"Won't Sing in German": responses to German music in war-time New Zealand

Owens, Samantha (2014). "Won't Sing in German": responses to German music in war-time New Zealand. In: Recovering Forbidden Voices 2014: Responding to the Suppression of Music in World War Two, Wellington, NZ, (). 22-25 August, 2014.

Author Owens, Samantha
Title of paper "Won't Sing in German": responses to German music in war-time New Zealand
Conference name Recovering Forbidden Voices 2014: Responding to the Suppression of Music in World War Two
Conference location Wellington, NZ
Conference dates 22-25 August, 2014
Convener Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music; Victoria University of Wellington
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Oral presentation
Open Access Status
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
In late September 1939, only weeks after the outbreak of World War II, the London-based conductor Julius Harrison announced that he was to ban Wagner from his programmes for the upcoming season, declaring “Wagnerian music . . . the prototype of Nazi aggression”. Harrison’s decision garnered a swift response from George Bernard Shaw, who sent a telegram to the Daily Herald: “Wagner, Beethoven and all Huns banned at promenade in August, 1914. Result, no audiences. Henry Wood then announced an all Wagner programme. Result, house crammed.” Reported not long afterwards in the Auckland Star, this incident was one of numerous news items that added fuel to an ongoing and vigorous public debate in New Zealand regarding the appropriateness of performing music that was representative of an enemy’s culture. This issue had also been hotly contested throughout the course of World War I, and during both conflicts was strongly influenced by reports of actions taken in Australia and England. Repeated calls were made for the exclusion of German music from recital programmes and radio broadcasts, but voices advising moderation also had their say. In June 1917, for example, a Wellingtonian writing in the Evening Post under the pseudonym ‘Disgusted’ counselled that the “tearing up” of music by German composers be postponed, “until we have official news that the Germans have torn up their Shakespeares, their Miltons, and their Byrons.” Drawing upon contemporary commentary taken from print media, together with a selection of other relevant primary source material, this paper will examine the variety of responses to the question of the suppression of German music in war-time New Zealand and consider the direct consequences of these debates on the nation’s musical life.
Keyword New Zealand music history
World War II
Censorship
German music
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: School of Music Publications
 
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Created: Sat, 13 Sep 2014, 18:22:49 EST by Dr Samantha Owens on behalf of School of Music