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Jewish Music and Modernity$
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Philip Bohlman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195178326

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178326.001.0001

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Jewish Music and Modernity

Philip V. Bohlman (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter employs the metaphors of drama and the stage to bear witness to the vastly varied forms Jewish music had taken on the eve of World War II and the Holocaust. The first stages are those of popular theater, especially cabarets like the original Budapest Orpheum Society, which mixed styles and genres, and revolutionized European popular music and the music brought by immigrants to North America and used for Yiddish theater and film. By allowing hybridity, the stage also encouraged Jews and non-Jews to cross the cultural borders separating them. The Holocaust radically altered the path of border crossing, however, and the chapter concludes by examining case studies of music in the Holocaust and the concentration camps, especially that of Viktor Ullmann (1898–1944) from the camp at Terezín, which together provide transcendence in the historical drama of European Jewish music.

Keywords:   border crossing, Budapest Orpheum Society, cabaret, Holocaust, hybridity, immigrant, stage, transcendence, Ullmann, Yiddish film

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