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Music Nationalism in Western Art Music
by
Jonathan Gentry

Introduction

During the 18th century, music developed the capacity to articulate nationalism. While local and even national musical styles have been around much longer, national traditions should be distinguished from nationalism. Though modern theories of nationalism differ widely, most are unanimous that nationalism is a dynamic process of cultural identification with a nation and national qualities. The peculiarities of regional musical styles can and have been incorporated in discursive efforts to create and define the nation but are not necessarily in themselves nationalized. Nationalism and music intersect whenever music is employed in the building of nations, both political and cultural. In the late 18th century peasant or “folk” music became the first nationalized genre, thought by folklorists to represent the authentic voice of a people group, defined as a nation. In turn, the historiography of nationalism in Western art music has largely revolved around folk idioms and their incorporation into high art, concert genres. However, in recent decades, new concepts of nationalism and the social function of music have greatly expanded the perceived spheres of nationalism in music. All genres, compositional techniques, and composers, regardless of nationalist intent, can participate in the formulation and negotiation of national unity and identity. In addition, the realms of popular music and amateur music making, as well as musical journalism and scholarship, are now considered important facets of nationalism in music. Given the importance of both amateur and folk music in nationalizing Western art music, this article necessarily includes selective works of ethnomusicology that illuminate the complicated, and often nationally inflected, relationship between high and low music.

General Overviews

Until recently, very few scholars attempted to address musical nationalism in a transnational context, except as chapters in general surveys. Abraham 1964 is indicative of an older tendency in scholarship to judge the degree of nationalism in Western art music by its use of folk songs, thereby marking nationalist music as the non-German music of the European periphery. Dahlhaus 1980 argues for the nationalist qualities of all late-19th-century music, not limited to folk settings, and including the supposedly universal German, Italian, and French traditions. However, Dahlhaus offers little analysis of how and why music reflects national identity. Perhaps one reason why there are so few overviews of the topic is that the techniques and processes of nationalization were not uniform from country to country and composer to composer, as is the general thrust of White and Murphy 2001. The two most wide-reaching introductions to the topic are Bohlman 2004 and Francfort 2004, which both primarily analyze the effects of popular forms of music making, with Francfort 2004 focusing on a more specified chronology (1870–1914). The best introduction to European scholarship on music and nationalism is the large edited volume Loos and Keym 2004. Another key essay collection is Stokes 1994, which provides multiple perspectives on music’s ability to generate a sense of place. Although Curtis 2008 and Steinberg 2004 offer two methodologically different introductions to nationalism in art music, they are the most conceptually useful, as well as the most critical, of Abraham’s and Dahlhaus’s national essentialism. Curtis looks at how composers actively and consciously participated in the invention of nations, while Steinberg provides textual analysis of how music itself articulates and confronts national identity.

  • Abraham, Gerald. A Hundred Years of Music. Chicago: Aldine, 1964.

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    Considers nationalism one of the major trends in mid-19th-century music and as something distinct from Wagnerism. Notes the use of folk songs in the German canon but focuses primarily on Russian music, on which Abraham was a leading authority.

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  • Bohlman, Philip V. The Music of European Nationalism: Cultural Identity and Modern History. New York: Routledge, 2004.

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    Inclusive introduction to nationalism in European music, examining folk, high art, and popular genres. Argues that nationalism is not confined to any one compositional style. Musicians can express national identity in a multitude of ways. There is a particular focus on anthems and song contests but little analysis of musical texts.

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  • Curtis, Benjamin. Music Makes the Nation: Nationalist Composers and Nation Building in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Amherst, NY: Cambria, 2008.

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    Uses Wagner, Smetana, and Grieg as case studies of musicians who consciously used their music to build a “national culture.” Compares composers to key intellectuals who built the nation through culture rather than merely expressed it. A comparison of nation-building strategies.

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  • Dahlhaus, Carl. “Nationalism in Music.” In Between Romanticism and Modernism: Four Studies in the Music of the Later Nineteenth Century. By Carl Dahlhaus, 79–102. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980.

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    Argues that in the late 19th century it became impossible to separate national style and nationalism. Consequently all music of this period, not just folk-inspired idioms (and including the German tradition), functioned as a conduit of national spirit. Concludes that nationalism is not external to music but dependent on aesthetic authority. Originally published in German in 1974.

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  • Francfort, Didier. Le chant des nations: Musiques et cultures en Europe, 1870–1914. Paris: Hachette, 2004.

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    Looks at processes of national identification throughout Europe. Argues that music was used to mobilize the masses between the Franco-Prussian War and World War I. Considers both popular and art music. In French.

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  • Loos, Helmut, and Stefan Keym, eds. Nationale Musik im 20. Jahrhundert: kompositorische und soziokulturelle Aspekte der Musikgeschichte zwischen Ost- und Westeuropa: Konferenzbericht Leipzig 2002. Leipzig: Gundrun Schröder, 2004.

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    Contains thirty-seven papers from a 2002 international conference in Leipzig. Particularly focused on nationalist appropriations of music in both the 19th and 20th centuries (despite the title’s indication of simply the latter). Considers national developments from across Europe, especially eastern Europe. Entries in multiple languages, though mostly German, followed by English.

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  • Steinberg, Michael P. Listening to Reason: Culture, Subjectivity, and Nineteenth-Century Music. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004.

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    Provides an interpretive framework for (largely Austro-German) music in the long 19th century. Argues that Wagner nationalized music by making it a discourse of identity rather than subjectivity. Sections on Brahms, Verdi, Dvořák, Debussy, Bartók, and Janáček examine how their music processed and subverted the Wagnerian inheritance of nationalist ideology, giving voice to the “people” rather than the “nation.”

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  • Stokes, Martin, ed. Ethnicity, Identity, and Music: The Musical Construction of Place. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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    Eight essays address how musical behavior can construct categories of identity and senses of place. Primarily relevant for ethnomusicology and cultural studies. Considers folk, high art, popular, and non-European songs.

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  • White, Harry, and Michael Murphy, eds. Musical Constructions of Nationalism: Essays on the History and Ideology of European Musical Culture, 1800–1945. Cork, Ireland: Cork University Press, 2001.

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    Shows the great variety of nationalism in art music. Compositions could be appropriated by nationalists or overtly nationalist. Composers could draw from urban or rural sources or be politically left or right. Looks at big names such as Stravinsky, Bartók, and Debussy but also Szymanowski, Nielson, Grove, Moniuszko, and Johansen.

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Reference Works

Given the newness and breadth of the topic, reference works provide the most systematic overviews of nationalism in music, though most reference entries on the topic are quite brief. Nonetheless, Taruskin 2001 provides a comparatively thorough history of nationalism in European art music, which is quite simply the best available. While less systematic than Taruskin, Samson 2001 also usefully introduces the topic, especially with regard to Germany. Temperley 2002 and the Encyclopedia of Nationalism offer shorter entries, though still useful in their own ways. The former is a quite traditional interpretations of nationalism in art music, giving a tour of the nationalist canon. While the entry “Music and Nationalism” in the Encyclopedia of Nationalism is somewhat atypical in its definition of nationalism in music and its examples, it does provide a fresh and thoughtful perspective.

  • “Music and Nationalism.” In Encyclopedia of Nationalism: Leaders, Movements, and Concepts. Edited by Alexander J. Motyl. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 2001.

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    Very brief, with unorthodox examples of nationalism in music. Usefully describes nationalism as entering music only through a three-way negotiation between composers, performers, and listeners. Focuses primarily on art music.

