Symposium on the True Nature of Wagner’s Music

The online magazine Mosaic recently featured a symposium on Wagner’s music that included an essay by composer Nathan Shields and responses by PMH Resident Scholar James Loeffler, among others:

Essay

  • Nathan Shields: Wagner and the Jews: Two centuries after the great composer’s birth, his anti-Semitism remains a bitterly contested issue. Perhaps that’s because no one has yet come to grips with its, or his, true nature.

Responses

  • Edward Rothstein: Something More than Profound Prejudice: As Wagner illustrates, anti-Semitism is more than a mere dislike of Jews—it’s a metaphysical condition that shapes the very way the world is perceived.
  • Terry Teachout: “Going Under” in Europe: Wagner’s totalizing anti-Judaism is still alive. It just has a new face, fully revealed in this month’s attacks in Paris.
  • James LoefflerWagner’s Jewish Problem: Hating Wagner is a debilitating Jewish habit. So is loving him.

Rejoinder

  • Nathan ShieldsCourting Oblivion: More insidious than Wagner’s hateful ideas are his passions, which reside in his music and stir answering passions in others.
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Michael Haas on the Genius of Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Michael Haas contextualizes the life and music of Korngold:

There is much that speaks for Korngold being hailed as ‘the father of the Hollywood Sound’ – but there is also a good deal of hyperbole connected with this observation. Fellow Viennese Max Steiner was certainly the progenitor of the dedicated Hollywood score, and other composers – both immigrant and American-born, developed ideas that resulted in the cumulative ‘Sound’ that defined the sweep of Hollywood films from the 1930s onwards. Korngold’s contribution is perhaps symbolic as much as anything. Until his arrival, no serious composer had shown an interest in American cinema.

Read the rest on Haas’ Forbidden music blog.

 

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In What Way Is This Music Jewish? Charles Krauthammer and Edward Rothstein exchange views.

Charles Krauthammer, Pro Musica Hebraica’s chairman, responds to Edward Rothstein’s essay on Pro Musica Hebraica and the meaning of Jewish music:

This is the seventeenth concert presented by Pro Musica Hebraica. We have presented music ranging from the baroque Jewish music of 17th-century Italy and Amsterdam to Osvaldo Golijov’s 1994 The Dreams & Prayers of Isaac the Blind. These compositions are imbued with themes—liturgical, folkloric, biblical, historical—that make them Jewish not in the ghettoized sense of appealing only to one ethnicity or history, but Jewish in the same way that Béla Bartók’s music is Hungarian: universal, but with a sensibility and rootedness that give it a distinctive identity.

 

Read the rest of Krauthammer’s response, including Rothstein’s rejoinder, on Mosaic‘s website.

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Edward Rothstein’s Review of Our Spring Concert in Mosaic

Edward Rothstein reviews our latest concert, Before The Night: Jewish Classical Masterpieces of Pre-1933 Europe, featuring the ARC Ensemble:

[T]he pieces themselves, beautifully played by the Canadian-based ARC Ensemble, make no allusions to the Jewish origins of the composers; nor do they hint at how Saletski’s phrase fits these figures, all three of whom, in fleeing the Nazis, took a path that ultimately led from their respective nations of birth—Poland, Italy, and Austria—to the United States…..So here we have three finely crafted and intriguing works, each showing the influence of a different national style (Polish, Italian, Austrian) and each displaying unusual mastery.

Read the rest on Mosaic‘s website.

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ZEMER CHAI Concert — June 3 at Ohr Kodesh Congregation (Chevy Chase, MD)

On June 3, ZEMER CHAI: The Jewish Chorale of the Nation’s Capital will perform their 39th annual spring concert, “When Music Speaks, Worlds Open,” at Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Their program will include a work familiar to Pro Musica Hebraica concert-goers — Steve Cohen’s 2009 choral piece, Adonai Malach (Psalm 97). Here are the details:

ZEMER CHAI: The Jewish Chorale of the Nation’s Capital
39th Annual Spring Concert
“When Music Speaks, Worlds Open”

Wednesday, June 3 at 8 PM
Ohr Kodesh Congregation
8300 Meadowbrook Lane
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

TICKETS $20 (General Admission) and $40 (Reserved Section)
MAP/DIRECTIONS

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