June 30, 2018

"Adolf Hitler adored the Ninth Symphony. Musicians waiting for their deaths in Nazi concentration camps were ordered to play it..."

"... metaphorically twisting its closing call to universal brotherhood and joy into a terrifying, sneering parody of all that strives for light in a human soul. More than four decades later, Leonard Bernstein conducted several performances to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall, substituting the word 'freedom' for 'joy' in Friedrich Schiller’s 1785 poem to which Beethoven’s movement was set. And Emmanuel Macron chose this music as the backdrop for his victory speech after winning the French presidential election last year. Western classical music usually thinks of itself as being apolitical. But the Ninth is political. Beethoven saw it as political when he wrote it in the early 1820s. And his fellow Germans, looking for a sense of identity, embraced it with fervour. Beethoven’s Ninth became the musical flag of Germanness at a time when nationalism was a growing force in all of Europe. It also became a Romantic monument to the artist (Beethoven, in this case) as a special creature worthy of special treatment...."

From "'Ode to Joy' has an odious history. Let’s give Beethoven’s most overplayed symphony a rest" by John Terauds in The Star (where it is billed as "the first instalment of The Heretic, a series in which our writers express a wildly unpopular opinion"). I got to that article via a tweet from Terry Teachout, who said, "How utterly tired I am of such art-hating philistinism.."

255 comments:

1 – 200 of 255   Newer›   Newest»
Mr Wibble said...

Oh look, journalists decide to do something original and be contrarian for the sake of being contrarian.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Here's the song the left will play as they march we the deplorables into the ovens.

mockturtle said...

Ban Beethoven!

Quaestor said...

Freude / Freedom

Freedom, thou spark of God,
Daughter of Elysium

It worked for the down-taking of the Berlin Wall. It'll work for the groundbreaking ceremony for Trump's Wall.

Phil 314 said...

Couldn’t read the article (or at least I didn’t want to register for 1 of my 10 free articles.). But I can go to YouTube right now and listen to a multitude of performances of Beethoven’s 9th. That says a lot.

I want to ask the author, “OK, so what’s YOUR favorite Beethoven?”

mockturtle said...

Beethoven may be known for his symphonies but I think his Violin Concerto in D is his best work.

Sydney said...

I want to ask the author, “OK, so what’s YOUR favorite Beethoven?”

Probably Eroica.

tcrosse said...

Roll over Beethoven, and give Tchaikovsky the news.

Michael K said...

All I can say is listen and get over yourself.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

"Nationalism." oh no. We can't have any "nationalism" going on.

Dad29 said...

Yes, it's overplayed. It's also guaranteed REVENUE for lots of orchestras which are on slippery financial footings--so it will be even MORE overplayed.

tim in vermont said...

Wow, that’s really transgressive. LOL

mockturtle said...

"Nationalism." oh no. We can't have any "nationalism" going on.

Everyone should realize that the goal of those who want to destroy nationhood and borders is one-world government. Not freedom for all but more power in the hands of the very few.

mezzrow said...

Terauds is just virtue signalling like a mofo. Kudos to Teachout for pointing out the fraudulence of his line of thinking. Philistinism is exactly the right word.

John Lynch said...

I heard Hitler had a dog, too.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Hitler also loved watercolors. Can we throw away all watercolor paintings, and not allow schools to use that medium anymore?

Quaestor said...

The world applauded German nationalism when it came at the expense of the despised House of Hapsburg. It only went south when revanchist France made an alliance with the equally despised Romanovs against Germany. I'm not letting the despicable William II off the hook, but there were reasons why German nationalism changed in character so much between the Battle of Leipzig and the Battle of the Marne.

exhelodrvr1 said...

"I heard Hitler had a dog, too."

Well, Obama was doing his part!

Sebastian said...

"a series in which our writers express a wildly unpopular opinion"

So they go with an argument ad Hitlerum first? Weak.

But hey, can we play?

In music, it's been downhill since 1750.

Rap stinks.

Justice Thomas is the greatest jurist since Robert Jackson.

Shakespeare is pretty boring. (OK, OK, that one may not be wildly unpopular.)

Goethe is even more boring than Shakespeare. (Unpopular in Germany, right?)

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

But did Hitler ever place his dog on top of the car?

Fernandistein said...

"The repertoire of prisoner bands throughout the Auschwitz camp complex included –- in addition to special camp compositions –- all forms of contemporary musical life: marches, songs, parlour music, light music, dance music, hit-tunes, film and operetta melodies, classical music and excerpts from opera, as for example, the hit tune 'The best times of my life', Ludwig van Beethoven‘s Fifth Symphony, or Henryk Krol’s 'Arbeitslagermarsch' (Concentration Camp Labour March), which was composed in Auschwitz."

Quaestor said...

Hitler was also a vegan and a non-smoker.

I'm ambivalent about smokers. As long as my clothes don't stink after having been in the company of smokers I'm cool with it. (Quaestor himself enjoys a good cigar from time to time.) But those vegans always display a fascistic bent.

Oso Negro said...

@Michael - Thanks for posting that link. Magnificent!

mikee said...

My once-only, very short piano lesson consisted of sitting at a grand piano with a friend's girlfriend, a pianist, while waiting for said friend to show up. Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata was open on the piano's music stand. The girlfriend looked at it and asked me if I knew how to play. I didn't, so she showed me the first note - middle C - and I hit the key.

Then boyfriend showed up, and she left with him.

I have played exactly one note of Beethoven in my life. It was good.

Michael K said...

Here is another for that idiot to listen to.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Everyone should realize that the goal of those who want to destroy nationhood and borders is one-world government. Not freedom for all but more power in the hands of the very few.

Indeed. But the language-manipulating mind-crime left take a word like "nationalism" and define it as "Nazi White Supremacist." or "White nationalist"
The rich white twitter owner billionaire left do this.

mockturtle said...

@Michael - Thanks for posting that link. Magnificent!

Hai!

mockturtle said...

Indeed. But the language-manipulating mind-crime left take a word like "nationalism" and define it as "Nazi White Supremacist." or "White nationalist"
The rich white twitter owner billionaire left do this.


Of course. Demonizing nationalism and patriotism is a step toward that end [World Government].

Michael K said...

The political left is disturbed when any small group of ordinary, real people, is happy.

That is not to be allowed. Did anyone ever see a communist poster with smiling people ?

tcrosse said...

For those in a hurry, Beethoven's Choral Fantasy Op. 80 covers most of the same material in just 20 minutes or so.

Ralph L said...

Ludwig Van's 9th also figures prominently in A Clockwork Orange, at least the movie version.

CWJ said...

Sydney,

I saw what you did there. I was thinking the same thing. Good one.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

OT: Reporter caught lying for the narrative.