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  • Samson, Jim. “Nations and Nationalism.” In The Cambridge History of Nineteenth-Century Music. Edited by Jim Samson, 568–600. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

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    The second most thorough introduction to the topic after Taruskin in Grove Music Online. Particularly useful in characterizing nationalism more broadly, though a bit disjointed in its examination of the role of music. Thin and uneven bibliography.

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  • Taruskin, Richard. “Nationalism.” In Grove Music Online.

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    Offers a narrative of nationalism in music from 17th-century English concert life to Cold War musicological debates. Always ties musical developments to their social/political context. Thoughtful and accessible definitions of nationalism, in a word: “an attitude.” Good bibliography, especially of primary sources. Print version: The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Vol. 17, edited by Stanley Sadie (London: Macmillan, 2001), pp. 689–706.

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  • Temperley, Nicholas. “Nationalism.” In The Oxford Companion to Music. Edited by Alison Latham. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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    Provides a brief and somewhat traditional account of nationalism in music. His narrative turns on the observation that the German tradition was the only aspiring nationalism to achieve musical hegemony. Consequently, all the canonic nationalists he mentions are reacting to the Germanization of music.

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Guide to Sources

The type of sources useful to scholars of musical nationalism is potentially limitless. Not only are the written records (scores, notes, writings, letters, etc.) of composers relevant but also relevant are those of all the other figures in musical culture: folklorists, journalists, scholars, intellectuals, politicians, musicians, conductors, patrons, concert promoters, audience members, and so on. Unfortunately, most of these sources do not usually organize themselves into neat, retrievable categories of nationalism. As of yet, there are few published source collections directly related to music and nationalism. However, the writings of nationalistic composers and the compilations of famous folklorists are two rich depositories of sources that are widely available and useful points of departure.

Source Collections

Bohlman 1996 is an extensive annotated bibliography essential for anyone studying the collection, performance, nationalization, promotion, and appropriation of German folk music. In the world of art music, Campbell 1994 and Campbell 2003 translate the world of Russian musical criticism into English, making it accessible for even undergraduates to research the culture of Russian music.

Composers on Nationalism

While many composers did not have a nationalist agenda, many of those who did expressed it in essays, books, lectures, and interviews. What they said and how they said it differed widely. Also, what they said about music and how they composed did not always form neat parallels, but that only adds another layer to be analyzed. Glinka 1963 offers a Russianizing retrospective of his career, while Rubinstein 1982 makes almost no mention of Russian music. Wagner 1995, on the other hand, is the composer’s central theoretical treatise and directive for German musical progress. Bartók 1976, Schoenberg 1975, and Vaughan Williams 1972 are all essay collections, in which only some of the essays are directly related to nationalism. Interestingly, each gave their most famous lecture on nationalism in music between 1931 and 1934. The Bartók collection is especially useful for researching how he gathered and incorporated folk materials and how he thought composers should work with folk material.

  • Bartók, Bela. Bela Bartók Essays. Edited and translated by Benjamin Suchoff. New York: St. Martin’s, 1976.

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    Contains eighty-nine translated writings of Bartók: essays, lectures, notes, and letters. Many entries address Hungarian music and the collection and use of folk sources. Includes the notable essay “The Influence of Peasant Music on Modern Music” (1931), which argues that one should examine the relationship between folk music and the social context of its production.

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  • Glinka, Mikhail Ivanovich. Memoirs. Translated by Richard B. Mudge. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963.

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    Written two years before his death in 1857, these notes provide biographical information and narrate the composer’s quest for a genuinely Russian style.

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  • Rubinstein, Anton. A Conversation on Music. Translated by Mrs. John P. Morgan. New York: DaCapo, 1982.

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    Transcript of Virgina Woods Morgan’s interview with Rubinstein in 1891. Primarily, Rubinstein gives his opinion of music history and the canonical composers of the German, Italian, and French traditions. He answers questions about music schools and “national creation in music.”

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  • Schoenberg, Arnold. Style and Idea: Selected Writings of Arnold Schoenberg. Edited by Leonard Stein. Translations by Leo Black. New York: St. Martin’s, 1975.

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    Contains eighty translated writings of Schoenberg, many of which address folklorism and nationalism in his music and others. Includes two essays from 1931 on national music, in which he says great composers naturally tend to cultivate national qualities in their music and should not aim to imitate the music of other nations. Considers his style the only German path for opposing Latin or Slav musical hegemony.

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  • Vaughan Williams, Ralph. National Music, and Other Essays. London: Oxford University Press, 1972.

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    Several essays on folk and national music, including a lecture originally published in 1934 entitled “National Music.” He asserts that composers should write music based only on their own national idioms (folk or otherwise) rather than soullessly imitating the music of other nations.

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  • Wagner, Richard. Opera and Drama. Translated by William Ashton Ellis. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995.

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    Originally published in German in 1851. Could use an updated and less cumbersome translation (Ellis’s English translation was first published in 1893). Wagner argues that his invented genre “music drama” should replace opera, an un-German genre. In “music drama” the (re)unification of music, gesture, and poetry will usher in national unification. A unified art expression communicates the origins and essence of language and gives voice to the folk.

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Folk Song Collections

The following folk song compilations will be of interest to scholars of nationalism on multiple levels. Not only do they provide formal musical data that can be variously interpreted, but these collections are themselves fascinating documents of the nationalist endeavors of folklorists. While not technically the first such collection, Herder 1990 was the widely known collection that inspired many imitators. Like Herder’s Voices of the Peoples, Arnim and Brentano 1987 collected only song lyrics and not the music. On the other hand, the collections by Lvov and Prach (Brown 1987) as well as Erk and Böhme 1893–1894, contain melodies with extensive reference apparatuses that not only help orient the reader but also reflect biases of the folklorists themselves. Sharp 1974 and the Greig-Duncan Folk Song collection (Shuldham-Shaw and Lyle 1981–2002) are very accessible artifacts of the early-20th-century British (distinctly English and Scottish) folk song revival, though the Greig-Duncan is a richer, more recently published source. Kolberg 1961, written in Polish, is the most important folk source for Polish composers. Finally, Bartók 1993 is a real gem for those who do not know Hungarian. It is the result of a massive project overseen by Bartók in the 1930s that employed dozens of field workers to collect songs all over eastern Europe. The collection includes illuminating essays, field notes, indexes, and illustrations.

  • Arnim, Ludwig Achim von, and Clemens Brentano. Des Knaben Wunderhorn: Alte deutsche Lieder. 3 vols. Edited by Heinz Rölleke. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1987.

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    A collection of folk song lyrics (no music) that inspired many Austro-German composers. Originally compiled between 1805 and 1808. Edition contains critical commentary on each poem. In German.

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  • Bartók, Bela. Hungarian Folk Songs: Complete Collection. Vol. 1. Edited by Sándor Kovács and Ferenc Sebö. Translated by Ria Julian and Ferenc Sebö. Preface by László Somfai. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1993.

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    The 1,200-page first volume from a collection containing more than 13,000 folk melodies of Hungarian, Slovakian, Romanian, Turkish, and Serbo-Croatian origin. Facsimile of Bartók’s tabulations. Introductory essay and accompanying field notes translated into English. Songs organized in Bartók’s original classification but also cross-listed with contemporary scholarly classification.

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  • Brown, Malcolm H., ed. A Collection of Russian Folk Songs by Nikolai Lvov and Ivan Prach. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1987.

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    A comparatively early collection of 150 folk songs, originally published in 1806. The song lyrics remain untranslated, but the collection has a lengthy English introduction by Margarita Mazo. Appendix C provides a very useful index of what art music compositions (up to 1917) incorporate which folk songs.

