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Defining DeutschtumPolitical Ideology, German Identity, and Music-Critical Discourse in Liberal Vienna$
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David Brodbeck

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199362707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199362707.001.0001

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“Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows”; or, Smetana’s Reception in the 1890s

“Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows”; or, Smetana’s Reception in the 1890s

(p.249) Chapter Seven “Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows”; or, Smetana’s Reception in the 1890s
Defining Deutschtum

David Brodbeck

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the reception of Czech music in Vienna in the early 1890s, when Taaffe sought to reconcile the Germans and Czechs through a Bohemian Compromise designed to divide the crown land into separate German and Czech administrative zones. Particular emphasis is placed on Vltava and Vyšehrad from Smetana’s Má vlast as well as on the composer’s comic opera Prodaná nevěsta (The Bartered Bride). This music was well received across the political spectrum. For Hanslick, Smetana was at bottom a “German” composer; for the radical German nationalist critics, the composer’s Czech nationalism was seen as a salutary model for properly German national composers to emulate. As the reception of Dvořák’s Husitská Overture (Hussite Overture) and Eighth Symphony shows, the younger Czech composer remained a much more divisive figure, in that the German nationalist critics viewed him as little more than a member of the conservative Hanslick-Brahms camp.

Keywords:   Bohemian Compromise, Vltava, Vysehrad, My Fatherland, The Bartered Bride

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