Dang. It was worth a shot, little buddy. Maybe Colbert will hire you?

Charlie Eklund said...

This sounds more like The Idiotic, a series in which our writers express deeply stupid opinions.

CWJ said...

Re Dickin'Bimbos comment.

"In his resignation letter, Berry conceded that his tweet “taints the good work of fair-minded journalists everywhere.”

What! Both of them?

tim maguire said...

He's confusing unpopular with stupid. Some ideas are unpopular for a reason.

tim maguire said...

Most heretics are just nut cases.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I think the author is on to something. The 9th is also the EU athem. So it has been used once again by totalitarian European socialist.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

Perhaps the left can set up a go-fund me page like they did for McCabe.

Quaestor said...

Allow me to second mock's motion. Yes. Indeed, thank you for the link to that inspirational video. I was amused by the alto in sea-green chiffon — such a contrast to the other 9,999 singers.

I've always loved that Napoleonic march that leads into the solo tenor's part. In spite of his ripping off the dedication page from his "Eroica" symphony, Beethoven remained to the very end a bit of a Bonapartist. Vive L'Empereur!

The Drill SGT said...

The 4th movement, "Ode to Joy" makes a great wedding recessional.

IMHO, the best single piece of music ever written, by the best composer of symphonies.

I have tickets at Wolf Trap in 2 weeks to hear the NSO play it.

again

Andrew said...

I always thought that the first three movements of Beethoven's 9th Symphony are greater than the last movement. My favorite section is the intense fugue in the 1st movement. It's at 8:44 in this video: https://youtu.be/rOjHhS5MtvA

Other favorite Beethoven moments:

Violin Concerto:
16:40 - https://youtu.be/0Cg_0jepxow

3rd piano Concerto:
7:57 - https://youtu.be/-Tm0Phjiouk

4th Piano Concerto (the entire cadenza):
15:13 - https://youtu.be/hTO9ms_eIEY

I'd post more but I'm at work. I would love for other commenters to post their favorite Beethoven moments. At least one person (me) will watch them later. Let's defeat the left by enjoying beautiful things.

Quaestor said...

Let's defeat the left by enjoying beautiful things.

Easily done. For more than a century they've been dedicated to ugliness in art.

Ralph L said...

The Japanese were a little too fast for my taste.
I like the lead-in to the tenor solo, too, and the tenor solo.

Imagine being at the premier performance.

Andrew said...

Quaestor (or anyone else): Could you let me know how you do what you just did? That is, how do you make an active link to a YouTube video that goes to a particular moment (and doesn't start at the beginning)?

Michael K said...

I got the link wrong on the second comment.

This is what happy people look like.

I doubt there is a communist within miles.

SDaly said...

Beethoven also invented Ragtime (and thus jazz), so do we have to get rid of those too?

Michael K said...

For more than a century they've been dedicated to ugliness in art.


And that is not counting hip hop.

mezzrow said...

@Andrew

right-click - copy URL [at time] should be an option

traditionalguy said...

Beethoven had his true Eroica with the Emperor Napoleon. His music predated German Prussian takeover wars by 40 years.

Michael K said...

I love these things.

Sorry.

Drago said...

If this Beethoven guy, whoever he was, is really the best, then how come he is not on a bubblegum card AND being played around the clock in the lobbys at all Trump properties?

Hmmm?

Where's your smart guy answer now smart gu...er..uh...smart guy?

Otto said...

All roads lead to racism ( anti-semitism in this case).

chuck said...

@Michael

I enjoyed the German comments at your first link, many like this,

"die japaner haben mehr deutschen nationalstolz als wir selbst und das is eigentlich sehr traurig"

Makes me wonder if the coming decade will feature a lot of pushback against the continuing destruction of European culture, and German culture in particular.

Temujin said...

Wow. A week ago I read that Einstein had impure thoughts, so some scientists were having an issue with how to handle his actual work. Now this. Beethoven. When it's fair game to go back in time to any period to do some 'house cleaning', you better believe that we're at the cusp of entering a new Dark Ages. Teachout may be annoyed by this junior journalist opinion, but that opinion is widespread among the left that Teachout hangs out with daily. This is not dissimilar from removing statues of Robert E. Lee.

It starts by throwing it out there. I am sure this idea of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony being a tool of the Nazis is not new (he's no Wagner). But now that it's been tossed out into the public arena, it'll be tried again. And again. Along with Einstein and others. Until they get one to stick. Like Robert E. Lee. Then they go back at it to get another one.

Remove all signs of Western Civilization. Clean up the unsafe images and thoughts. Make sure everyone has only pure thoughts and motives. Do not question those who make the rules.

I love the left. They keep repeating history for all of us to relive.

Andrew said...

@mezzrow: Thank you! I'll try it later.

Dagwood said...

The more I've listened to classical music, the more I've become convinced that Beethoven is alone on the top rung.

Terauds is an attention-whoring fool.

rcocean said...

Talk about Click-bait.

It'd be funny if some Hitler scholar found that "Casablanca" was his favorite American Movie.

What then?

rhhardin said...

Hitler liked Für Elise best.

rcocean said...

I like the 3rd and 8th symphonies more than the 9th, and his violin concerto more than the symphonies.

rcocean said...

For years they wouldn't play Wagner in Israel.

That showed him.

Michael K said...

Carmina Burana was the first classical music that was opera-like that I got to like. This was when I was in college.

I took my daughter to a presentation of it at the Orange County Opera a few years ago. We went back twice.

Now I am in love with Eliana Garanca.

She quit performing in opera productions a few years ago while she was having her children. She is fantastic.

rcocean said...

People laugh about this stuff, but we have SJW Librarians - some at my local library - who are silently "purging" the shelves of books they dislike by labeling them "racist" or "misogynist".

Some time, its based on the authors political beliefs.

They aren't just 'erasing' Wilder from award names, they're purging her books from Libraries. It'd hilarious, if it wasn't serious, but my local library got rid of "Dr. Doolittle" because his books were "racist".

Ralph L said...

Someone (Teachout?) said that all composers since Beethoven are either following him or responding to him, or something like that. I might have read that here.

GRW3 said...

Post modernism has infected classic (generic sense) music as much as other parts of society. Orchestras have to program Beethoven and similar to make ends meet because that modern PM crap. I did read recently that there is a push to restore melody and musicality to classical music. Hope it succeeds

Marc said...

As with other British songs that have been adapted to American usage, some text changes may be necessary: but Cornelius Cardew's Smash the Social Contract (YouTube) is my nomination for the deplorables-to-the-camps march. Very catchy refrain ('smash, smash, smash...')!

The Drill SGT said...