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  • Erk, Ludwig, and Franz M. Böhme. Deutsche Liederhort. 3 vols. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1893–1894.

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    The most significant 19th-century collection of German folk songs. Contains 2,175 songs. Extensive cross-referencing and explicit invocation of “volk” as the authentic voice of the nation. In German.

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  • Herder, Johann Gottfried. Volkslieder, Übertragungen, Dichtungen. Edited by Ulrich Gaier. Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1990.

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    Contains song lyrics originally compiled in Herder’s influential Stimmen der Völker in Liedern (Voices of the peoples in songs, 1778) and Volkslieder (Folk songs, 1779). Volume also includes lengthy commentary from the editor as well as Herder’s aesthetic views on music. In German.

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  • Kolberg, Oskar. Dziela wszystkie. Vol. 1, Pieśni ludu polskiego. Warsaw: Polskie Towarzystwo Ludoznawcze, 1961.

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    Folk songs complied by Poland’s most influential folklorist. Facsimile of original 1842 and 1857 publications. In Polish.

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  • Sharp, Cecil James. Cecil Sharp’s Collection of English Folk Songs. 2 vols. Edited by Maud Karpeles. London: Oxford University Press, 1974.

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    Contains 1,165 song variants collected between 1903 and 1923 by the father of the English folk song revival. Volumes contain about half of Sharp’s total collection and comparatively little analysis from the editor.

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  • Shuldham-Shaw, Patrick N., and Emily B. Lyle, eds. The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection. 8 vols. Aberdeen, UK: Aberdeen University Press, 1981–2002.

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    A collection of more than 2,000 Scottish folk songs with variations, compiled by Gavin Greig and James Bruce Duncan between 1902 and 1917, though never published. Volumes contain field notes and commentary from Greig and Duncan.

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Processes of Nationalization

Past generations of scholars did not much interrogate the process by which a piece of music gives voice to nationality. It tended to be taken for granted as a naturally automatic effect, as a mysterious, inexplicable process, or the simple outcome of using folk idioms played by the peasants of one’s country. While the nationalist implications of incorporating folk songs into high art is no longer considered a simple expression of national identity, the use of folk idioms remains a central field in the scholarship on musical nationalism. New spheres of nationalism have also emerged, which reflect an understanding of nationality as a cultural construct. Through print culture, the creation of a shared history, and national spectacles, music also participates in nation building.

Folk Music

Much of the recent scholarship on folk music has aimed to deconstruct the category of “folk music” and then reconceptualize it in such a way as to make it useful without denying its constructedness. In some sense this is the history of nationalism theory itself. Older works such as Wiora 1957 consider naturalized folk music as a fixed category that has existed from time immemorial. Bohlman 1988 wants to expand folk music to mean any ethnically marked music, challenging the traditional definition of folk music as pure inheritance from rural, oral tradition. In many ways Ling 1997 actually reaffirms this traditional definition by bracketing urban folklorist music as something separate from authentic folk music. Gelbart 2007 attempts to locate the discursive origins of folk music within a process of social stratification. Another older but often referenced book is Finkelstein 1960, which looks at the growing use of folk idioms in art music as evidence of the growing class consciousness and political power of the commoner.

  • Bohlman, Philip V. The Study of Folk Music in the Modern World. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1988.

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    An assessment of the state of the discipline, seeking to theorize it and expand it beyond Europe. Sees folk music as a way of affirming, dissolving, and merging ethnic identities. Defines folk music as an expression of a community’s particularity and differentiation from other social entities, national or otherwise. Says folk music canons are created to authenticate communities.

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  • Finkelstein, Sidney. Composer and Nation: The Folk Heritage of Music. New York: International Publishers, 1960.

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    Considers the role of national and ethnic background, as well as national folk traditions, in influencing compositional style. Looks not only at the “conscious nationalists” of the late 19th and early 20th centuries but also at the whole Western cannon. Associates folk music with radical leftist politics. Considers all music to originate in the social consciousness of folk.

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  • Gelbart, Matthew. The Invention of “Folk Music” and “Art Music”: Emerging Categories from Ossian to Wagner. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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    Historicizes and problematizes the folk/art music dichotomy, showing it to have emerged from 18th-century categories of national and cultivated. Enlightenment thinkers redefined music based on origin rather than function. Folk music as the first music of “national” origin.

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  • Ling, Jan. A History of European Folk Music. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 1997.

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    Useful survey of the collection, social contexts, revivals, forms, instruments, and venues of folk music. Explores the concept and definition of folk music, which he divides into urban folklorist music and folk music as a tradition that is rural, generational, and oral.

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  • Wiora, Walter. Europäische Volksmusik und abendländische Tonkunst. Kassel, Germany: J. P. Hinnenthal, 1957.

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    Explores the relationship of folk and art music from antiquity to the present. Considers there to be much interaction between the two strata but considers them real and fixed categories.

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Aesthetic Discourse

While folk songs and German lieder had already been given a national veneer in the late 18th century, it was not until Beethoven that larger, more elite genres (namely the symphony) attained national significance. Pederson 1994, Bonds 2006, and Gramit 2002 each argue that the Beethovenian symphonic style was appropriated by journalists and aestheticians looking to cultivate a native style superior to the French and Italians. Although the German tradition (symphonic and harmonic) marketed itself as universal music (good art music as such), it retained a shadow meaning expressing German qualities, as well as the unity and cultural superiority of the German nation. For Pederson 1994 the central moment in Beethoven’s translation into a national icon was the journalism of A. B. Mark in the 1820s, while for Bonds 2006 Beethoven simply fulfilled a desire already expressed in the 1790s by the philosophy of German Idealism. Looking at the turn of the 20th century, Painter 2007 and Fulcher 1999 assert that aesthetic discourse still carries the most weight in giving meaning to music. In fact both authors are quite adamant that the content of the music matters very little and that a composer’s ability to represent the national depends entirely on what is said about that composer.

  • Bonds, Mark Evan. Music as Thought: Listening to the Symphony in the Age of Beethoven. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006.

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    Argues that German philosophical idealism created the aesthetics of the Beethovenian symphonic tradition prior to Beethoven’s composition of his symphonies. Later chapters examine the relationship between the German symphonic tradition and the cultivation of national qualities.

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  • Fulcher, Jane. French Cultural Politics and Music: From the Dreyfus Affair to the First World War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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    Asserts that the scandal of the Dreyfus Affair resulted in the transformation of musical culture into a political sounding board. Music became an argumentative tool that could be wielded to support increasingly nationalist positions.

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  • Gramit, David. Cultivating Music: The Aspirations, Interest, and Limits of German Musical Culture, 1770–1848. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.

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    Second chapter looks at how German scholars defined German musical traditions as educational, enriching, and utopian, and non-German styles as lacking cultivation. Good introduction to figures and institutions of German scholarship in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

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  • Painter, Karen. Symphonic Aspirations: German Music and Politics, 1900–1945. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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    Documents the nationalist appropriation of Bruckner. Argues that aesthetic discourse rather than authorial intent or the formal music itself was the key agent in the politicization of music.

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  • Pederson, Sanna. “A. B. Marx, Berlin Concert Life, and German National Identity.” 19th-Century Music 18.2 (Autumn 1994): 87–107.

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    Highlights the role of the critic A. B. Marx in Germanifying absolute music. In the 1820s Marx promoted Beethoven as the quintessential German national composer in the midst of a Rossini craze.

