 7, 8 FAMILY HOME – Starts off and ends tuneful and childlike – Middle is more intense and expressive AUSCHWITZ CORPSE FACTORY – Starts of soft, then picks up to be very harsh and ugly (sounds barbaric and monstrous) – Contains factory elements: musically repetitive, mechanical, and heartless TYPHUS – Inspired by typhus outbreak in April 1945 which left prisoners under strict quarantine for two weeks – Music sounds erratic

33 SUMMARY I Musicians in camps were ordered to play certain styles of music – Like band and symphonic music Were not allowed to play German music – Because Nazis felt they would contaminate great German masterpieces

34 SUMMARY II There is not one type of original music written at the camps – Experimental music dominated – But some, like Gideon Klein, wrote old-fashioned music – Most wrote experimental music that gave an autobiographical depiction of life in the camps Such as Karel Berman and Olivier Messiaen

35 SCHOENBERG Never imprisoned in a camp but has left us one of the moving and emotional reenactments of the prisoners last moments – “A Survivor from Warsaw” Composed in 1949 Based on accounts of the Nazi’s treatment of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto

36 LAST SOUND CLIP Essentially a traumatic story – Sounds as if the speaker has half-forgotten the events – He is obsessed by what has happened to him – Recalls the Nazi’s brutal screaming – Ends with a chorus of men singing “Shema Yisroel,” the command to love God as they are put to deat h


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