Michael K

I had seen your Spanish version before and love it, but I'll raise you:

By Germans in German, in Germany

William said...

Hitler banned Gone With The Wind. The subtext of that novel and picture is that conquest by the Yankees was not the end of the world and that life goes on. Since Hitler disapproved of GWTW, are we therefore allowed to enjoy it, or does that only work with things Hitler enjoyed?

tim in vermont said...

Shakespeare is pretty boring. (OK, OK, that one may not be wildly unpopular.)


Say what you will, but Falstaff had BDE. So much of it that Queen Elizabeth the First demanded another play about him even after Bill had killed off the character.

rcocean said...

"I did read recently that there is a push to restore melody and musicality to classical music. Hope it succeeds"

People don't mind paying money to see Modern Art. You whiz through it, see the occasional painting you find "interesting" and that's it.

However, listening to bad modern classical music for an hour - can be sheer torture.

chuck said...

> Carmina Burana was the first classical music that was opera-like that I got to like.

Ah, memories of a warm summer night at the Hatch Memorial Shell (Boston), Lexington Choral Society performing under the direction of Allen Lannom, my mother was in the chorus. I was at the onset of puberty and it really struck home :)

I've always had a weak spot for Beethoven's second piano concerto. Early works have a rambunctious quality that often gets lost in polished maturity. I particularly enjoy the story of Beethoven's page turner pulling broken strings out of the piano during a performance ...

William said...

Wasn't Beethoven a reliable leftist in his day? I'm sure he would have found the time to write appropriately sublime music to Neruda's Ode To Stalin had he lived long enough.

rcocean said...

Some one needs to publish a book.

"How to avoid things Hitler liked. Or don't be a Nazi".

It'd be a bestseller.

tim in vermont said...

Hitler sort of took “militant vegetarian” over the top, but you know, if we can get just one vegan to shut up...

rcocean said...

"Wasn't Beethoven a reliable leftist in his day?"

He supported Napoleon, until he crowned himself Emperor.

rcocean said...

If Hitler was alive, he'd be a member of the Green Party.

Except for his nationalism, he was arch-typical Leftist.

Atheist, Vegetarian, Teetotaler, Animal rights activist, hated smoking, artistic wannabee, socialist.

His dream, after he'd established the New Order, was to retire and spend the rest of his life in Northern Italy, painting and seeing all the Italian art.

tim in vermont said...

Stalin and Mao each caused more deaths than Hilter, but still... It’s almost like there are people who don’t want to own up to all of the horrors that were the 20th century.

policraticus said...

I'm sorry, I just can't take this seriously. This has to be a troll.

tim in vermont said...

His dream, after he’d established the New Order, was to retire and spend the rest of his life in Northern Italy, painting and seeing all the Italian art.

He could have done that without all of the war. Yeesh!

Still Hitler was no big respecter of borders. It’s all a matter of perspective with lefties like Hitler, and the white left today. Its about the direction of the invasion. Do you really think Hitler had a lot of patience for Poland’s demands that their border be respected?

mockturtle said...

The more I've listened to classical music, the more I've become convinced that Beethoven is alone on the top rung.

Sorry. Both Bach and Mozart were superior composers.

Michael K said...

People don't mind paying money to see Modern Art. You whiz through it, see the occasional painting you find "interesting" and that's it.

MY daughter (the middle one) worked for a few years at a very high end art gallery in Venice CA. It was 100 feet from the beach and had "modern" art, which is mostly mixed materials like David Hockney's stuff. which I don't like. Still it sells for millions.

She had a woman come in one day and write a check for $850,000 for a painting. She also identified a fake the gallery owner bought from Christies.

I think a lot of those people who buy this stuff are buying inflation hedges assuming that a "greater fool" will pay even more some day.

Now, she works for an artist, whose work I also don't like, but he also sells paintings for millions.

A medical school classmate's son is an artist whose art I also don't like but who sells them for millions.

Music is similar but seems to be surviving better than art.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

“By Germans in German, in Germany.”

The best yet. A little more love for Germans.

Michael K said...

Both Bach and Mozart were superior composers.

I wore out records of Brandenburg Concertos years ago. Bach and Mozart were different, not better.

Mozart was more versatile. I like "The Marriage of Figaro" and "The Magic Flute" best of his 22 operas.

Mozart had a sense of humor which seems to be lacking in the others.

rcocean said...

"I think a lot of those people who buy this stuff are buying inflation hedges assuming that a "greater fool" will pay even more some day."

No doubt. I think a lot of modern art is simply a racket.

Even if you can't find a buyer, you can find some appraiser who will value your painting at a huge price - you can then donate it, and take a massive tax write off.

I know that if buy a lot of paintings from obscure painter X, and then get someone to buy one his paintings for a large sum, all his other paintings will sky-rocket in price, even though its crap. No doubt rich people buy each others paintings, just for this reason.

The Drill SGT said...

"Both Bach and Mozart were superior composers."

I think Beethoven is the best and orchestration and for symphonies.

Chamber music? Bach. Maybe Organ as well

Operas? perhaps Mozart

They all have their places

Kevin said...

Why do I suspect this came from intense research into whether Hitler had a particular fondness for sharks?

rcocean said...

The Bach vs. Mozart vs. Beethoven has been going on forever.

I suppose if I was on a Desert Island and could only choose one, it'd be Beethoven.

But I agree that Mozart has a lightness and charm that Beethoven rarely shows.

chuck said...

> I also don't like but who sells them for millions.

What's wrong with a plumbing fetish?

rcocean said...

Didn't Beethoven write only one Opera?

I saw it years ago, and IRC, it wasn't full of laughs.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

While the German composers are absolutely wonderful, I love Puccini, my favorite is “O’mio babbino caro” from the opera “Gianni Schicchi.”

chuck said...

> But I agree that Mozart has a lightness and charm that Beethoven rarely shows.

Beethoven was a moralist. IIRC, he thought it was immoral that Mozart wrote such heavenly music for that cad Don Giovanni.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Best operatic composers, Puccini and Verdi.

buwaya said...

It can't possibly be overplayed, in today's musical environment.
The kids very rarely hear any of this stuff, not over their earphones.

At best something good may be the background for one of their videogames.
These are sometimes classical-influenced.

My son used to play "Ode to Joy" on keyboard, when he was learning that, it was his piece.

Quaestor said...

Didn't Beethoven write only one Opera?

Actually its one from two. Beethoven made a false start on the story "Leonora" from which we have a lot of isolated material; there's an overture and some quartets as I recall, but he finally got it together as "Fidelio". Leonora is the lead character's name, and "Fidelio" is the persona she adopts in order to get a job in the prison where her husband is held captive.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Give Beethoven's late quartets a listen.
I have never been so surprised by "classical" music.

tcrosse said...

