‘Old’ music for a ‘new’ life: The discussions about national opera in the first decades of the GDR (East Germany) between cultural heritage and musical advancement

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Socialist and other totalitarian regimes from their beginnings tried to establish themselves as ‘new‘ societies with new culture: in the GDR – as in many other countries – represented by the socialist realism. This doctrine based itself on the so called humanistic musical heritage, ‘old‘ music from former centuries. To present the new socialist culture there was a search for a new national opera. But the theorists and dogmatists of socialist realism did not want the composers to compose an advanced opera showing the real socialist life with all its problems, but they wanted the composers to compose an opera with much more traditional (‘old‘) musical material to show the socialist life how it for them should be. So the paradoxical situation became into being, that some composers used advanced composition techniques to characterise the ‘old‘ capitalist persons of their pieces, who mostly were the antagonists of the ‘new‘ socialist persons. But the ‘new‘ socialist persons were characterised by traditional composition techniques. This special situation and the discussion of old and new in the aesthetic discourse of the socialist country in this paper will be analysed with examples. This discourse contains aesthetic questions as well as sociological, and questions of opera theory. The paper will have a short view to the theoretic discourse and the practical realisation or nonrealisation by the composers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventOld is New: The Presence of the Past in the Music of the Present - ESML e FCSH/NOVA, Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: 24 Nov 201626 Nov 2016
https://oldisnew2016.wordpress.com/

Conference

ConferenceOld is New
CountryPortugal
CityLisboa
Period24/11/1626/11/16
Internet address

Keywords

  • Socialist realism
  • Cultural heritage
  • Musical advancement

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