Friday, December 5, 2008

19th Century

Jewish composers in the 19th Century for the most part fit in. Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer, Offenbach, Halevy, Anton Rubinstein, Saint-Saens, and Gernsheim wrote delightful music but it is a stretch to try to view it as having elements which are distinctively Jewish. However these composers created the basis for what was to come in the 20th Century. Some of them were very important in the development of the musical traditions of the countries they lived in. For example Rubinstein taught Tchaikowsky and founded the St. Petersburg Conservatory.

6 comments:

David said...

It is a stretch to call Felix Mendelssohn a Jewish composer. Although his grandfather Moses was a distinguished philosopher of modern Judaism, his parents converted to Christianity and Felix and his sibs were baptized as young children

David said...
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DaveBlogger said...

The paradox is that anti-semites viewed Mendelssohn as Jewish and his music became a model for subsequent views of Jewish music as clever and tuneful but lacking the strength and seriousness of Beethoven and Brahms.

There are other people of Jewish ancestry who became Christians or dropped the religion. That gets to the question of what is Jewish in the context of secular classical music.

DaveBlogger said...

In the context of secular music it is an interesting thing to think about.

How do we class Anton Rubinstein, Krenek, Schreker, Blacher, Eisler, and Wellesz? One idea is that if they had problems because they were viewed as Jewish that could be viewed as something that makes them part of the movement to the extent that there is such a thing as a Jewish tradition in secular music.

Scion said...

Mendelssohn was a Jew, and a Christian.

Don't confuse the religious term "Jewish" with the nationality/ethnicity - there are atheist Jews, agnostic Jews, Christianized Jews, and Jews that are Jewish (the majority.)

The 12 Disciples/Apostles and Saul/Paul were all Jews, and also (the first) Christians.

Hubert Zaneco said...

Camille Saint Saens was not Jew at all. He was not antisemitic even contributor to the defene of captain Alfred Dreyfus. Had also many jewish friends. He did not like Wagner at all.