Artists in Exile: How Refugees from Twentieth-Century War and Revolution Transformed the American Performing Arts (2020)

Artists in Exile How Refugees from Twentieth Century War and Revolution Transformed the American Performing Arts During the first half of the twentieth century decades of war and revolution in Europe an intellectual migration relocated thousands of artists and thinkers to the United States including some of Eur
  • Title: Artists in Exile: How Refugees from Twentieth-Century War and Revolution Transformed the American Performing Arts
  • Author: Joseph Horowitz
  • ISBN: 9780060748463
  • Page: 303
  • Format: Hardcover
  • During the first half of the twentieth century decades of war and revolution in Europe an intellectual migration relocated thousands of artists and thinkers to the United States, including some of Europe s supreme performing artists, filmmakers, playwrights, and choreographers For them, America proved to be both a strange and opportune destination A foreign homeland During the first half of the twentieth century decades of war and revolution in Europe an intellectual migration relocated thousands of artists and thinkers to the United States, including some of Europe s supreme performing artists, filmmakers, playwrights, and choreographers For them, America proved to be both a strange and opportune destination A foreign homeland Thomas Mann , it would frustrate and confuse, yet afford a clarity of understanding unencumbered by native habit and bias However inadvertently, the condition of cultural exile would promote acute inquiries into the American experience What impact did these famous newcomers have on American culture, and how did America affect them George Balanchine, in collaboration with Stravinsky, famously created an Americanized version of Russian classical ballet Kurt Weill, schooled in Berlin jazz, composed a Broadway opera Rouben Mamoulian s revolutionary Broadway productions of Porgy and Bess and Oklahoma drew upon Russian total theater An army of German filmmakers among them F W Murnau, Fritz Lang, Ernst Lubitsch, and Billy Wilder made Hollywood edgy and cosmopolitan Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich redefined film sexuality Erich Korngold upholstered the sound of the movies Rudolf Serkin inspirationally inculcated dour Germanic canons of musical interpretation An obscure British organist reinvented himself as Leopold Stokowski However, most of these gifted migr s to the New World found that the freedoms they enjoyed in America diluted rather than amplified their high creative ambitions.A central theme of Joseph Horowitz s study is that Russians uprooted from St Petersburg became Americans they adapted Representatives of Germanic culture, by comparison, preached a German cultural bible they colonized The polar extremes, he writes, were Balanchine, who shed Petipa to invent a New World template for ballet, and the conductor George Szell, who treated his American players as New World Calibans to be taught Mozart and Beethoven A symbiotic relationship to African American culture is another ongoing motif emerging from Horowitz s survey the immigrants bonded with blacks from a shared experience of marginality they proved immune to the growing pains of a young high culture separating from parents and former slaves alike.
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      303 Joseph Horowitz
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      Published :2019-07-11T16:17:10+00:00

    One Reply to “Artists in Exile: How Refugees from Twentieth-Century War and Revolution Transformed the American Performing Arts”

    1. This is one of those suggestive, compendious, richly anecdotal cultural histories that are impossible to summarize Suffice to say that Horowitz provoked me to rehearse everything I ve ever thought about American Life, dum dum dum Horowitz s focus is not entirely on the performing arts he writes briefly but significantly about Thomas Mann and Vladimir Nabokov His discussion of those two writers, in the book s coda, ties up what for me was the most interesting theme the difference between the Germ [...]

    2. Give us your talented, your proud, your harassed geniuses yearning to breathe free.That s not how Emma Lazarus put it, but it s pretty much the invitation extended to European artists by American orchestras, theatrical and opera impresarios and film studios in the period from the Bolshevik Revolution to World War II In Artists in Exile, Joseph Horowitz documents the profound effect these immigrants especially Russians and Germans had on American culture And how the American experience changed th [...]

    3. I cannot comment authoritatively on Horowitz s writing with regard to the composers, conductors and dancers he discusses, as I am unfamiliar with their works However, I am familiar with some of the films and directors he writes about, so I was able to follow his commentary on the work of directors like Lang and Murnau somewhat closely, and found this part of the book very interesting reading.

    4. Probe into the roots of American culture Seems like we need cultural others to show us ourselves The local talent for synthesizing various cultural streams is at the center of this book, which has a transnational perspective that sometimes makes you wonder if the American artists are exiles too By collecting evidence from across the spectrum of the performing arts, Horowitz underlines the formally productive nature of American borrowing.

    5. A detailed history of how immigrants and refugees contributed and formed the arts in the United States covering dance, film, art, music, and theater It really focuses on the first half of the century, with a few dips into the 60s and 70s, and most of the refugees profiled are from Europe and Russia Note that it is performing arts, so art, poetry, and novels are excluded.

    6. This book and the one by Crawford overlap but do review several different musical and artistic personalities, so that both books are worth reading.

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