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Musical Historicism

Creating a nation, and a nationalist musical tradition, always involves creating a past for that nation. Another new avenue of research is the creation of national canons, foundation stories, and proscriptions for perpetuating a tradition. Applegate 2005 documents the slow, uneven process by which Bach became the father of German music and contemporaries positioned themselves as descendents. An early part of the Bach revival was the Forkel 1970 biography, which identified the German traits of Bach’s personality and music, which are often linked in nationalist discourses. In the French musical scene this invention of a national past occurred at a later date as argued in Ellis 2005, who shows dynamics and debates involved in negotiating a musical past. For French Classicists, non-French music could still be part of the national past and mobilized for nationalist causes.

  • Applegate, Celia. Bach in Berlin: Nation and Culture in Mendelssohn’s Revival of the St. Matthew Passion. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005.

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    An engaging account of how Felix Mendelssohn and others popularized Bach as the fountainhead of a distinct musical Germanness, which could cultivate and unify an educated citizenry.

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  • Ellis, Katherine. Interpreting the Musical Past: Early Music in Nineteenth-Century France. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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    French musical culture was especially historicist, performing works in chronological order and as exemplars of their period. Such historicism in the late 19th century led to the revival of classics from Palestrina to Bach, as a cosmopolitan canon that was nonetheless revived to support French nationalist identity.

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  • Forkel, Johann Nikolaus. Johann Sebastian Bach: His Life, Art, and Work. Translated by Charles Sandford Terry. New York: DaCapo, 1970.

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    First biography of Bach. First published in 1802. Emphasizes the seriousness and intellectuality of Bach, whom the author puts forward as the peak of German composition (and an implied model for the future).

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Festivals

Festival culture is much older than nationalism, but in the 19th century it became a key site for the enactment and celebration of culture. Whether through amateur music making or the very act of pilgrimage, festivals have a participatory element and provide an assemblage of persons representing the nation. Porter 1980 discusses a regional festival in which the German bourgeois stamped its mark on musical culture, where only German composers performed. The Bayreuth festival was Wagner’s attempt to give the German nation its (his) music. Spotts 1994 provides the best introduction to the long history of Bayreuth, while Schüler 1971 remains the most in-depth analysis of the Bayreuth ideology after Wagner’s death. As a parallel to Bayreuth in Germany, the Salzburg festival served as purveyor of a distinct Austrianness following the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire, as demonstrated in Steinberg 1990.

  • Porter, Cecelia Hopkins. “The New Public and the Reordering of the Musical Establishment: The Lower Rhine Music Festivals, 1818–67.” 19th-Century Music 3.3 (March 1980): 211–224.

    DOI: 10.1525/ncm.1980.3.3.02a00030Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Shows that throughout its history, from small amateur gathering to professional institution, the Lower Rhine Music Festivals always gave voice to nationalistic impulses. Includes tables showing by year the number of performers and the most-performed composers.

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  • Schüler, Winfried. Der bayreuther Kreis von seiner Entstehung bis zum Ausgang der wilhelminischen Ära: Wagnerkult und Kulturreform im Geiste völkischer Weltanschauung. Münster, Germany: Verlag Aschendorff, 1971.

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    The most thorough history of the Bayreuth circle. Lengthy analysis of the circle’s distinct vision of cultural and national reform through Wagner’s art. In German, but the book is widely accessible.

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  • Spotts, Frederic. Bayreuth: A History of the Wagner Festival. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994.

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    Key English language history of the Bayreuth Festival from its founding in 1876 to the late 20th century. Numerous illustrations of various stagings of Wagner’s works. Both as a theatrical institution and family saga, Bayreuth always strove to represent the nation.

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  • Steinberg, Michael P. The Meaning of the Salzburg Festival: Austria as Theater and Ideology, 1890–1938. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990.

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    An intellectual history of the Salzburg Festival. Shows how the festival and its founders participated in the invention of an Austrian national culture, characterized by national cosmopolitanism and the Catholic Baroque.

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National Music

Most of the scholarship on nationalism in music explores identity within a single national context. Arguably German and Russian music have developed the most extensive historiographies because they were the first major traditions to develop nationalist rhetoric (see Germany and Russia, respectively). Following the example of Russian nationalists, in each subsequent music nationalism defined itself precisely by its opposition to the German tradition. Whereas the German and Russian compositional traditions were from the start intertwined in the creation of a national culture, the long-standing musical cultures of France and Italy only became gradually nationalized during the 19th century, largely within opera. Following these four major traditions, other nations developed nationalist rhetoric, styles, and schools of art music. The first nationalist schools to gain international notoriety were Bohemia and Norway in the late 19th century. Within the first few decades of the 20th century, many other nations cultivated significant nationalized art music, including Spain, Hungary, Finland, England, Poland, and the United States. Similarly, Zionists promoted Jewish national music, both before and after the establishment of the state of Israel (see Israel and Jewish Music).

Germany

Recently scholars have been very interested in revising standard interpretations of German music and nationalism. In general, scholars argue that the German symphonic tradition was more nationalist than previous thought, while music in the Nazi era less so, or at least less beholden to Nazi ideology.

Austro-German Traditions

The Lied is generally understood as a genre indigenous to German culture and central to German nationalism. Porter 1996 provides an example of the Lied being put in the service of solidifying the German nation and claims to the Rhine. Applegate 2005 and Applegate and Potter 2002 historicizes the German national claim to be a musical people and provide the best general introduction to the topic of German nationalism and music, covering everything from amateurism to the symphonic tradition. On the subject of Beethoven himself, Dennis 1996 provides a useful overview of the composer’s political uses in German history, while Buch 2003 analytically explores the paradoxes of Beethoven’s nationalism and universalism, given his political appeal beyond Germany. Beller-McKenna 2004 brings Brahms into the sphere of nationalist composers, though mainly in terms of personality and not necessarily in his symphonies. While the nationalism of Wagner and his works have scarcely been denied, Vazsonyi 2010 provides a thoughtful account of the inner workings of this strong self-identification. Finally, Frisch 2005 identifies the first wave of German modernist composers as being marked by German qualities of nostalgia.

  • Applegate, Celia, and Pamela Potter, eds. Music and German National Identity. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2002.

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    Investigates historicity of claim that Germans are a musical people. Sees parallels in development of German nationalism and German musical style, without reducing one to the other. From the 18th through the 20th centuries, the ever-changing relationship between German and other music provided staying power for the nationalization of music and importance of music in nation building.

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  • Applegate, Celia. Bach in Berlin: Nation and Culture in Mendelssohn’s Revival of the St. Matthew Passion. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005.

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    Provides the best introduction to the history of how Germany became a “musical nation,” while telling the story of Mendelssohn’s revival of the St. Matthew’s Passion by Bach. Each chapter clearly explicates the different threads of this process: scholarly aesthetics, the new musical journalism, musical amateurism, and the secularization of sacred musical gatherings.

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  • Beller-McKenna, Daniel. Brahms and the German Spirit. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.

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    Argues that Brahms and his music display a linguistic, Protestant, and Bismarckian nationalism. Brahms in his state-oriented nationalism tried to differentiate himself from Wagnerian folkish nationalism.

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  • Buch, Esteban. Beethoven’s Ninth: A Political History. Translated by Richard Miller. Chicago: University Chicago Press, 2003.

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    Concise history of Beethoven’s politicization from the early 19th to late 20th centuries. Considers the paradox of Beethoven’s universality and nationalism, as well as the influence of Beethoven in both France and Germany, which involves engages questions of statehood, identity, and nation.

