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Was the assumption of German musical supremacy merely a constituent part of an emergent German nationalism between 1870 and 1918?

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  1. Introduction.
  2. The German nation-state at the beginning of Wilhelmine Empire.
  3. The communication: Not in Esperanto.
  4. Successful musical pride.
  5. The non-nationalistic nature of German musical pride.
  6. Conclusion.

What the German nation is and what its boundaries are have always puzzled historians of the early construction of the German nation-state. Indeed the further back into history one searches, the more elusive the very notion of a German national identity becomes. According to Herder, nationalism has little to do with the state, let alone politics or citizenship. Nations are pre-political, their roots lie in language, culture and ethnicity. The German nation-state, at the beginning of Wilhelmine Empire, was a strong, politically widely accepted one. The completion of unity in 1870-71 stands in a complicated relationship with what had been created in 1866-7. The state was accordingly less unitary than the greater Prussia of 1867. Consequently, the federalism of the Second Empire took the form of tolerating different kinds of governments, rather than "devolving power from the centre on a uniform basis".

[...] Applegate, ?Germans as the People of Music' p.31. Geoffrey Cubitt, ?Introduction' in Imagined Nations p.3-25 Geoffrey Cubitt,' Introduction' in Imagined Nations p.15 Geoffrey Cubitt, Introduction in Imagined Nations p.17 Jaraush P.Potter Germans as the people of music? p.21 David B Dennis, The Second Reich p.48 George L. Mosse, Organizations Take a Hand, in The Nationalization of the Masses p.136-145 J.Peck, M.Ash [...]


[...] Indeed, Schonberg's groundbreaking atonal composition, Pierrot Lunaire, was set to the German translation of a French text, and for Salome, Strauss's most daring break with German operatic traditions, the composer used Oscar Wilde's play.[25] D.Dennis has underlined the grotesqueness of linking great music to nationalism, as music was too high to be associated with the nation, and Beethoven's achievements too great to be transformed in ugly political songs?[26]. In the same manner Kurt Eisner- editor of the leading socialist newspaper, Vorwärts, in 1889, lengthily blamed Beethoven's Ninth Symphony for its incapacity to talk to the German people: the masses had no idea that they were heirs of such a rich legacy?.[27] Indeed, great music was already too elitist to match with the patriotic ideal of talking to every German heart. [...]


[...] Elle parle allemand?.[8] Trver une phrase pr dire que la domination musicale est spécifiquement allemand, et que personne venait les challenger sur ce domaine:The notion of musical domination is rooted in attitudes and feelings that emanate less from the music itself that from outside convictions projected onto it mettre une phrase de liaison or dire ?most scholars argue, following B.Anderson, that nation lies on imagined patterns given by a group at a period of time, that is to say that the nationess circulating around 1870 was essentially a constructed artificial one aimed at reinsering the state ( Wilhelmine) in collective consciousness?, indeed efforts to popularize, for example, the classical musical repertoire were an important part of Wilhelmine cultural policy. [...]

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