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Author Topic: Vienna  (Read 816 times)
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« on: July 15, 2019, 01:48:21 am »

Vienna in 1914 was the culturally vibrant capital of a vast multi-national empire. Many of the composers prominent in Vienna in the first two decades of the 20th century were born in parts of that empire lost in 1919. Mahler himself, though from a German-speaking family, was born in Bohemia. Franz Schmidt was born in what is now known as Bratislava in Slovakia. Reznicek was of of mixed Czech-Romanian ancestry.

In 1919 most of that empire was "lost": not just Hungary, but Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, Galicia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia. What was left was the tiny German rump which became the Austrian Republic. And of course Vienna did remain a cultural, musical centre but many of the composers who remained were Jewish and many of these found employment across the political border in Weimar Germany. By 1939 most of them had fled from Nazi persecution: Hans Gal, Erich Korngold, Ernst Krenek, Arnold Schoenberg, Ernst Toch, Karl Weigl, Egon Wellesz, Alexander von Zemlinsky and others. Alban Berg died in 1935, Franz Schmidt in 1939, Anton von Webern in 1945.

The Vienna of 1945 was a very different city than in 1914. And you are of course quite correct in saying that very few Austrian composers who survived the tumultuous decades between and who continued to work after 1945 are "household names" to the average concert-goer. This is not however surprising however striking it may be.
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