Retrenchment versus A Survivor from Warsaw
The Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, or West Germany) figures prominently in most American musicological narratives of Western Europe during the Cold War, both because of its distinctive relationship with the United States and because of its unrivaled support for new music. That support included dedicated international events, most famously Darmstadt's Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik (IFNM), working in tandem with radio stations to commission, record, disseminate, and promote new repertoire. Schoenberg was the centerpiece of those early efforts. Less well documented in American musicology is the fact that this agenda also met with considerable resistance. The subject of this chapter is the West German resistance to A Survivor. This chapter treats the piece's West German premiere, which took place under Hermann Scherchen at Darmstadt on August 20, 1950, as well as a 1956 incident in which the music critic and former Nazi Hans Schnoor was involved in a scandal, culminating in a series of lawsuits involving Fred Prieberg over his use of “the language of National Socialist journalism” to describe Schoenberg and A Survivor. The scandal was big news—Walter Dirks made sure the story received broad coverage in the general press, and Heinrich Strobel covered it in Melos.
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