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  • Dennis, D. B. Beethoven in German Politics, 1870–1989. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996.

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    Provides numerous example of Beethoven’s political appropriation by Germans and German governments from Bismarck to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Little reflection on the significance of this ideological flexibility.

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  • Frisch, Walter. German Modernism: Music and the Arts. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.

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    Takes late Wagner to World War I as a coherent period of German music, marked by (among other things), an embrace of modern techniques with nostalgia for the past. Such an ambiguity is offered as a sign of Germanness and of the comparative nationalism of early German modernism.

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  • Porter, Cecelia Hopkins. The Rhine as Musical Metaphor: Cultural Identity in German Romantic Music. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1996.

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    Explores the rise of militantly national Rheinlieder (Rhine songs) composed in the 1840s following France’s interest in reclaiming the Rhine. Also covered is the role of compositional contests and the Lower Rhine music festivals in promoting these lieder and their Volkstümlichkeit (quaint, folksiness), a quality German nationalists identified with.

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  • Vazsonyi, Nicholas. Richard Wagner: Self-Promotion and the Making of a Brand. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511676321Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Shows that in Wagner’s life, as well as in the textual world of his art, he constantly marketed himself as something brand new, creating a kind of spectacle of consumption. In this Wagner’s identification as the supreme German artist was part and parcel of the commercialization of the music industry.

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Nazism

Meyer 1991 provides a general introduction to Nazi music policies and the various ways the regime harnessed music for propagandistic purposes; Prieberg 1982 and Levi 1994 are the best general introductions to the topic. Following Levi 1994, several of the more recent works on music and Nazism share an attempt to debunk the idea that life in National Socialist Germany was totalitarian and that the state had rigorous control over every aspect of life. Kater 1997 tries to avoid poles of collaboration and resistance in looking at the personal ambiguities of major musical figures in Nazi Germany, while Painter 2007 suggests that the government ultimately failed to develop a comprehensive music policy. Potter 1998 confirms that musical culture in Weimar and Nazi Germany was decidedly nationalistic but suggests that it was rarely avowedly Nazi.

  • Kater, Michael H. The Twisted Muse: Musicians and Their Music in the Third Reich. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

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    Discusses motivations and decisions of prominent German composers, conductors, and musicians, who took quite varied paths through the radical, but not totalizing, National Socialist cultural terrain. Little analysis of music itself.

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  • Levi, Erik. Music in the Third Reich. New York: St. Martin’s, 1994.

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    Addresses many aspects of musical life in Nazi Germany, including state policy, music criticism, the music industry, musicians, and composers. Argues for the general continuity of musical life from 1900 to 1945 and that the state was unable to impose its aesthetic and political vision.

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  • Meyer, Michael. The Politics of Music in the Third Reich. New York: P. Lang, 1991.

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    Analysis of Nazi music policy including the takeover of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein (All German Music Society), censorship of the press, use of choral societies, establishment of a Reichsmusikkammer (Imperial Music Board), exclusion of degenerate music, and establishment of a separate Jüdische Kulturbund (Jewish Cultural Union).

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  • Painter, Karen. Symphonic Aspirations: German Music and Politics, 1900–1945. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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    She argues the Nazis failed to fully politicize music, because they lacked extensive aesthetic commentary. Symphonic music remained somewhat autonomous and ambiguous without a detailed ideological program.

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  • Potter, Pamela M. Most German of the Arts: Musicology and Society from the Weimar Republic to the End of Hitler’s Reich. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998.

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    Documents the nationalistic enterprises of German musicologists. Argues that while few supported Nazi racial ideals, most did not have to compromise their research, anti-elitism, and populist undertakings in the Nazi era.

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  • Prieberg, Fred. Musik im NS-Staat. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1982.

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    Book that spearheaded a surge of interest in musical life in Nazi Germany. In German.

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Russia

Perhaps no one has done more to rethink and expand the notion of nationalism in music than Richard Taruskin, and he has done so primarily in the context of Russian music. Taruskin 1984 is an excellent essay in which to view the sea change in scholarship on nationalism in music, while Taruskin 1997 is his developed and widely cited masterpiece on Russian music and nationalism, which interweaves textual analysis, the dynamics of musical life, and historical context. Prior to Taruskin, Gerald Abraham was the most voluminous and influential English-language writer on Russian music. Abraham 1939 is an elegant, though now criticized, depiction of the peculiarities of Russian music. Even more strongly than Taruskin, Frolova-Walker 2008 tries to dispel the older notions of Russian exoticness and show Russian music’s continuity with Western traditions.

  • Abraham, Gerald. On Russian Music: Critical and Historical Studies. London: W. Reeves, 1939.

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    Thirty-one short chapters designed to introduce Western audiences to the peculiarities of Russian music, which is characterized as mad, non-organic, and carefree. Argues that Life for the Tsar was not the first Russian opera. Considers the psychological turmoil of composers.

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  • Frolova-Walker, Marina. Russian Music and Nationalism: From Glinka to Stalin. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.

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    Explores the role of myths in creating a fissure between Western and Russian music, especially those about origins or the founding fathers of Russian nationalism. Highlights Western sources and lack of distancing intent of Russian composers.

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  • Taruskin, Richard. “Some Thoughts on the History and Historiography of Russian Music.” Journal of Musicology 3.4 (Autumn 1984): 321–339.

    DOI: 10.1525/jm.1984.3.4.03a00010Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Assesses the state of scholarship on Russian music and proposes research directives. Argues that scholars habitually refer to the Russianness of Russian music without critically investigating the relationship between music and nation.

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  • Taruskin, Richard. Defining Russia Musically: Historical and Hermeneutical Essays. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997.

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    A series of essays that highlights the role of music in the process of nation building. Considers universalism and the ability to incorporate all national styles the key components Russian cultural identity. Provides a polemical, but thorough, introduction to the nationalism of the Russian tradition.

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Italy

Opera is Italy’s most distinct and revered musical tradition but did not become a source for nationalist identification until the 19th century (and even then, not as overtly as in Germany and Russia). While the essay by Italian nationalist Giuseppe Mazzini reads much like Wagner (see Sciannameo 2004 and Seay 1973), the Italian opera composers did not come out and say they were following Mazzini’s nationalist agenda. However, as Gossett 1990 and Parakilas 1992 read Verdi’s choruses, Verdi’s music gives voice to the nation as a homogeneous entity. Much of the scholarship on Italian musical nationalism revolves around Verdi’s intent, as he was certainly appropriated by the Risorgimento, though personally somewhat ambiguous about his support. Rosselli 1991 is a good English-language survey of the topic and ultimately argues decidedly against Verdi’s nationalist intentions. On the ambiguous nationalism of later opera composers Leoncavallo and Puccini, see Guiot, et al. 1998 and Wilson 2007, which refreshingly analyzes Puccini and shows how his operas were caught up in nationalist debates. On music in fascist Italy see Nicolodi 1984 and Illiano 2004.

  • Gossett, Philip. “Becoming a Citizen: The Chorus in ‘Risorgimento’ Opera.” Cambridge Opera Journal 2.1 (March 1990): 41–64.

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    Shows how Italian operatic choruses slowly gained homogeneous character and dramatic agency, beginning even with Rossini. Shows how Verdi’s choruses variously articulate desires for national and social unity.

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  • Guiot, Lorenza, Jürgen Maehder, and Evan Baker, eds. Nazionalismo e Cosmopolitismo nell’opera fra ‘800 e ‘900: Atti del 3. Convegno internazionale “Ruggero Leoncavallo nel suo tempo.” Milano: Sonzogno, 1998.

