Arnold Schoenberg's "A Survivor from Warsaw" in Postwar Europe
2016 Award - Honorable Mention
by Joy H. Calico
Publisher: University of California Press (2014)
Joy H. Calico examines the cultural history of postwar Europe through the lens of the performance and reception of Arnold Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw—a short but powerful work, she argues, capable of irritating every exposed nerve in postwar Europe. Schoenberg, a Jewish composer whose oeuvre had been one of the Nazis’ prime exemplars of entartete (degenerate) music, immigrated to the United States and became an American citizen. Both admired and reviled as a pioneer of dodecaphony, he wrote this twelve-tone piece about the Holocaust in three languages for an American audience. This book investigates the meanings attached to the work as it circulated through Europe during the early Cold War in a kind of symbolic musical remigration, focusing on six case studies: West Germany, Austria, Norway, East Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Each case is unique, informed by individual geopolitical concerns, but this analysis also reveals common themes in anxieties about musical modernism, Holocaust memory and culpability, the coexistence of Jews and former Nazis, anti-Semitism, dislocation, and the presence of occupying forces on both sides of the Cold War divide.
About the Author
Joy H. Calico is Professor of Musicology and Director of the Max Kade Center for European and German Studies at Vanderbilt University and the author of Brecht at the Opera (UC Press).
McMahon-Hank Professor of Philosophy
College of Arts and Letters, University of Notre Dame
John E. Hare
Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology
Yale Divinity School, Yale University
Anne Lake Prescott
Senior Scholar and Emerita Helen Goodhart Altschul Professor of English
Barnard College, Columbia University
Professor of Architecture, University of Notre Dame Rome Global Gateway
School of Architecture, University of Notre Dame
Senior Fellow, Ethics & Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.