January 25, 2012

Music Too

Lifeboat, MONARCH OF THE SEAS, 2007.

I confess, as I was working on the last essay in the Fascist group, the thought hit me that I hadn’t written about all the arts. I have architecture…in several forms. There’s painting, graphics, and I’ve added films. Theater is touched on in the essay of Thingplatze, those outdoor stages. I’d said nothing on music. So, now here I am writing a new piece. What I know about German music in any era would fill a thimble.

Research. It all boils down to research. I may even have to listen to some of the music. Laughing at myself, of course, as I have tinnitus with me always making its own music. Briefly yesterday I listened to the “Horst Wessel Song.” The music is a dramatic and powerful piece of propaganda in itself tho the lyrics don’t work well in today’s cynical times. Wagner. Hitler loved Wagner’s music. Wagner puts me to sleep. I’m an embarrasment at concerts where Wagner is performed. I don’t care who is on stage yelling at me, I fall sound asleep.

This leaves what? No atonal music, no Jazz, but I did find one web site devoted solely to Nazi Music. At a Teachers Guide to the Holocaust writes that Goebbels set these guidelines for musicians all of whom were forced to join the Reich Music Chamber:

1. Loyal Nazi members who were talented musicians were guaranteed a job.
2. Loyal Nazi members who were not talented musicians were not guaranteed a job.
3. Any non-Jewish person who demonstrated a "genius" for music and was a member of the Reichsmusikkammer (Reich Music Chamber) was permitted employment. This exception in policy permitted musicians like conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler and composer Richard Strauss to continue working.

They were always two faced about everything. Number three is the perfect example. As with Jewish composers working, the ban on swing wasn’t quite a ban. Members of Hitler youth were allowed to protest via their music preferences,. Widipedia’s Music of Germany tells us that, “Joseph Goebbels assembled some of the now jobless musicians from Germany and conquered countries into a big band called Charlie and His Orchestra to perform Nazified versions of popular swing hits to be played in propaganda broadcasts.”

In between bits of this and that, I managed to get some scanning in and some reading in. The Geezer decided he’d rather have a new computer than a fancy dinner out on the town for his birthday. Best of all, dinner was good as was the togetherness after dinner.


  1. I'm having a terrible struggle leaving notes on blogs since yesterday. If you don't hear from me, I'm there struggling to say something.

  2. Among most Jewish people older than the current generation (for whom I cannot speak), Wagner was considered an anti-Semite. When is the last time you heard Wagner's music at a Jewish wedding?

    That said, I do love German music -- both the classics and folk music. Music can transcend other differences. It's one of the hopes of the world.

  3. It's funny that you fall asleep to Wagner. I have dozed off in a lot of concerts, but Wagner's crashing and bellowing keeps me awake.

  4. I tend to think Wagner is too heavy, too.

    My grandparents immigrated to Wisconsin from Bavaria around the turn of the century to escape the sad state of their homeland. Other than wanting to know more about their roots, I don't study much German history anymore. I'm, sure your group is interesting.

  5. I used to study music seriously in New York and Hawaii during the 1970s. Now, I rarely listen to music. I prefer to read in silence.


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...