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    Proceedings from an international conference in Locarno on Ruggero Leoncavallo. Contains fourteen essays in Italian, French, German, and English.

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  • Illiano, Roberto, ed. Italian Music During the Fascist Period. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2004.

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    This edited volume of twenty-three essays (many of them long) provides the most thorough and updated scholarship on all facets of art music in fascist Italy. Essays in English, Italian, Spanish, and German.

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  • Nicolodi, Fiamma. Musica e Musicisti nel Ventennio Fascista. Florence: Discanto, 1984.

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    Looks at the personal involvement and correspondence of composers and musicians in the fascist regime. Unlike Nazi Germany, Italy at times encouraged contemporary and even modernist compositions. Contains more than three hundred primary-source documents in the appendix. In Italian.

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  • Parakilas, James. “Political Representation and the Chorus in Nineteenth-Century Opera.” 19th-Century Music 16.2 (Autumn 1992): 181–202.

    DOI: 10.1525/ncm.1992.16.2.02a00070Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Nineteenth-century opera choruses (notably Verdi’s) are unique in functioning as an autonomous and homogeneous group with dramatic agency. Shows the unique and revolutionary capacity of the operatic genre to voice political and nationalist aspirations.

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  • Rosselli, John. Music & Musicians in Nineteenth Century Italy. Portland, OR: Amadeus, 1991.

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    Very readable introduction to the history of Italian operatic life. Argues for a non-revolutionary Verdi. No musical analysis.

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  • Sciannameo, Franco. Giuseppe Mazzini’s Philosophy of Music (1836): Envisioning a Social Opera. Translated by Emilie Ashurst Venturi. Lewiston, NY: E. Mellen, 2004.

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    Most recent reproduction of Mazzini’s classic essay with annotations by the editor. Venturi’s English language translation is from 1867. Mazzini criticizes the commercialized state of music and proposes Italy take the lead in crafting a moralistic and materialistic music of integrated individuality.

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  • Seay, Albert. “Giuseppe Mazzini’s Filosofia Della Musica.” Notes 30.1 (September 1973): 24–36.

    DOI: 10.2307/896021Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A polemical introduction to Mazzini’s essay. The author suggests how Mazzini’s ideas clarify the intentions of Italian composers and the significance of Italian Opera’s opposition to the Germanic tradition.

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  • Wilson, Alexandra. The Puccini Problem: Opera, Nationalism and Modernity. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

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    A very accessible introduction to Puccini and his social context. Shows how his operas and their harsh critical reception gave voice to anxieties about national decline. Primarily a reception history with almost no analysis of the operas.

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France

Much as with Italy, nationalism entered only gradually into French musical culture. Kelly 2008 offers the most thorough introduction to nationalism in French musical culture. The fact that Kelly’s volume begins only with the Third Republic suggests how comparatively late nationalism arrived to French music. Fulcher 1987 shows how grand opera touched on sensitive issues of mass politics. According to Ellis 2005, ardent nationalism showed up in French culture as a reaction to the New German School, which had Germanized progressive harmonies. The most thorough analysis of French national identification in opera is Huebner 1999, which shows fin de siècle French opera’s ambiguous and anxious relationship with Wagner. The most detailed accounts of music in the Third Republic are Pasler 2009, Fulcher 1999, and Fulcher 1987. Whereas Pasler 2009 suggests that music, especially at the popular level, unified the nation, Fulcher 1999 demonstrates the contested variety of nationalisms in French music during the fin de siècle. Fulcher 2005 extends the author’s analysis of French music life to the end of the Third Republic, arguing for the increasing alignment of musical modernism and the political left.

  • Ellis, Katherine. Interpreting the Musical Past: Early Music in Nineteenth-Century France. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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    In the 19th century, especially following the compositional radicality of the New German School, French musical culture became the defender of “early” music, mostly 17th- and 18th-century music, though not necessarily “French” music. The Protestant composers Handel and Bach were championed by anticlerical republicans, while arch Catholics (as at the Schola Cantorum) touted Palestrina. Across the board, though, Frenchness was defined musically as clarity, balance, delicacy, and concision.

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  • Fulcher, Jane. The Nation’s Image: French Grand Opera as Politics and Politicized Art. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

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    Foundational text introducing institutional, biographical, musical, and political background of French grand opera. More analysis of politics than nationalism per se. An overabundance of detail and cumbersome language makes it a tough read.

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  • Fulcher, Jane. French Cultural Politics and Music: From the Dreyfus Affair to the First World War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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    Musical taste (like politics more generally) became more traditionalist and nationalist after the Dreyfus Affair. A key figure in this shift was Vincent D’Indy and his Schola Cantorum, which highlighted the religious roots of the 17th- and 18th-century French classics and criticized the imbalance, distorted melodies, and didacticism of impressionism, naturalism, and Jewish composers. Though there were other less anti-Semitic and less religious figures supporting the patriotic importance of French classicism.

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  • Fulcher, Jane F. The Composer as Intellectual: Music and Ideology in France, 1914–1940. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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    Aims to demonstrate the investment of French composers in politics. Among other things, shows the growing conjunction of the musical left and right under the rubric of nationalism in the wake of World War I. Argues that the music of Les Six sympathized with the politics of the popular front.

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  • Huebner, Steven. French Opera at the Fin de Siécle: Wagnerism, Nationalism, and Style. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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    Fin de siècle French composers wrestled with the Wagnerian operatic inheritance (leitmotifs, chromaticism, through-composition, authorial authority) while trying to define French musical identity. The degrees of incorporation and disavowal of Wagnerism did not necessarily reflect greater or lesser nationalism. Often composers tried to balance Wagnerian methods with “French” classicist clarity.

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  • Kelly, Barbara L., ed. French Music, Culture, and National Identity, 1870–1939. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2008.

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    Most thorough introduction to nationalism in French musical culture. Accessible and interdisciplinary exploration of both musical texts and the social contexts of the Third Republic, especially mass spectacles such as the World’s Fair.

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  • Pasler, Jann. Composing the Citizen: Music as Public Utility in Third Republic France. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.

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    Argues that following the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, music became integral to a public policy that aimed to educate and create nationally minded citizens. Considers both professional and amateur music making.

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Bohemia

While Tyrrell 1988 looks only at the operatic genre, it is a very informative analysis of Czech music and cultural institutions. It is a good starting place for researching the ambiguous relationship between folk and art music in the Czech context. Curtis 2008 provides an accessible introduction to Smetana’s quite successful efforts to build indigenous Czech musical institutions and styles. For a general introduction to Dvořák, who benefited from Smetana’s efforts, see the many perspectives of Beveridge 1996. Michael Beckerman has written widely about nationalism in Czech music, and sees a big difference between Smetana and Dvořák, the latter having a more ambiguous relationship with Czech nationalism. See Beckerman 1986, Beckerman 1993, and Beckerman 2003.

  • Beckerman, Michael. “In Search of Czechness in Music.” 19th-Century Music 10.1 (Summer 1986): 61–73.

    DOI: 10.1525/ncm.1986.10.1.02a00040Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Exploration of the history of historiography of Czechness in music. Argues for Smetana’s influence in creating a musical Czechness adopted by later composers. This Czechness had many markers, but perhaps most important was a composer’s self-identification as Czech. Best introduction to problematics of Czech nationalism in music.

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  • Beckerman, Michael. “The Master’s Little Joke: Antonin Dvořák and the Mask of Nation.” In Dvořák and His World. Edited by Michael Beckerman, 134–156. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993.