Fidelio is one of those rare serious operas with a happy ending. You don't see it produced very often because it's very difficult to cast.

tim in vermont said...

Build your own damn symphony and have them play what you like! Just don’t come to the taxpayers for the money.

Quaestor said...

Best operatic composers, Puccini and Verdi

Nothing those two, prolific as they are, compares to Mozart's collaborations with Lorenzo da Ponte. They also take a back seat to Wagner. I'm not surprised at Inga's musical tastes... suitably pedestrian. Yes, some of Puccini is nice on the ears, particularly
La bohème (fondly I remember being a stage door Johnny, as my good friend debuted as Mimi for the NYC Opera) but as theater -- weak tea.

Paco Wové said...

"post their favorite Beethoven moments"

5th Symphony, 3rd Movement. For me, it gets better and better as it goes along, until the transition into the 4th Movement, which never, ever fails to just blow me away. The link was the best one I could find on YouTube – most of them are kind of muddy sounding in the very quiet sections.

There are too many things to pick out, but I especially direct your attention to the section from 3:11 until the start of the 4th, at around 5:05.

Inga...Allie Oop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Mike said...

This is further confirmation, as if any is needed, that journalists like John Terauds know nothing about history. During World War II it was played by the Allies. The opening bars are also Morse Code for the letter ‘V’ which was Chuchill’s symbol of victory.

Lots of luck getting it banned —the “Freude” chorus is the official anthem of the European Union.

etbass said...

Beethoven's ninth ranks with Handel's Messiah as the best for me.

Michael said...

Overplayed? The symphony requires a rather large chorus so I would bet the Fifth gets more play, probably even the 3rd.

But it is wearisome to see these edgy and ever so clever journalists take their little hammers to the wall of high culture.

Wagner is the best composer of dramatic music. He Did not see his works as "opera" which he considered frivolous

I have begun the effort of listening ( all caps) to a symphony a day. Paying close attention without having the mind off doing errands or thinking of sex. As hard as my 20 minutes of meditation was when I began it. Listening closely to the music instead of having it in the background ( which I also do) is a challenge for me. Maybe it will get easier after a hundred if I don't quit before. LOL.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Mozart’s Canzonetta Sull’aria from the Marriage of Figaro, is opera’s most beautiful duet, IMO.

readering said...

Don't remember stories of people being converted by attending the Messiah (which I saw performed at Mormon Tabernacle, quite the treat).

Paco Wové said...

"The opening bars are also Morse Code for the letter ‘V’"

5th Symphony, Big Mike.

readering said...

For some reason the Beethoven piece I play over the most is his triple concerto. Something about the interaction of three great soloists (violin, cello, piano) with orchestra. Never tire.

Michael K said...

Even if you can't find a buyer, you can find some appraiser who will value your painting at a huge price - you can then donate it, and take a massive tax write off.

Yes, that is probably an equal reason although I fail to see the benefit of paying so much.

When my daughter, who has an MLS and was acting as his archivist, found the forgery, he got his money back from Christies (A few hundred thousand) and returned the painting which they no doubt sold again.

She was worried about telling him it was a fake as he had paid a lot but he was very appreciative and did get his money back.

Museums are finding fakes in collections all the time.

readering said...

Discussion of effect of songs should be connected to language. Hitler may have known what they were saying but vast majority of listeners don't.

Yancey Ward said...

Of Beethoven's symphonies, I have always liked them in this order from best to worst:
5th, 7th, 9th, 6th, 4th, 3rd, 8th, 1st, 2nd.

The only symphonies written by other composers that compare to Beethoven's top 3 to me are Dvorak's 9th; Brahm's 1st, 3rd, and 4th; Mozart's 40th and 41st; and Tchaikovsky's 6th; Mahler's 2nd and 5th. I like a lot of other symphonies, but these are the ones I can listen to over and over and not tire of ever.

Clark said...

@mikee (8:20) -- I hate to break it to you, but the first note of the Moonlight Sonata is the g sharp below middle C. If you are willing to rethink the note you were playing and call it b sharp instead of c, then you were playing one note of Beethoven, but it was the 2nd note in the right hand of the fourth measure.

Great story though, great visual. Cultured female sitting at the piano with barbarian male civilizing him.

tcrosse said...

Mozart’s Canzonetta Sull’aria from the Marriage of Figaro, is opera’s most beautiful duet, IMO.

IMO, too.

Sebastian said...

"Both Bach and Mozart were superior composers."

Of course.

Ludwig would agree, at least about Bach.

I mean, let's start with 200 cantatas.

But Opus 110 and 111 are really very good.

Paco Wové said...

Years ago, when I was a pop-music-listening undergraduate, I happened to be out driving one day, running some errands, listening to public radio, and the 6th Symphony came on. I immediately dropped everything else off my list, drove straight to a record store, bought the LP, and went back to my dorm room to listen to it.

rightguy said...

The best book I have read about classical music and politics is The Rest is Noise/Alex Ross. Hitler was quite the aesthete & had an an artistic personality, and he tried using German classical music to promote & project Nazi-ism. Stalin also had strong opinions about music, and the Russian giants Shostakovich and Prokofiev, who composed in Russia during the communist era, knew that their works would be scrutinized by Stalin himself for correct political content.These three sequential chapters are essential : 7 The Art of Fear:Music in Stalin's Russia, 8 Music For All : Music in FDR's America, and 9 Death Fugue : Music in Hitler's Germany.

The story about Shostokovich composing his 7th Symphony while he was under siege in Leningrad is amazing.

JaimeRoberto said...

I like that one too, especially as depicted in the movie Immortal Beloved. I guess I have something in common with Hitler. I feel so dirty. I bet he believed 2+2=4. Perhaps we should throw out mathematics too.

Big Mike said...

@Paco, I should have double checked. You are correct.

Fernandistein said...

rcocean said...
[Hitler] Atheist,


Nope. "I believe in God, and I am convinced that He will not desert 67 million Germans who have worked so hard to regain their rightful position in the world."

"In fact, atheism was banned within the SS ... All SS men were required to list themselves as Protestant, Catholic or gottgläubig ("Believer in God")."

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Ravel’s Bolero, flashmob in Spain, gets your cold German blood hot.

Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sebastian said...

Linking this to the other thread:

We can rank major composers and compositions all we want, but any of the pieces mentioned in this thread, really all the great ones composed from Monteverdi to Mahler, are greater works of art--more complex, more technically accomplished, more emotionally satisfying, more worthy of repeated experience--than any of the museum items we see in the other thread, than any we have seen on this blog, ever, or, in fact, than all but a handful of paintings from the same period. It's the best of the West.

