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Gypsy's music in honor of Chanukah

Some Jewish composers have already appeared in these posts, but here are 3 more you might not think about. jb, if you don't know these pieces, it's your duty to buy the recordings! (sorry again about the amazon link in Israel.)

Gustav Mahler Symphony No. 1 "The Titan" in D Major. Mahler was born and raised a Jew, but he converted to Catholicism when he took a post conducting opera in Vienna, where it was against the law for Jews to hold such posts (hmmm, NC anyone?) Anyhoo, the 3rd movement has Bruder Martin (minor key version of Frère Jaques) and the last movement of this symphony features the Jewish tune Mordechai or something like that. Yes, jonathan, I'm counting on you to chime in.

Ernest Bloch Schelomo for cello and orchestra. Great stuff.

Kurt Weill Threepenny Opera. This is actually a musical, with the libretto done by Bertold Brecht (apologies to an old prof for not suggesting Mahagonny; some other theme). This is definitely a universal stage work, suitable for today's news. It's based on John Gay's Beggar's Opera, developed from suggestions by Jonathan Swift. I also dig the recording that was put out in the 1980s by commercial artists such as Sting. No I cannot find a link. I must confess someone burned a copy and gave it to me as a gift (not solicited).

Gotta go; been grading and such. yippee skippy


 

Comments

gypsy, for some reason your links never seem to provide an option to actually HEAR the piece in question without buying it, at least overseas. or maybe i just don't see it. but i'll "chime in" on what you said: i think you're right to compare mahler being forced to convert to christianity to further his career with the n.c. laws about "public servants have to believe in god". i also think the maccabis (thanks for the hannukah reference, happy holidays to you too!) were fighting for religious freedom, not domination or control, but freedom. as opposed to hitchens snarky article recently posted here. and my own feelings about this, and the relatinship of "classical" music to religion, as opposed to rocknroll rebellion, are expressed here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98I85ceICRM

i think you know where i stand. classical should be respected and even nurtured, but never dominant. like religion.

I'm a fan of rock as much as the next guy (well, maybe not that much), although I can't stand that AC/DC dreck, or those Ramones your generation like so much. I'll take Zeppelin, Beatles and maybe the Stones (mostly I listen to Argentinian rock from the 70's), but classical is the epitome of music. Comparing it to religion? What in the world are you smoking?

I confess I don't listen to it as much as I listen to songs, but I do have a lot of respect for it as an art, as opposed to, say, modern art or photography (I do photography, but most photographers are the most self-overrated group of "artists" you'll find).

see, i could draw you a direct line from ac/dc to zeppelin and teh stones, or the ramones to the beatles in, like, 2 easy moves. but it's a matter of taste, right? you know, that "substance", taste. i'm about the songs, too, i agree.

btw, i don't know what you mean about "my generation", but i was there for the transition from zep to the ramones, i mean, like, totally there, part of it. i dig both of them. zep isn't better, just more Important. since i'm old now i tend to listen to more "important" music. but don't knock the ramones, pal! why don't you post some of that "argentinian rock from the 70's" if your so confident in it's undeniability. (chest puffs out): you think it's better than the ramones, huh? huh?

(much more fun to get passionate about than the existence of a soul. if you don't have one, you're not part of the conversation.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMTPfk6Kj_8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly2V-W3N89k

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YviZnmvS2NM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DnrRPLBXOw

That last one might just be the best song ever written. And that's FINAL!

I'm talking about melody and harmony you see. Ramones and AC/DC have nothing in common in this regard with Zeppelin, and especially beatles.

Ramones and AC/DC have nothing in common in this regard with Zeppelin, and especially beatles.

you're right. the ramones and ac/dc are/were TIGHT.

