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Proof through the NightMusic and the Great War$
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Glenn Watkins

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520231580

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520231580.001.0001

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Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business

(p.419) 24 Unfinished Business
Proof through the Night

Glenn Watkins

University of California Press

At the end of the Great War, the balance of political power in Europe had been altered but not settled. Even a decade later, in December1929, Albert Einstein indicated that he clearly understood the ongoing nature of this cultural impasse. In the world of music, there was a similar ambivalence and a great deal of unfinished business, too. Hans Joachim Moser, one of the most knowledgeable and astute German critics of the state of affairs in the world of music after World War 1, sounded a warning from the other side, saying that German Kultur had suffered a deadly blow from the forces of capitalism, technology, and, especially the Americanization of German musical life. The “retro” façade of European Neoclassicism was accompanied by the invigorating, forward-looking forces of mécanique and American jazz in a new and liberated post-war industrial world. In addition, with all the prewar “isms” (Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Primitivism) either abandoned or subjected to new tidying forces, American composers were placed in something of an advantageous position.

Keywords:   Great War, Europe, music, Hans Joachim Moser, Kultur, Neoclassicism, jazz, composers

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