And I'd throw in a couple of Shostakovich symphonies and his Preludes and Fugues.

William said...

I'm surprised that Beethoven's opera, Fidelio, doesn't enjoy greater currency. In that opera, Beethoven stakes out a position in favor of cross dressing and gay marriage that was years, even centuries, ahead of its time.

Yancey Ward said...

On Carmina Burana:

That is a case where the first time I heard it as an identified piece on the radio (this would have been in the early 1990s in the age before the internet), I thought, "So that is what that is called!" There are other instances of this for me during my life- the third movement of Brahm's 3rd symphony, for example, or the first movement of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony which was a common piece from the classic horror films I grew up with.

William said...

I like Fur Elise. That's some great napping music. The problem with a lot of Beethoven's music is that it's too sublime. I'm rarely in the mood to storm the gates of Heaven. I just like to float above the sounds and drift in and out of sleep. Classical music is very good for that........Brahms seems to be difting out of favor, but he wrote some good napping music.....,.,Why are mad, evil scientists so attracted to Bach's organ music? You would think that Wagner would be more likely to capture their fancy.

Chuck said...

I’m now reading an op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times, authored by Prof. Kent Greenfield (Boston College) and Prof. Adam Winkler (UCLA). The headline is “Kennedy’s Shaky Gay Rights Legacy.”*

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/06/28/opinion/kennedy-gay-rights-same-sex-marriage.html

The thesis is, I think, correct. (Althouse, I gather, would disagree.). They suggest broadly that the series of majority (all 5-4) opinions crafted by Kennedy, from Romer to Obergefell, “expansively reading the Constitution to protect gay Americans” may be overturned or “narrowed” and “minimized” by the nature of Kennedy’s decision making from the start.

The professors suggest, as I have in other comments, that Kennedy always relied on his own vague notions of “liberty” and “dignity rights” while he “muddled” the hard legal matters of whether, and how, gay rights were “fundamental” rights per the long line of Fourteenth Amendment cases, etc.

That was of course the basis (among others) for the scathing and even sarcastic dissents by first Scalia and later Roberts. Dissents that seemed to leave no doubt about how they’d rule if given another chance with a different majority.

The op-ed concludes with the authors openly wondering if Kennedy’s gay rights cases will survive in years to come. I raised the same issue with Althouse and she doubted it.

No matter what your own opinion is on gay rights, Kennedy, the Court or Trump (and in fact the two lawprof authors might be ‘pro-gay and not so cagey about it,’ the column is a very good tutorial for non-lawyers in Kennedy’s most controversial legacy.

*P.S.- The NYTimes changed the print headline for the online reprint. Weird. What a weird newspaper.

Gahrie said...

We need to eliminate classical music to make more room for rap.

Oso Negro said...

@Mockturtle - no one ever felt like jumping in their panzer and ripping through France after listening to The Magic Flute.

YoungHegelian said...

I'm right partial to the Razumovsky quartets, myself.

Anonymous said...

Inga said...
Ravel’s Bolero, flashmob in Spain, gets your cold German blood hot.
-------------------------------------------------------------

Good stuff!!!!!!

Unknown said...

tim in vermont said...
Hitler sort of took “militant vegetarian” over the top, but you know, if we can get just one vegan to shut up.

******************

They're a real pain in the ass. Just the other day I heard a vegan berating an egg-eating ovolactarian for "ripping children from the wings of their mothers."

Michael K said...

The op-ed concludes with the authors openly wondering if Kennedy’s gay rights cases will survive in years to come. I raised the same issue with Althouse and she doubted it.

Goldberg gets one right.

Is he recovering from his TDS?

Michael K said...

I happened to be out driving one day, running some errands, listening to public radio, and the 6th Symphony came on. I immediately dropped everything else off my list, drove straight to a record store, bought the LP, and went back to my dorm room to listen to it.

I had a somewhat similar experience with Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite.

My room mate played it. Then came Carmina Burana, my girlfriend's sister played it.

YoungHegelian said...

@Oso Negro,

@Mockturtle - no one ever felt like jumping in their panzer and ripping through France after listening to The Magic Flute.

No, but the Magic Flute might have led them to take liberties with the white wimmins:

White is beautiful! I must kiss her!

Zach said...

Hitler was a kook, and Beethoven died 43 years before Germany was even a country.

Andrew said...

@rightguy: I second your praise of The Rest is Noise. My favorite chapter is the one on Sibelius, "Apparition in the Woods." I didn't discover Sibelius until a few years ago. It was like entering into a whole new musical world. Now he's one of my favorites. I think Ross does a terrific job of describing his impact. (Another reason to hate the left: they insulted traditional composers like Sibelius because they didn't write 12-tone serial garbage.)

chuck said...

> I'm not surprised at Inga's musical tastes... suitably pedestrian.

Can we have a Christmas truce? Do it for the music.

Jim at said...

Why can't we find Beethoven and Mozart's teacher and mentor?

Because he's Haydn.

I'll see myself out.

tim in vermont said...

Christmas truce with Mrs Magoo, who thinks that conservatives should be hunted down where they sleep and eat?

The Drill SGT said...

"Zach said...
Hitler was a kook, and Beethoven died 43 years before Germany was even a country."

To be fair, Germany was not a country, but the residents of the various locales that became Germany certainly shared a common German culture and a common nationality before Bismarck brought them under a single flag.

Zach said...

One thing I hate about constantly sacking the temples of the past is that it's so ignorant about how ideas evolve with time and get adopted by people with no real connection to the originators.

Generally speaking, in the 1800s, nationalism was forward looking and optimistic. The political units of the time were too small, and the borders depended too much on which nobles married which, and which nobles died in which order. Germany had something like 200 principalities at one time, which meant they could never get their act together and got pushed around by other countries which were united earlier. The 30 Years War saw every large country in Europe duke it out for the right to control the region, much to the disadvantage of the population.

With that history, plus the development of things like railroads, steamships, and the telegraph, small principalities were becoming less and less viable. Joining together to form a large state was an idea that had reached its time.

The specific way that German nationalism turned ugly happened a lot later, and was not inevitable at all. Remember, Kaiser Wilhelm was Queen Victoria's grandson! She had hoped he would be the German Victoria -- a constitutional monarch overseeing a liberal democracy. England and Germany were much more natural allies than England and France, or Russia and Germany. But unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.

None of that was foreseeable when Beethoven was alive, any more than we can predict what will happen to the EU a hundred years from now. Let's let Beethoven rest and worry about our own moment in history.

tim in vermont said...

England and Germany were much more natural allies than England and France, or Russia and Germany.