:) down with melody and harmony! up with rhythym and attitude!

oh sorry forgot where and when i was for a moment.

nice stuff, very 70's, i like 70's. reminds me of kansas, genesis, etc. la maquina (the second one) was my favorite.

one of my biggest musical influences, no joke, was this argentine named alex who showed up in jerusalem for a couple years about 20 years ago. he had a voice like an angel and a DEADLY rhythmic sense. i learned a lot of guitar stuff from him between puffs. :)

gypsy, i apologize for hijacking your post here. you did say you wanted me to chime in. take a tip from norm, and be careful what you wish for. :)

did i post this here already, i forget?

this guy is doing exactly what i do (street musician) and getting the same reaction (none), except that he is absolutely brilliant. just goes to show people don't appreciate quality.

oops I posted too many links. Norm, the Sister or Red7 have to approve it.

btw I hate KISS too.

yeah, well me too. except for "detroit rock city". and "beth". oh wait, i hate "beth" too. almost forgot my position. :) looking foward to checking out your links.

Oh crap - I just saw my "try the" post - it's supposed to help you (Andyo) out with links. Then again, posting with code here sends things into code mode.

Try doing this: <

immediately after the bracket type a

Then make a space

then href="

immediately enter your URL

finish with ">

immediately enter whatever you want to call your link

follow up with <

immediately after that /a

immediately after that, the closed bracket >

Once I post I'll find out how much of this stuff appears on screen.

I think it's possible just to use the brackets, but I'm not totally sure.

haha yeah I know "<a href="link">word</a>", but I was too lazy to do it 4 times. Thanks for clearing it up.

ah well; i try. all good, cause you've received the stamp of approval.

mahler being forced to convert to christianity

I know this is nit-picky, but from what I've read, Mahler wasn't too "forced" to convert. He was a secular Jew at best, so faith was not so much an issue. I understand that he couldn't have gotten the job as a Hew, which is bad, but had he been agnostic, I think he would have been OK for the gig, not having to declare any religious affiliation.

not having to declare any religious affiliation.

i believe you are speculating, g.s.

Speculating - true. But the deal was the heinous prejudice against Jews, not against non-believers.

there were no other "non-believers" at that time. what do you think, europe was overrun with pagans? ah, how i long for those days...

Oh, there were plenty of non-church/temple attending folks, but they often affiliated themselves with a religion. Mahler isn't that far back of an historical character; he lived to see both 19th and 20th centuries. There were definitely plenty of secular folks wandering around Western civilization.

However, the real issue hear was Mahler's Jewish heritage. Here's the section in Wikipedia. Small excerpt:

In 1897 Mahler, then 37, was offered the directorship of the Vienna State Opera, the most prestigious musical position in the Austrian Empire. This was an 'Imperial' post, and under Austro-Hungarian law, no such posts could be occupied by Jews. Mahler, who was never a devout or practising Jew, had, in preparation, converted to Roman Catholicism.

According to this research (and I hadn't gotten int o this before), Mahler resigned the post because he and his wife Alma kept getting so many anti-semitic attacks as well as Mahler's tendency to take gigs outside Vienna (nowadays that kind of thing is expected). Check the section on Musical Modernism in this website for the blurb on the Vienna opera and Mahler.

Of course it's true that I didn't live in Vienna then, and the city is majority Catholic, so hey might have not me play flute there, but we'll both never know for certain. Still, I feel that my speculation is a good one.

chuss--

Oh, there were plenty of non-church/temple attending folks,

in vienna, 1897? i don't think so. it's just that the non-church attenders were so famous and popular, they got a lot of press and you might have become confused because of this.

the enlightenment was a powerful force in that place and time, but limited in terms of numbers if not influence. as usual, it was mostly the upper classes- and the jews. this provided much fodder for hitlers later moves against these (relatively) small groups.

i'm kind of talking out my ass here, based on stuff i studied 30 years ago. i hope some more "with it" historian doesn't come along and and smack me upside. they probably will.

for you, from inEurope#History"Wiki's Religion in Europe:

following the Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, atheism and agnosticism became widespread in Western Europe. 19th century Orientalism contributed to a certain popularity of Buddhism,...

