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19.6.08

À mon chevet: The Rest Is Noise

Alex Ross, The Rest Is NoiseÀ mon chevet is a series of posts featuring a quote from whatever book is on my nightstand at the moment.

Strauss's behavior was not always as contemptible as it seemed. In the case of the Bruno Walter affair [replacing the conductor in Berlin], the outside world had no idea that Strauss accepted the agreement with reluctance, and only after a Jewish-owned concert agency, Wolff and Sachs, informed him -- truthfully or not -- that Walter himself had asked Strauss to step in. In general, Strauss refused to take part in the de-Jewification of musical life. He avoided signing papers that would have set in motion the removal of Jews from the Music Chamber. He resisted the ban on Jewish composers and announced that the symphonies of Mahler, among other things, should continue to be performed. Planning an international music festival in Hamburg in 1935, he became exasperated when the Propaganda Ministry demanded an "Aryan French" substitute for Paul Dukas's opera Ariane and Bluebeard. Strauss promptly declared his "total lack of interest in the Hamburg Festival from now on . . . I am not coming to Hamburg and, for the rest, Götz v. B." Götz von Berlichingen is the Goethe play whose hero famously says, "Lick my ass."

-- Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise (2007), "Death Fugue: Music in Hitler's Germany," p. 324
People on the east coast say they are going "to the beach," while back home we say, "We are going to the lake." Hope you are doing one or the other.

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