Perhaps Churchill could have kept his precious empire. I wonder, if he knew how the war would come out, the the Americans and Russians, the two revolutionary great powers in ascendence, if he would have listened a little harder to Hitler. I am not suggesting that it would have been a good thing, it’s just one of those “what if” questions.

Inga...Allie Oop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
buwaya said...

My musical tastes are even more pedestrian.
What gets me going in the morning is Suppe - The Light Cavalry overture, etc.

You could put all my favorites in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Elina Garanca is great though, and "Carmen" is the greatest opera of them all.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Western classical music usually thinks of itself as being apolitical.

Now, that is a crock of shit. "Western classical music" doesn't "think of itself" as being anything at all.

buwaya said...

Germany had an excellent reputation as a cultured, humanist country to the end of the 19th century. Liberals from around the world went to Germany, to see how modernity was done.

France was the troublemaking expansionist and moreover politically unstable, with a reputation for political extremism.

Wilhelm II changed all that, he destabilized Europe by himself, if one wants to blame an individual.

Rory said...

Rhh said: "I like Fur Elise."

My dog likes that.

tcrosse said...

A Czech told me that Austria's biggest scam was convincing the world that Hitler was a German but Mozart was an Austrian.

Michael K said...

England and Germany were much more natural allies than England and France, or Russia and Germany. But unfortunately, it didn't work out that way.

Pat Buchanan has an interesting book, called the "Unnecessary Wars" in which he blames Churchill and Grey.

I think he has a fair case against Grey.

Another book I'm reading is "The Sleepwalkers," which makes a fair case that Germany and England did have more in common. The French and Russians were more responsible for the war than either England or Germany.

The French were lending huge sums to Russia and Serbia for arms.

A lot of it was French revanchism for 1870.

Michael K said...

Austria's biggest scam was convincing the world that Hitler was a German but Mozart was an Austrian.

I stayed in the Bristol Hotel in Salzburg across the street from Mozart's birthplace.

Kirk Parker said...

Beethoven is definitely alone on the top tier.

Somebody earlier mentioned the 8th Symphony -- a wise person has termed it "the best Mozart symphony ever written". (I would mention the person's name, but modesty prevents me...)

Not Sure said...

Nobody puts Beethoven in a corner!

But I suppose doing so would sure teach that fucker Hitler a lesson.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Jim,

Amen to that! I was waiting for someone to mention Haydn. I mean, my (unfinished) dissertation is on the Haydn quartets. If I had to pick three composers, they'd probably be Haydn, Monteverdi, and Brahms. If ten, add Bach, Handel, Rameau, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Bartok. If twenty, er ... add Mendelssohn, Hindemith, Faure, Stravinsky, Debussy, Britten, Mahler, Tchaikovsky, Ravel, Boccherini.

I could be content with the collected works of the twenty. But for another ten: Telemann, Josquin, Muffat (Georg, not Gottlieb), Charpentier, Machaut, Victoria, Schuetz, Berg, Milhaud, Scarlatti.

I'm much more a chamber music than a symphony girl, as you can probably see.

tcrosse said...

From Wikipedia:
He [Mozart] was neither Austrian nor German because Salzburg was independent, neither part of the Habsburg Austrian possessions nor part of a (yet to exist) German nation-state.[41]"


Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Oh, favorite Beethoven? Op. 132, hands down. Opp. 127 and 109 are second and third.

narciso said...

from Prussian eyes, they felt they had to get into the colonization game, they got some scraps, south west Africa, if I remember from gravity's rainbow, tanganyka, I think, but no great prizes in the middle east, or even asia, if memory serves, didn't they have their eyes on the phillipines,nso they sought to attempt to poach, british and French possessions, in north Africa, and other locales, they sought to recruit mexico, via their revanchism against the us,

chuck said...

> A lot of it was French revanchism for 1870.

Bismarck did not want Germany to incorporate Alsace and Lorraine, he thought it would lead to trouble. And it did. The problem for Germany is that they had a limited supply of Bismarck quality strategists. AFAICT, he was unique, the exception to the general strategic incompetence that characterized Germany after he was retired by Wilhelm.

> "Carmen" is the greatest opera of them all.

Agreed. Leonard Bernstein's analysis of the opera is a classic, it opened my ears to the subtleties of the music that completely escaped my pedestrian appreciation. If that is available anywhere online, I'd like to know.

John Cunningham said...

Since Hitler was a vegan and a fanatical anti-smoker, we must all now eat 3 steaks per day and smoke 2 packs of unfiltered Luckies. For the children!!

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

"Carmen" is the greatest opera of them all.

Brahms and Tchaikovsky both seemed to think so, but, nah, it's Le nozze di Figaro. Mozart wouldn't have stood for a character as anodyne as Micaela, for one thing.

narciso said...

there was this, right before the outbreak of hostilities:

https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/causes-of-world-war-one/the-agadir-crisis-of-1911/

Nicholas Meyer's seven percent solutions, has the Kaiser, all but named, as a psychopath, about a dozen years out,

Inga...Allie Oop said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Not Sure said...

Uh oh. This could be problematic:

"Beethoven's Ninth Symphony became the mystical goal of all my strange thoughts and desires about music." --Richard Wagner

buwaya said...

Bismarck was skeptical of colonialism, for good reasons.

Even in the 1880s it was common to see it as uneconomical, a very poor investment.

In its late period it was a fad, really, not, for the most part, driven by the immediate returns of the "European explosion" of the 16th-17th centuries. By the latter half of the 19th century it offered the magic promise of mighty imperial reach, available on the cheap. But there are reasons why white elephants are cheap.

Only a few colonies ever paid for themselves, and fewer and fewer did as time went on and expansion of global trade and economic development made such things as monopolies in commodities and captured markets obsolete.

But Wilhelm II was a man easily influenced by fads and dreams of glory.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Vivaldi, “Summer” is another great one to listen to outdoors on a summer evening.

Michael said...

As long as we are going to consider disappearing composers because Hitler liked them we will have to throw out Bruckner, the Jew Mahler, and a host of others. And why not. We can't let this music pollute our youth. On the other hand our youth tend to prefer 2Chainz.

Paco Wové said...

Op. 132, hands down.

I've always been partial to No. 10 ("Harp") among the string quartets.

Speaking of the quartets... I remember hearing the Grosse Fuge for the first time and wondering who had slipped some modernist 20th Century piece in amongst the Beethoven.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Debussy’s Clair de Lune is one I love to listen to when the sun is going down over my lake and I’m sitting on my front deck with a White Russian.

tcrosse said...

Mozart wouldn't have stood for a character as anodyne as Micaela, for one thing.

He wouldn't have stood for a doofus like Don Jose, either, except in a supporting role like Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Hitler often drank water.

