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The Political OrchestraThe Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics During the Third Reich$
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Fritz Trümpi

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226251394

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226251424.001.0001

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Summary and Conclusion: “A Rivalry Like That between the Berliners and the Viennese Will Always Exist”

Summary and Conclusion: “A Rivalry Like That between the Berliners and the Viennese Will Always Exist”

(p.234) Summary and Conclusion: “A Rivalry Like That between the Berliners and the Viennese Will Always Exist”
The Political Orchestra

Fritz Trümpi

Kenneth Kronenberg

University of Chicago Press

There is something suspicious about music, gentlemen. I insist that she is, by her nature, equivocal. I shall not be going too far in saying at once that she is politically suspect.

THOMAS MANN, The Magic Mountain

The politicization of the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras during the Nazi era—politicization both in the ways in which the orchestras molded their programs and repertoires to the exigencies of the ruling powers and how these concessions to power molded each orchestra’s image and therefore its understanding of itself—had a long history. When I began this study, it was not my intention to examine this long history as it manifested in these two very different orchestras. However, it soon became evident that avoiding it would be impossible, because National Socialism cannot be viewed simply as a time-limited era neatly capped off at both ends, a sort of “fascism in its epoch.” It would not be sufficient merely to examine the last years before the Nazis’ assumption of power in 1933 or the annexation of Austria to Germany in 1938, because the politically and economically determined starting point of the competition between the orchestras may be dated to 1882, when the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra was founded. At the latest, by 1897, when the Berlin Philharmonic played a series of guest concerts in Vienna, it had come to be understood by the Vienna Philharmonic as its major competitor. This competition conditioned and mirrored the competition between Vienna and Berlin—first as capitals of independent countries and after 1938 as German cities within the Greater German Reich. The branding process, of course, took place well before the Nazis came on the scene: the rival cities had traded in the “Made in Germany” and “Music City Vienna” labels since the final decades of the nineteenth century. The main subject of this book is the ways in which these labels or identifications were applied to the orchestras and what consequences these identifications had for the very different types of politicization that characterized them during the Nazi era....

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