Dangerous Melodies vividly evokes a time when classical music stood at the center of twentieth-century American life, occupying a prominent place in the nation’s culture and politics. The work of renowned conductors, instrumentalists, and singersand the activities of orchestras and opera companieswere intertwined with momentous international events, especially the two world wars and the long Cold War.
Jonathan Rosenberg exposes the politics behind classical music, showing how German musicians were dismissed or imprisoned during World War I, while numerous German compositions were swept from American auditoriums. He writes of the accompanying impassioned protests, some of which verged on riots, by soldiers and ordinary citizens. Yet, during World War II, those same compositions were no longer part of the political discussion, while Russian music, especially Shostakovich’s, was used as a tool to strengthen the US-Soviet alliance. During the Cold War, accusations of communism were leveled against members of the American music community, while the State Department sent symphony orchestras to play around the world, even performing behind the Iron Curtain.
Rich with a stunning array of composers and musicians, including Karl Muck, Arturo Toscanini, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Kirsten Flagstad, Aaron Copland, Van Cliburn, and Leonard Bernstein, Dangerous Melodies delves into the volatile intersection of classical music and world politics to reveal a tumultuous history of twentieth-century America.
|Publisher:||Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.80(d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Part I Terrorized by the Kaiser
Chapter 1 "We Must Hate the Germans": Tormented by Wagner and Strauss 3
Chapter 2 "It Would Be a Gross Mistake to Play Patriotic Airs": Locking Up the Maestros 44
Chapter 3 "There Is No Visible Relationship between a Wagner Opera and a Submarine": from Manhattan Riots to Wagner's Piano 86
Part II Hitler's Specter
Chapter 4 "I Want to Teach a Lesson to Those Ill-Bred Nazis": Toscanini, Furtwängler, and Hitler 127
Chapter 5 "Let Us Conquer Darkness with the Burning Light of Art": Shostakovich and Toscanini Confront the Dictators 170
Chapter 6 "I Come Here as a Musician": Furtwängler, Gieseking, Flagstad, Karajan-and Hitler's Ghost 210
Part III Confronting Communism
Chapter 7 "The Obedient Instrument of the State": Shostakovich and Copland in the Age of McCarthy 277
Chapter 8 "Khrushchev Wouldn't Know a B-flat if He Heard One": Symphony Orchestras Fight the Cold War 320
Coda: "The Baton Is Mightier than the Sword": Berliners, Ohioans, and Chinese Communists 359