Not Sure said...

when the sun is going down over my lake and I’m sitting on my front deck with a White Russian.

Mad Libs meets Urban Dictionary

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Un bel di vedremo. How can any anti Puccini snob not be moved by this?

Michael Fitzgerald said...

I think that sometimes people say things just to be provocative.

Big Mike said...

Anyone who's heard "Va Pensiero" knows that Verdi was good.

Sebastian said...

One of the great things about the enormous western musical canon is that even after years of listening you are bound to discover new things.

Example: just yesterday, I listened to Handel's Dixit Dominus for the first time (I think!). Amazing--the work itself, and the fact that I had apparently missed it.

And of course, we can all enjoy many recorded versions even of pieces that once were difficult to find.

For amateur aficionados, these are the best of times.

Michael K said...

AFAICT, he was unique, the exception to the general strategic incompetence that characterized Germany after he was retired by Wilhelm.

There was a lot of strategic incompetence. The "Sleepwalkers" book has a long list of names.

The most obvious villain was Serbia, next cane France and then Russia.

Grey was ambivalent but his ambassador in Paris was Sir Francis Bertie, who was a Germanophobe.

By February 1912 it had become clear to him that Germany was still the problem; not France. In competing with the British Empire Germany sought to acquire lands in southern Africa from Portugal, France, Belgium and Britain, in addition to promising the Portuguese government financial support. Bertie blamed Admiral Tirpitz's sabre-rattling belligerence in the Persian Gulf where it coincidentally met with the Berlin-Baghdad Railway.

The usual anti_German bias in Wiki.

The problem was that, once the war began, the Germans acted as Germans so often do. As Churchill said, "At your feet or at your throat."

France was probably more responsible for WWI than Germany but it is very hard to sell that to someone who has not studied the subject a lot. The French were egging on the Russians, who the Germans actually feared most.

Roughcoat said...

I take issue with several of the views posted here concerning the outbreak of the Great War. I stand with German historian Fritz Fischer who, in the 1960s, argued forcefully (albeit controversially) that Germany was responsible for Europe going to war in 1914. If you haven't read Fischer's thesis you lack the knowledge to discuss this issue with authority. What follows is an excerpt an essay I published some time ago on the subject:

The following is part one of an from an article I wrote and published on the topic under discussion here:

World War I happened because Germany wanted to dominate Europe and be Europe's hegemon and, ultimately, a world power--the world power. Period. Full stop. Germany was willing to go to war to achieve these goals. Germany's plans for the conquered nations of Europe (especially France, Belgium, and Russia) make for hair-raising reading. A German-occuppied Europe in 1915 (had Germany defeated France, Britain, and Russia) would have been every inch as murderous as the Nazi-occupied Europe envisioned by Adolf Hitler.

The First World War was not a tragedy in the strict Classical Greek definition of what constitutes and defines tragedy: it was not a conflict brought about by a series of accidents, mistakes, and blunders. To adopt this view is to buy in to the revisionist history promulgated by, among others, the left-leaning upper classes of Britain and their counterparts in other countries during the interwar period--all that lachrymose "Lost Generation" nonsense.

World War I was neither insane not stupid; far from it. It was a struggle for survival by a coalition of European nations against German aggression and the imposition of German tyranny that would have ensued in the event of a German victory. It was worth fighting: it needed to be fought: there was nothing insane or stupid about the motivations that drove the Allies to fight.

If there is a tragedy in all this it is that the war ended too soon. In fact the Americans had planned on leading a great 1919 offensive into the heart of Germany and the American Expeditionary Forces were expected to achieve a decision in this final phase of the war by direct military action. The Allies should have invaded Germany at the end of 1918 or early 1919 to compel an unconditional surrrender. Germany should have been ocuppied and partitioned between the U.S., Britain, France, and the re-established sovereign nation of Poland. Had the allies done so the world would have been spared incalculable misery in the decades that followed.

- Continued -

Roughcoat said...

Part 2:


The British were right to continue the blockade in the period immediately following the Armistice because the Allies were still technically in a state of war with Germany and the Germans were, quite cynically, playing for time in order to leverage their position in the peace talks. Whether "hundreds of thousands" of Germans "died of starvation" as a direct result of the naval blockade is one of those oft-repeated datum points concerning that period that has never been substantiated--probably because it cannot be verified, probably because it either isn't true or is a gross exaggeration of what actually transpired. Many people died all over the world in the years 1918-1920 due to the Spanish Influenza that was ravaging the planet and it is simply impossible to separate out those in Germany who died as a direct result of the blockade and those who died of the flu. It is useful in this regard to note that some 625,000 Americans died of the flu not because they were malnourished due to a British naval blockade but because they had the misfortune to fall victim to one of the worst pandemics in recorded history. In the event it bears mentioning that the German leadership in 1919 could have spared their people much suffering by admitting and accepting defeat in a war that they had in fact lost on the battlefield.

The exercise of German economic/political power in the first quarter of the 21st Century in Europe is a far cry from Germany's plans for the effective subjugation of Europe in the first quarter of the 20th Century. Those plans entailed, even before the outbreak of war in August 1914, policies of population engineering that bordered on (and would have surely crossed over into) the realm of genocide and enslavement. Germany hegemony would have been with enforced with military power and that enforcement would have been brutal and cruel as circumstances warranted. The Germans wanted to be Europe's undisputed hegemon and their hegemonic despotism would have surely evolved rather quickly into a totalitarian system. A foretaste of what was to come was put on display during the march of the German Army through Belgium in August 1914 saw the systematic application of the German military's hideously cruel policy of Schrecklicheit ("frightfulness"). This pre-planned policy manifested as mass executions of civilians, the burning and looting of towns and villages, and the ravaging of the countryside. There is no reason or any indication on the part of the Germans that they would have moderated this policy had they succeeded in conquering all of Metropolitan France and, subsequently, the rest of Europe. German plans for Russia and, wouldn't you know, the Jews, were not so very different from those manifested in the Second World War.

The Drill SGT said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Vivaldi?

Andrew said...

Greatest opera? I vote "The Magic Flute."

Favorite moment: the Queen of the Night's aria.
https://youtu.be/YuBeBjqKSGQ

Roughcoat said...

Michael K:

Have you read Fritz Fischer's thesis, and his many writings addressing this subject? Have you read critiques -- both pro and con -- of Fischer's thesis by other scholars? In particular are you familiar with Bobbit's "Shield of and the Course of History"?

You must familiarize yourself, in depth, with Fischer and the associated literature and intelligibly discuss this subject.

You don't have to agree with Fischer and his supporters, but you need to read what they wrote.

Dr Weevil said...

