Log In If you have personal access to this content, log in with your username and password here: Email or username: Password: Remember me. Forgotten your password? Log In Via Your Institution. Booldly bot meekly online only : EUR In other words, these works explore, with all its atten- dant contradictions, the idea of symphonic jazz as synthetic melding of moder- nity and tradition, as an aesthetic capable of structuring and making manage- able the foreign and modern.
To be sure, this pairing of jazz music and German literature may at first seem unlikely, yet it serves two very important purposes. The first is to rethink symphonic jazz and its meaning for German jazz culture. If this argument is an im- portant corrective to anachronistic visions of Weimar Germans listening to Louis Armstrong, James P. Johnson, or Fletcher Henderson, as we saw in the previous chapter, by the mids, African American jazz was routinely felt to be more representative of authentic jazz than white American jazz, albeit for vastly different reasons than today.
Yet when read together as a set of novels responding to the aesthetic challenge of symphonic jazz, an entirely new sense of their significance emerges. In their common focus on the relation- ship between symphony and jazz as a means of engaging with modernism, literary and otherwise, they stand as an index not only of the wide-ranging in- fluence of Whiteman but of the profound ways by which jazz affected German culture in the s. Or to speak with a language indebted to jazz itself, these au- thors use symphony and jazz not as a self-writing script but as a jazz standard: a well-known, popular melody, onto which each author sought to produce a new version through improvisation, variation, and addition.
Writing sympho- nies in jazz, each attempted to carve out a space within the center and, in so doing, gave birth to a new literary genre, the symphonic jazz novel. It is significant here that this literary genre owes its existence not only to the American Whiteman but to three novelists from the margins, geographi- cally and culturally. As had Grosz and Dix in the early s, these figures use jazz, their encounters with and representations of the music, as a means of symbolically creating a new German culture into which they not only fit but have a hand in creating.
It was like coming out of blackness into bright light. I wanted to sing. I did them all.
Crude— undoubtedly. Unmusical—sure as you live. That was jazz then. Despite early setbacks including being fired for not being able to play jazz correctly , he eventually became a sought-after arranger of popular jazz-influenced music on the American West Coast. This raising up of jazz also had a racial component. There were many reasons for the rapid adoption of symphonic jazz.
For one, with members numbering between twenty and thirty, symphonic jazz orchestras represent a considerable enlargement over the small group for- mations of early jazz, common in both America and Germany during the early s. The larger size of the orchestra meant employment for greater numbers of this profession still struggling to cope with losses due to technological in- novations like gramophone and radio. Though in America the exactness and precision characteristic to performances of symphonic jazz was intended to put jazz orchestras on a level approaching that of the symphony orchestra, classically trained German musicians were simply much better suited to this new form.
Finally, from the monetary perspective of practicing musicians, a turn towards symphonic jazz was attractive because it was said to earn a great deal more money. Still, a full two years passed before Whiteman personally presented the case for symphonic jazz to German music critics as opposed to musicians. By the time he reached Berlin, there was a great deal of anticipation. Jazz Symphony Orchestra!
Like the Chocolate Kiddies, Whiteman also held open rehearsals for the press and was visited by academics, as well as by the composers Ar- nold Schoenberg and Franz Schreker. Indeed, according to one Whiteman biographer, it was in Berlin that his music met with harsh criticism for the first time. This period witnessed a prolific decline in the number of symphonies pro- duced by European composers.
The period of prog- ress in symphonic composition that could be located between Beethoven and Mahler seemed to have come to an inglorious end. It was, in fact, the profes- sional music critics, those who were most critical of Whiteman, who, accord- ing to Karen Painter, kept the form alive as it were. Through their writings, the symphony was imbued with even greater cultural worth than it had in the nine- teenth century, transforming the symphony into a central cultural icon of the early twentieth century. If the symphony became a sign of tradition threatened, jazz was a primary symptom of that threat.
Delivered in raucous, three-minute urban miniatures, it was no less threatening to the idea and ideal of the symphony than an atonal composition by Schoenberg. Perhaps no greater sign of this trend away from the symphony could be found than in the person of Mitja Nikisch. Courtesy of Dr.