The sentence starts with 11th century and ends with the 20th century.

You're probably quite right that most of the non-religiosos were famous, popular, members of the intelligentsia. It's not as if an entity like the Vienna State Opera would hire some unknown hacker to conduct, thus my angle.

Also, my fraternal descendant came over to the states int he 19th century, and he was a religious heretic that skipped Scotland for this country, so I lean this way from that bit of family history. On my pa's side, i go back to the noble family the Erskines.

always a pleasure discussing things with you, g.s. thanks for the link, i can't get it to work right now (what is it with you and these links?) but maybe later- my computer isn't the best.

oops...I must've missed a quotation mark or something.

the history section of the Wikipedia Religion in Europe entry.

thanks. and i'll just pretend i know what an "erskine" is.

They aren't that special. Pfft - now all of Scotland will be at my doorstep!

btw, while on the subject, if anyone wants to talk about it: i think it's interesting that "christian" rock is such a misnomer, disrespected by all and sundry, and yet christianity and classical go together like...chocolate and peanut butter.

hope you guys will find this as interesting and amusing as i did:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/18/opinion/18feinstein.html?_r=1

People do guard their religion closely. While many in the audience didn't have any issues with what Feinstein said on stage, there was bound to be at least one (and probably many more) whose hackles were raised.

ahh, i love keillor. this:

And all his hoo-ha about listening to the voice within and don't follow the path, make your own path and leave a trail and so forth, encouraged people who might've been excellent janitors to become bold and innovative economists who run a wealthy university into the ditch.

totally slayed me. good one, thanks.

Glad you dug it; I got hooked up to the Sun article (haven't lived in charm city for a decade!) through Gina Welch over at True/Slant. You might have a new venue!!

not prepared to get involved with controvrsy about my beloved keillor, even if he's trashing the jews, sorry.

K - but she's one of 2 religious skeptics/non-believers over there, so you might check in once in awhile. Entertaining writing style, too.

"(sorry again about the amazon link in Israel.)"

What exactly are you sorry about, please?

See jonathan becker's comment. The links take you to amazon. In the states, there are often sample tracks to listen to. I think that overseas the samples are not available.

cool! weird! appreciated!

Yowsers! Great video stuff. the accordion in the good old days was priceless.

i can't get that "good old days" tune out of my head now. thanks a lot, you bastard!

I do what I can

Anyone wanna talk about Schelomo? Great work! ;~). Or we can explore the social niceties of the Mack the Knife and pretty Polly tale.

Not that I mind having the topic hijacked!!!

i don't think i've ever met anyone who doesn't like "mack the knife". really.

skinny thread dodge. g.s., if i didn't know that wiki is the true source of all factual information, i'd say that that unbelievably short and lame description of "the history of religion in europe" was a deliberate attempt to minimize perception of the impact and influence of christianity on europe. and in vienna 1897? come on. what do you think all those hoity toity and influential enlightenment-heads were protesting against? it was that very religious influence on govt (and guild) policy that caused mahlers predicament. as i think you know.

austria was a christian country, period, and this was reflected in it's laws and it's social norms. and it wasn't "good for the jews".

i keep telling you, atheists are new to this fight.

OK - go check out these sites:

Univeristy of Cambridge and Religious Scholar - a Voice for Atheists.

Wiki's just a quick source. Books are way better, but they aren't the greatest on the internets.

I'm not saying Jews haven't been persecuted longer, I'm arguing that secularists have been around longer than you suggest. I believe those with little-no religion had more influence than you believe. Here's a little blurb about Thomas Jefferson. It's not as if he were the only deist with political influence, check out Ben Franklin.

Yes, the Age of Enlightenment/Age of Reason recaptured the humanism of the Renaissance. That "age" was way earlier than 1897: before the 19th century.