William (11:29am):
Fidelio has cross-dressing, but it's also a good argument for the 2nd Amendment. When the evil prison governor Pizarro goes down to the dungeon to murder his political prisoner Florestan, he is prevented by the cross-dressing prison guard Leonore/Fidelio, who kills him to defend her husband. Not knowing there would be a fight, Pizarro made the mistake of bringing a knife to a gun-fight. (Not that we need to think ordinary citizens of this imaginary kingdom had the right to keep and bear arms: Leonore had to become a prison guard to get hold of a gun.)

Another opera provides an argument against the 3rd Amendment, unless you identify with the villains. In The Barber of Seville, Count Almaviva gains access to his closely-guarded beloved by getting a fake military commission from a friend and then getting himself 'quartered' in the girl's house. That would not have worked in the U.S.A.

Does every amendment have a related opera? Probably not. What's the best for the 1st Amendment? Maybe Dialogues of the Carmelites, which ends with a bunch of nuns being guillotined. But it's a complex amendment, so there may be better examples.

Roughcoat said...

Correction: the title is "The Shield of Achilles: War, Peace, and the Course of History".

rhhardin said...

Clockwork Orange did Beethoven's Ninth.

Better was the Purcell Queen Mary Death March

Roughcoat said...

Concerning "The Sleepwalkers": IMO this book is deeply flawed, and quite wrong in its essentials. It is, since its publication in 2013, the flavour de jour in the field of World War I revisionist history and thinking, and it is a pity that it has achieved such exalted status. But, YMMV.

FIDO said...

Shrug. Another woke lefty trying to hate on European culture in the cheapest, most blatant way possible.

I wish their sense of self loathing allowed them to engage in the logical final act of courage, but they are both cowardly and selfish.

So we get to suffer their idiocy.

tcrosse said...

...he is prevented by the cross-dressing prison guard Leonore/Fidelio, who kills him to defend her husband.

Actually she just pulls a gun on Pizzaro but doesn't kill him. This allows him to swear vengeance, thus setting up for the sequel. The good guys arrive in the nick of time to haul him off to prison, except that's where they already are. Virtue triumphs and Joy Abounds.

Michael K said...


Blogger Roughcoat said...
Concerning "The Sleepwalkers": IMO this book is deeply flawed, and quite wrong in its essentials.


How so ? The Buchanan book makes some of the same points, especially about Grey. I have a biography of him still to read.

I have not yet gotten to the July Crisis but I think it was Max Hastings book, that made some of the same points about the French.

The standard version has been Tuchman's for many many years. I read her book when it was published.

What do you object to ?

eddie willers said...

So much great to choose from. But if I was banished to a desert island and could only take one classical music piece with me it would be Vivaldi's Four Seasons

Quaestor said...

From Wikipedia:
He [Mozart] was neither Austrian nor German because Salzburg was independent, neither part of the Habsburg Austrian possessions nor part of a (yet to exist) German nation-state.[41]"


Ah, but the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, Sigismund Graf von Schrattenbach, was an Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, thus Mozart was a Roman, was he not? Honestly, Wikipedia has some f'ed up contributors.

Rory said...

Dr Weevil said: "What's the best for the 1st Amendment?"

William Tell, with respect to compelled speech? William's troubles arise when he refuses to pay proper respect to a hat.

Roughcoat said...

English historian H.P. Willmott (disclosure: a friend) wrote that that Bismarck took top honors as the most obnoxious German of his time, "a contest for which the competition was exceedingly stiff."

But for all his personality flaws, he understood the concept of limits with regard to Germany's quest for "a place in the sun."

Roughcoat said...

What do you object to?

Read my preceding posts. Acquaint yourself with Fritz Fischer's thesis (his Wikipedia page is a good place to start). My position on this should be clear.

Buchanan is not credible. Hastings is problematic, with a well-known pro-German bias. I'll withhold my opinion of Tuchman, whom I admire as a writer and stylist, except to say that her elevation of Gallieno over Joffre is woefully wrongheaded and cannot withstand scrutiny.

Dr Weevil said...

tcrosse:
Really? I'm pretty sure she shot him in the only production I've seen - Toronto, 10-20 years ago. I distinctly recall the sign on the front door of the theater warning the sensitive that there would be gunshot sounds and simulated smoke clouds in the production. Directors of Hamlet sometimes have Horatio drink the poison at the end, so I suppose directors of Fidelio could also jazz it up by making her shoot him, and his last words then presumably a dying soliloquy. Or maybe I remember it wrong. Still a good example of bringing a knife to something rather like a gun fight.

Roughcoat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inga...Allie Oop said...

Another beautiful duet, Flower Duet from the opera Lakmé, Léo Delibes.

Roughcoat said...

Revision: "...her elevation of Gallieni over Joffre as France's savior in 1914..."

Michael K said...

But for all his personality flaws, he understood the concept of limits with regard to Germany's quest for "a place in the sun."

Oh, I agree. It was a disaster for Germany when Wilhelm fired him. I have always thought that Wilhelm's father would have been a much better ruler and have a whole section in my medical history book about how botched his treatment for cancer of the larynx was. It was botched by the English who were far behind the Germans medically at the time.

His wife was an English princess and insisted on English doctors who were largely incompetent. English surgeons did not use antisepsis or asepsis until after 1900.

Part of Wilhelm's antipathy to the English cousins was related to his father's illness. The English were famous for their "gifted amateur attitude about everything.

Michael K said...

OK, I ordered a Fischer book, on Germany's aims.

But I'll finish the Sleepwalk book. It's been too hot on the patio the past week but I'll get back to it and finish.

A lot of the literature on the war has been about the fighting and not the origins.

I don't know that I would consider Max Hastings "pro German."

The Buchanan book is useful to see one school of thought. I think he has a point about Grey. I haven't gotten to my Grey bio yet,.

gilbar said...

i think it was andrew that asked for our favorite beethoven, here's mine
best beethoven ever

tcrosse said...

I'm pretty sure she shot him in the only production I've seen - Toronto, 10-20 years ago.

Opera directors sometimes take huge liberties. The production I saw in Santa Fe was set in a Nazi concentration camp, as it was slowly revealed. This made Rocco and Jacquino somewhat less sympathetic in their Nazi uniforms. At the finale, it was the British who liberated the place, which required some changes in the Singspiel.
At curtain calls, the Bad Guy came out in his SS uniform and got roundly booed, which he took as a compliment.

chuck said...

So I go look at Fischer's wikipedia page and

"This traditional German elite, in Fischer's analysis, was dominated by a racist, imperialist and capitalist (the German elite hated capitalism) ideology that was little different from the beliefs of the Nazis"

Some wiki editor has replaced "anti-capitalist" with "capitalist". How like wikipedia, where no political topic is reliable.

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