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    Makes a distinction between Dvořák’s personal intentions and his public reception. Argues that the composer was influenced by many styles, including those of marginalized peoples, but coming from Dvořák those styles were always interpreted as symbolizing Bohemia.

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  • Beckerman, Michael. New Worlds of Dvořák: Searching in America for the Composer’s Inner Life. New York: Norton, 2003.

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    Analysis of Dvořák’s American travels and musical sources. Downplays the Czechness and naiveté of the composer, arguing instead that he deftly marketed his music as transnational primitive innocence. Comes with a CD containing the music of Dvořák and his potential influences, including African American songs.

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  • Beveridge, David R., ed. Rethinking Dvořák: View from Five Countries. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

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    Twenty-five essays that investigate Dvorak’s music programmatic texts, biography, aesthetics, national context, and reception. Accessible introduction to Dvorak scholarship. Published papers from Dvorak Sesquicentennial Conference in 1991.

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  • Curtis, Benjamin. Music Makes the Nation: Nationalist Composers and Nation Building in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Amherst, NY: Cambria, 2008.

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    In addition to Wagner and Grieg, clearly explains Smetana’s attitude toward folk sources and nationalist vision.

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  • Tyrrell, John. Czech Opera. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

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    Provides detailed information on numerous Czech operas. Places operas in their social and political context. Demonstrates the influence of folk music rather than specific folk tunes on Smetana, Dvořák, Janáček, and other composers.

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Norway

Like Béla Bartók in Hungary, Edvard Grieg has come to stand for Norwegian music. Grimley 2006 is the best English language introduction to Grieg and the issues of Norwegian musical folklorism and nationalism, while Benestad and Schjelderup-Ebbe 1993 offers a more limited case study of Grieg’s chamber music. In both cases the authors argue for the universal aesthetic quality of his music without erasing its nationalist implications.

  • Benestad, Finn, and Dag Schjelderup-Ebbe. Edvard Grieg, Chamber Music: Nationalism, Universality, Individuality. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

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    Grieg successfully migrated the miniature folk idioms into sonata form and longer chamber pieces, notably the violin sonatas and string quartets. Argues against depictions of Grieg as a salon musician.

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  • Grimley, Daniel M. Grieg: Music, Landscape and Norwegian Identity. Rochester, NY: Boydell, 2006.

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    Interweaves formal musicological analysis and critical contextualization. Argues that landscape provides a sense (not just picture) of being a specific place.

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Spain

Much as in Italy and France, Spain’s centuries-old opera and operetta traditions (zarzuela) served as a starting point for the nationalization of music. Kertesz and Christoforidis 2008 illustrates how measures of musical Spanishness in the late 19th century were both tied to zarzuela and expanding beyond it. In their accounts of Isaac Albéniz and Manuel de Falla, both Clark 1999 and Hess 2001 demonstrate how each notable Spanish composer broke with zarzuela and ambiguously embraced (different) international trends in developing a new articulation of musical Spanishness.

  • Clark, Walter Aaron. Isaac Albéniz: Portrait of a Romantic. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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    Revisionist, primary-source driven biography of Spain’s first significant nationalist composer. Shows how Albéniz’s rejection of Spanish operetta tradition and embrace of Wagnerism allowed him to simultaneously expand and idealize notions of Spanish music. Handles well the tension between Albéniz’s cosmopolitanism (personal and musical) and significance as a purveyor of musical Spanishness.

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  • Hess, Carol A. Manuel de Falla and Modernism in Spain, 1898–1936. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.

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    Not only a biography of de Falla, but the best English language introduction to Spanish musical life in the early 20th century, which the author places within a context of a national identity crisis. Focuses particularly on the ambiguities of Franco-Spanish musical relations.

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  • Kertesz, Elizabeth, and Michael Christoforidis. “Confronting ‘Carmen’ beyond the Pyrenees: Bizet’s Opera in Madrid, 1887–1888.” Cambridge Opera Journal 20.1 (March 2008): 79–110.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0954586708002413Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discusses Spanish adaptation and reception of Bizet’s opera Carmen. Pays special attention to discourses of nationalism and Hispanic identity in opera and operetta traditions.

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Hungary

In terms of Hungarian music, Béla Bartók is far and away the most important figure, with a heavy hand in both folk and art music. Frigyesi 1998 is certainly the best English language introduction to Bartók and his entire cultural milieu. She analyzes the national reasons for Bartok’s and Hungary’s fascination with creating a unified image of multiplicity. Both Ota 2006 and Schneider 2006 argue for the continuity between Bartók’s modernist endeavors and 19th-century traditions of nationalism. Whereas Ota 2006 considers Bartók’s rhetoric about the “spirit” of folk music, Schneider offers musical analysis as evidence of the composer’s stylistic roots in 19th-century Hungarian art music.

  • Frigyesi, Judit. Bela Bartok and Turn-of-the-Century Budapest. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

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    This is not only the best book on Bartók’s dynamic relationship with his Hungarian and European milieux but also clearly articulates the unique nationalist project of the composer and his fellow Hungarians. Argues that Bartók tried to give an authentic voice to the nation by integrating folk and art music, without necessarily eliding serious difference and creating a seamless whole. For Frigyesi Hungarian national identity was admittedly fragmentary.

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  • Ota, Mineo. “Why Is the ‘Spirit” of Folk Music so Important? On the History Background of Béla Bartók’s Views of Folk Music.” International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music 37.1 (June 2006): 33–46.

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    Article looks at the compatibility of Bartók the nationalist and Bartók the modernist. Considers Bartok’s ideas on how composers should adopt the spirit of folk music. Not a musical analysis.

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  • Schneider, David E. Bartók, Hungary, and the Renewal of Tradition: Case Studies in the Intersection of Modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

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    Shows Bartók’s indebtedness, not only to folk music, but to the art music traditions of Hungary and Europe. Argues for the continuities between Bartók’s modernism and 19th-century traditions of musical nationalism.

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Finland

Lyle 1927 is a useful introduction to Sibelius and a good example of older Sibelius studies, and older studies of musical nationalism in general, which identify nationalism in both vague rhetoric of spirit and musicological studies of folk music inspiration. Jackson and Murtomäki 2001 is a contemporary revision of such positions, which offers more nuanced and varied analyses of nationalism in Sibelius. Methodologically, Gorog 1989 lands somewhere between the first two entries but also introduces English readers to other Finnish composers with detailed musical exegesis.

  • Gorog, Lisa de. From Sibelius to Sallinen: Finnish Nationalism and the Music of Finland. New York: Greenwood, 1989.

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    Analyzes Finnish composers (though largely Sibelius) for uniquely Finnish music elements, primarily those rune singing traditions as collected in folklore collections like the Kalevala.

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  • Jackson, Timothy L., and Veijo Murtomäki, eds. Sibelius Studies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

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    A culmination of the recent Sibelius renaissance, this collection provides a useful introduction to Sibelius and Sibelius scholarship with both accessible and highly technical essays. A major theme is Sibelius’s dialogue between modern and premodern, subversion, and classicism.

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  • Lyle, Watson. “The ‘Nationalism’ of Sibelius.” Musical Quarterly 13.4 (October 1927): 617–629.

    DOI: 10.1093/mq/XIII.4.617Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Argues that Sibelius’s music is often rhythmically Finnish, but harmonically German. Locates the composer’s nationalism in his patriotic spirit, as well as his use of folk songs, dance rhythms, and the Kalevala, the preeminent Finnish epic.

