Chapter

Prophecies and Alarms

Glenn Watkins

in Proof through the Night

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2002 | ISBN: 9780520231580
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927896 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520231580.003.0024
Prophecies and Alarms

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Following discharge from the army early in 1919 and a period of economic collapse and political crisis in Germany, Paul Hindemith flirted with the alternatives in a trio of operas. One of them, Das Nusch-Nuschi, mixed the traditions of Burmese marionette theater with Expressionism as a means of wrestling with the questions of the Great War. Then, in the first of a series of works labeled Kammermusik (1921) Hindemith lampooned the very category of chamber music and the audience alike. Hindemith's Mathis der Maler makes direct reference to one of Germany's greatest national treasures: Matthias Grünewald's altarpiece for the Antonite monastery at Isenheim in southern Alsace. The cultural contest between Germany and France was nowhere more clearly epitomized than in the claims to Grünewald's masterpiece. This chapter also discusses Otto Dix's War Triptych and George Gershwin's Strike Up the Band!.

Keywords: Great War; Paul Hindemith; operas; Expressionism; chamber music; Matthias Grünewald; France; Germany; Otto Dix; George Gershwin

Chapter.  4278 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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