In my readings today I did find that Vienna had a special deal with the Vatican to get funding nach Wien. However, at this point I need to ask you for a source that says that secularism was marginal in Vienna, Austria at the turn of the 20th century. I have not seen anything to support this today or prior to our debate.

I'm arguing that secularists have been around longer than you suggest.

and i'm not arguing that secularists haven't been around for a long time, just that their persecution as a group by christian countries isn't even close, either in antiquity or intensity, to the persecution of jews in those countries. if mahler had been merely a "secularist", he could have gone to church and mouthed a few platitudes and gone on with his life, without turning his entire social and familial life upside down by publicly converting to christianity. and, as you pointed out, a lot of good it did him.

OK - go check out these sites:

Univeristy of Cambridge and Religious Scholar - a Voice for Atheists.

Wiki's just a quick source. Books are way better, but they aren't the greatest on the internets.

I'm not saying Jews haven't been persecuted longer, I'm arguing that secularists have been around longer than you suggest. I believe those with little-no religion had more influence than you believe. Here's a little blurb about Thomas Jefferson. It's not as if he were the only deist with political influence, check out Ben Franklin.

Yes, the Age of Enlightenment/Age of Reason recaptured the humanism of the Renaissance. That "age" was way earlier than 1897: before the 19th century.

In my readings today I did find that Vienna had a special deal with the Vatican to get funding nach Wien. However, at this point I need to ask you for a source that says that secularism was marginal in Vienna, Austria at the turn of the 20th century. I have not seen anything to support this today or prior to our debate.

Hmm, my reply to you isn't taking, so if appears twice above - my apologies. Here's what I wrote ( and thankfully copied):

OK - go check out these sites:

Univeristy of Cambridge and Religious Scholar - a Voice for Atheists.

Wiki's just a quick source. Books are way better, but they aren't the greatest on the internets.

I'm not saying Jews haven't been persecuted longer, I'm arguing that secularists have been around longer than you suggest. I believe those with little-no religion had more influence than you believe. Here's a little blurb about Thomas Jefferson. It's not as if he were the only deist with political influence, check out Ben Franklin.

Yes, the Age of Enlightenment/Age of Reason recaptured the humanism of the Renaissance. That "age" was way earlier than 1897: before the 19th century.

In my readings today I did find that Vienna had a special deal with the Vatican to get funding nach Wien. However, at this point I need to ask you for a source that says that secularism was marginal in Vienna, Austria at the turn of the 20th century. I have not seen anything to support this today or prior to our debate.

a source? since when do i bring sources? i just have, you know, like, a feeling about these things. just like today, there were plenty of people warming the pews who have plenty of doubts. there were then, too. but actually showing up to warm those pews was a much more serious social issue at the time than it is now. the enlightement was an underground movement of the upper classes and their children. how about this in the meantime:

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/four_or_five_guys_pretty_much

1st

secularism was marginal in Vienna

should read more: "secularism was in the margins in Vienna" (or other parts of Europe)

Originally I left your references to the Age of Enlightenment alone because I felt they were moot. The Age of Enlightenment had some good outcomes, but the Industrial Revolution, 19th Century Romanticism and Nationalism (counter-balanced by exoticism) were much more present in western society by the mid-1800s. Thus, I'm having trouble taking this part of your argument as valid.

Unfortunately I'm posting from home and not my office, so I don't have my Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg (Dika Newlin) to refer to to see just how Mahler acted on his conversion. And it's snowing so I'm staying in rather than heading out where I can check print sources that might say one way or the other. If Mahler had been Lutheran or Calvinist - or a non-believer and non-Jew - as opposed to Jewish, I am currently under the impression that he would not have had to convert to hold the post. It's too bad this isn't 1993, when I was heading to Europe and did actually visit the Vienna Staatsoper. Then I could ask around until someone provided answers or at least lead me to answers regarding the opera house's charter.

source? since when do i bring sources? i just have, you know, like, a feeling about these things.