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England

In the 20th-century England finally rid itself of the stereotype that it was a nation without its own music. Howes 1966 is a good introduction to this dilemma and narrative. Howes’s emphasis on folk music tends to downplay the nationalism of Edward Elgar, which other recent studies remedy. Both Crump 1986 and Thomson 2005 explain how, despite a definite influence from the German symphonic tradition, Elgar could become an icon of Englishness. In terms of Ralph Vaughan Williams, both Frogley 1996 and Onderdonk 1999 reexamine the complicated process by which the composer appropriated folk songs and thereby became the musical voice of the nation.

  • Crump, J. “The Identity of English Music: The Reception of Elgar 1898–1935.” In Englishness: Politics and Culture, 1880–1920. Edited by Robert Colls and Philip Dodd, 164–190. London: Croom Helm, 1986.

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    A short study of Elgar reception, from Germanic imitator to national symbol during World War I. Elgar heard to depict southern countryside and imperial pride, despite a lack of folk idioms.

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  • Frogley, Alain, ed. Vaughan Williams Studies. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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    Rich essays readdress the question of national style and nationalism in Vaughan Williams in light of recent theories of national identity.

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  • Howes, Frank. The English Musical Renaissance. New York: Stein and Day, 1966.

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    A comprehensive and lucid survey of England’s development of a national tradition of art music composition. Locates the origin of a musical renaissance in a faith in English folk songs.

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  • Onderdonk, Julian. “Vaughan Williams and the Modes.” Folk Music Journal 7.5 (1999): 609–626.

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    Demonstrates how Vaughan Williams and other folklorists misrepresented the folk repertoire by selectively publishing unusual modal tunes.

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  • Thomson, Aidan J. “Elgar and Chivalry.” 19th-Century Music 28.3 (Spring 2005): 254–275.

    DOI: 10.1525/ncm.2005.28.3.254Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Addresses Elgar’s negotiation of English nationalism and German style through the concept of regenerative chivalry. Although Elgar’s conservative musical style often functioned as a nationalist antipode to Germany and Wagner’s progressivism, Elgar was still influenced by Wagner.

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Poland

For a general introduction to nationalism in Polish music see Trochimczyk 2000. For an account of the Polish Renaissance of the 20th century the best place to begin is Thomas 2005. In terms of Chopin, scholars are still of several minds about his ambiguous relationship with Poland. Milewski 1999 deconstructs myths about the folksiness of Chopin’s Mazurkas, while Goldberg 2008 affirms, if not his nationalism, at least the influence of Warsaw life on Chopin’s identity and music.

United States

As with Finnish, English, Polish, and Jewish art music, the United States did not concretely develop its own nationalized art music until the 20th century. Bomberger 2002 provides a multifaceted introduction to the growing nationalist aspirations for art music in the United States at the end of the 19th century. Levy 1983 and Tischler 1986 both offer accounts of this identity quest and both ultimately conclude, though with varying emphasis on French and folk models, that it was the general thrust of 1920s modernism that offered an opportunity to fulfill that quest. In terms of defining American qualities musically, Crawford 1993 concludes that it is a sense of utility, while Garrett 2008 argues that American musical identity was the nonunified product of competing visions and styles. Pollack 1999 provides a good analysis of Copland as an icon of American music.

  • Bomberger, Douglas E. “A Tidal Wave of Encouragement”: American Composers’ Concerts in the Gilded Age. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002.

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    Explores American musical culture at the end of the 19th century, especially the surge of interest by composers, critics, and audience for developing distinctly American art music. Focuses more on institutions (such as the Musical Teachers National Association) than on concepts of nationalism.

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  • Crawford, Richard. The American Musical Landscape. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

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    Sees the defining feature of American music to be its utility. A social and economic history of musical culture, with emphasis on popular music rather than art music.

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  • Garrett, Charles Hiroshi. Struggling to Define a Nation: American Music and the Twentieth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.

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    Highlights the multiplicity of genres and styles deployed in articulation of American identity through music. Argues that no single notion of American music predominated. Analyzes popular and art music, including Hawaiian and Chinese music.

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  • Levy, Alan Howard. Musical Nationalism: American Composers’ Search for Identity. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1983.

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    Argues that the quest for national identity involved a long shift from German to French models and came to fruition in Paris. American composers did not find a national identity until the 1930s, but given the diverse musical heritages, that identity was not homogeneous. Useful essay on sources.

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  • Pollack, Howard. Aaron Copland: The Life and Work of an Uncommon Man. New York: Henry Holt, 1999.

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    Explores the degree of Americanness in Copland’s oeuvre. Excellent introduction to the composer’s relationship with his social context.

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  • Tischler, Barbara L. An American Music: The Search for an American Musical Identity. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

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    Argues that 1920s American composers incorporated folk idioms, not for reasons of nationalism but for modernist experimentation and progress. As a published dissertation it remains somewhat inaccessible.

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Jewish Music

Bohlman 2008 is an accessible introduction to Jewish music from the Enlightenment to the present. Wagner’s essay “Judaism in Music” (Wagner 1995) is a cornerstone text, not only in the history of German nationalism but also for the concept of Jewishness in music. Until recently, most scholars have been content to separate Wagner’s personal anti-Semitism from any anti-Semitism in his art. Levin 1996 is the most concise and well-argued effort at demonstrating how Wagner’s music dramas themselves articulate anti-Semitism and an exclusivist nationalism. For art music in the 20th century, Schiller 2003 and Móricz 2008 provide analyses of the personal struggles of Saminsky, Bloch, Schoenberg, and Bernstein; both of these works show that the composers had radically different ideas about Jewish identity and Jewishness in music.

  • Bohlman, Philip. Jewish Music and Modernity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178326.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Considers folk, popular, and art genres. Argues that Jewish music became a distinct entity through the European nation-building process.

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  • Levin, David J. “Reading Beckmesser Reading: Antisemitism and Aesthetic Practice in The Mastersingers of Nuremberg.” New German Critique 69 (Autumn 1996): 127–146.

    DOI: 10.2307/488611Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Most cogent analysis of the structural anti-Semitism in Wagner’s works. Looks at Beckmesser (and his attempt to read rather than intuit) in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg as the “bad object” that enables social integration.

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  • Móricz, Klára. Jewish Identities: Nationalism, Racism, and Utopianism in Twentieth-Century Music. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.

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    Argues that 20th-century Jewish composers (Saminsky, Bloch, Schoenberg) each wrestled with musical purity. Saminsky embraced stereotype of Jews as oriental and modeled “Jewish music” on Russian (and not other eastern European) nationalist styles. Bloch considered himself the only great composer of Jewish music, defined as restless and homeless. Schoenberg did not aim to write Jewish music per se, but music that was pure, individualistic, and strong like the Jewish state he envisioned.

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  • Schiller, David M. Bloch, Schoenberg & Bernstein: Assimilating Jewish Music. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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    Looks at attempts by composers to fit Jewish content into ostensibly non-Jewish musical forms. Considers the music within the biographical context of its composers. Concludes that they differently interpreted what Jewishness meant and how it was musically articulated: Racial, modern, postmodern/disjointed.

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  • Wagner, Richard. Judaism in Music and Other Essays. Translated by William Ashton Ellis. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995.

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    Wagner’s incendiary essay asserting that Jews can neither compose nor understand music that truly articulates the spirit of the (German) folk. Published anonymously in 1850 and then openly in 1869. Established a discourse that circulated the idea of Jewish musical superficiality.

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LAST MODIFIED: 06/29/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199757824-0056

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