Klett-Cotta-Verlag Psychology

Musikalische Konstruktionen deutscher nationaler Identität?

Barbara Eichners Herausforderung

Juli 2018, 22. Jahrgang, Heft 87, pp 99-104

Musical Constructions of German National Identity? – Barbara Eichner’s book History in Mighty Sounds: Musical Constructions of German National Identity, 1848-1914 is a weighty contribution to the question of the relationship between »nationalism« (here the German variety) and works of music (primarily operas, but also choral and symphonic works). One particular difficulty is the fact that during said period, German was only an incipient nation – a »belated nation«, as Helmuth Plessner puts it – but also that it is not easy to make a clear distinction between »patriotism« and »nationalism« in comparison with countries like France and England, for example, but also – as discussed here – with a multicultural small state like Switzerland. Ideological positions appear in a far more easily comprehensible form in the texts set that in »sublime« music; intentions, contexts and their reception must also be taken into account, especially genre-specific preconditions.

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