Entartete Musik Class


Counts as a Music Genre course for the Language of Music Certificate.
The 20th century saw audiences split into the traditional and the avant-garde; composers who were prominent in one world were usually unacceptable in the other. Today this split continues, with many concert audiences listening only reluctantly to music of the past 100 years. This course is an opportunity to explore the key figures of post-Romantic German and Austrian music, most of whom were labeled “degenerate” (entartet) by the Nazi Party. We will examine the structure and beauty of works by Schoenberg, Hindemith, Viktor Ullman, Hans Krasa, Alban Berg, Erich Korngold, and Ernst Krenek.

Thursday mornings beginning March 26. Click here to register online.


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Degenerate Music Syllabus




Week 1: Degeneracy

  • The Exhibitions: Munich (1937 - art) and Dusseldorf (1938 - music)
  • Nazi politicization of art
  • Hitler’s artistic agenda
  • Zemlinsky’s early career

Week 2: The Hunchbacked Mannequin

  • Zemlinsky: Mature works
  • Schoenberg and Expressionism

Week 3: From Expressionism to Objectivism

  • Hindemith: From radical to conservative
  • Expressionist opera: Cardillac
  • Expressionistic film: The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari
  • Mathis der Maler and the crisis of artistic conscience

Week 4: Oversaturation

  •  Korngold and Schreker
  • The paradox of Alban Berg

Week 5: Mahagonny

  • Iconic films: Blue Angel and M
  • Krenek and Weill
  • The jazz and cabaret influence

Week 6: Driven into Paradise

  • Schoenberg, Thomas Mann, Brecht, Weill, Korngold, Eisler, Krenek, Toch, Zemlinksy, Hindemith
  •  The disparate fate of the American exiles

Week 7: Accommodation

  • Complicity and Compromise
  • Furtwangler, Knappertsbusch, Karajan
  • Orff, Strauss and Pfitzner
  • Internal exile: Hartmann and Blacher
  • Fritz Lang’s film Die Nibelungen

Week 8: Murder

  • Viktor Ullmann, Hans Krasa, Gideon Klein, Erwin Schulhof
  • Musical life in Theriesenstadt