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It creates real music. Rather, we want to create some- thing new. Likewise, Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt also authored a piece in anticipa- tion of the concerts. Stuckenschmidt was an important liberal music critic and part of the Berlin Dada movement. With his orchestra. In June he will tour Germany. Snobs will have fits of lust. Spectacles will shatter with fright.
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Musi- cians will dedicate scores. Though certain grotesque, i. He leaves open the question of whether jazz has already been elevated to the level of true art. He is, however, profoundly certain that jazz is doing great service for the matter of art in America. Writing Symphonies in Jazz 95 Sunday evening. The program then indicated that an intermis- sion would take place. However, this intermission, as well as the concluding piece, a number to be picked by audience, was skipped for the premiere con- cert, something that caused some confusion on the part of reviewers.
The premiere began at p. Almost all of them praised the virtuosity and tech- nique of the Whiteman orchestra. Equally prevalent in the reviews, however, was their rejection of the idea that the concert demonstrated that Whiteman had created a new art form for the future. Now we have been satisfied with our own ears by the results of the Grosses Schauspielhaus and can be reassured. Jazz remains jazz, whether one plays it well or poorly. Whiteman and his cohort per- form. It has nothing to expect from jazz. Indeed, the tone of many of these critiques borders on mockery.
For Warschauer, jazz, however one may feel about it, is simply, objectively an el- emental component of modern society and moralizing about its status or debat- ing whether it is art or commerce, German or American, does little to change this fact. The same question always arises: whether it [jazz] is art or could some day become art. Answer: the question either cannot be answered at all or at least not immediately. One example of this is an article in Der Deutsche that simulates a discus- sion between anti- and pro-jazz critics, in part using passages from earlier tex- tual discussions of jazz.
For it was in the jazz novels of the period that not his music but the structure and idea of symphonic jazz took hold. Numerous authors of the period used references to jazz within works from the period. From well-known authors like Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann to lesser known authors like Bruno Frank, Claire Goll, Vicki Baum, Hedwig Hassel, and Klaus Mann, discussions of sax- ophones, drums, shimmies, foxtrots, Black performers, and other indicators of the jazz milieu abound within Weimar literature. Wiener Roman Vien- nese Novel , the music acts as little more than a surface phenomenon, a mere reference to cultural disorder,54 rather than gesturing towards the evoca- tive, if still ill-defined, category of jazz literature.
Instead, jazz most commonly was deployed within Weimar literature as a reified symbol of modernity. In order to address the ways in which jazz was transformed from its use as literary topos into a literary form in the novels of Janowitz, Schickele, and Renker, it is first necessary to investigate what jazz literature would and could look like to Weimar Germans.
But it is in the essence of the symphony that in the end all motifs and motif beginnings merge with each other. The young French writers do not aspire to any form of merging Zusammenfassung. So that while figures and motifs may sound out simultaneously, they remain fundamentally isolated from each other. For Hirth, this polyphony without harmony is precisely the jazz quality of the new literature. Roman Jazz: A Novel. Caligari Like Caligari, the novel is richly evocative and resonant with broader modern- ist impulses and can be said to reveal important undercurrents of German cul- ture and society in its modernist experimentation.
The two immediately delight in deceiving the other passengers: she pretending to faint and he pretending to be a medical doctor capable of attending to her.
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I believe there are different laws governing it, just as the laws for a work of jazz are different than those for a sonata for piano and violin. Rather, the text gestures towards an understanding of jazz as aesthetic form, something that cannot be incorporated into traditional culture here, the form of the novel without consequence. Put differently, one senses that the narrator feels jazz pushing back at him, back at literature. The significance of the proximity between these two terms is, I would suggest, the very meaning of the work.
Through its con- scious exploration of the formal rules of the novel, Janowitz is investigating the ability of traditional literature to narrate the new.
Whereas most other authors saw little difficulty in this matter, deploying jazz as symbol of anarchy, rebellion, primitivism, etc. More significantly, jazz is not the only aesthetic form put forward in the novel as a model for representing the new; instead, jazz remains but one, certainly privileged, example amongst many. As the narrator states to close the novel: As one sees, in general our ensemble fared exactly just as well as every living ensemble on the earth has for a few thousand years—with every day they lost a new day of their lives.
The old flaw Fehler that every- thing living is condemned to live from its capital, rather than only off the interest.
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