Dude, you post more than truthiness! ;~) I've seen your sources - OK, most of them are to rock videos, but you provide links! Btw, nice one on the Renaissance.

Umm, Norm? I just had to approve my own comment. I thought I had stopped before the non-reply one was approved. If this happens again, I'll shoot you a "help!" email.

Re Kurt Weill. His Whiskey Bar is a wonderfully strange song. I like the Doors'cover/version of it.

i don't think i've ever met anyone who doesn't like "mack the knife". really.

Now you have. I guess that I won't be on your list of "cool" people now. ;)

that's it, you're banned for life. you can avoid the ban by listening to the song again, with headphones and some fine herb. if you still don't like it, i'll make you president of the list of "cool people".

yes i have that power.

my dad has been president till now. he doesn't like ice cream, can you beat that?

I thought we were all pretty much against religion around here? So why would I care if a composer whas Jewish? I'm just asking. Judiasm is at least as stupid as Christianity.

that's what mahler thought, too, it's how he was raised. didn't help him any.

We're all against religion? I myself have no use for religion, but it still exists. There are a lot of great art works that were inspired by religion, and that doesn't diminish my enjoyment of them. Schelomo is the only religious work in the list above; the other 2 just happen to be composed by Jews. Also, Bloch wrote plenty of music that wasn't about religion, but elements of Jewish music - klezmer and middle eastern musics - are present in everything he composed.

My posts are generally organized around a theme. Tis the season for feasts and rites that are many years old and even more recent. Next week will feature more celebrations, and hell, Kwanzaa and boxing day follow that, so who knows what I'll decide to recommend? As always, I'm happy to take suggestions for themes.

For this post, i also thought of people or music that might relate to this site some - Mahler having to pass a religious test, in a sense, and the social implications of Threepenny Opera.

Just because I don't have a use for religion doesn't mean I don't recognize that religion has a use for other people, or that religion is cultural (all of the featured composers were born Jewish, ergo they absorbed and shared that culture). Maybe you feel that honoring Chanukah is too much, so consider this more of a commemoration.

I have no fucking idea what you mean by that.

mahler was raised secular by his jewish parents. if his parents hadn't been jewish, he wouldn't have had to "convert". jewishness is an ethnicity. "judaism" isn't necessarily involved and in fact, since the enlightenment, usually isn't.

it works like this: if you ask most people "are you a christian" they can say "no, but my parents were" (like most people here). but if you ask "are you a jew", a jew can't say no just because he/she isn't religious. not according to the jews, and not according to the christians either.

hey, i didn't make the rules.

you can claim you're not a christian all you want, and no one will argue with you. the christians, especially, will take you at your word and try to entice you back into the fold. but if i try to claim i'm not a jew because i reject the tenets of judaism (chas v'shalom) everyone will just laugh and try to humor me, jews and non-jews alike.

That seems like a pretty lame reason to cling to Bronze Age religious myths, because other people might laugh at you if you renounce the faith of your parents.

Isn't it a little inconsistent that OGM mocks almost all religions and now we are supposed to "honor" Channukah? Sorry, I tolerate people's beliefs but I don't have to respect them and I certainly can't honor religion.

That seems like a pretty lame reason to cling to Bronze Age religious myths

omgoodness, you're much dumber than i thought. the religious myths are not an issue here. jewishness is an ethnicity. mahler did not believe in the jewish "bronze age religious myths". the only thing "judaism" has to do with this is that the jews basically invented secularism, as i've said before, and mahler was just another secular jew. non-jewish secular people in austria at that time were treated quite differently.

as far as 1gm "honoring" hannukah- you're quite right, i was wondering about that myself. but i'll take what i can get. this was gypsy sister's post, and she (lucky her, i suppose)is not norm. and i'm sorry for being nasty, i don't think you're dumb, just...contentious. which is fine by me.

I'm not much in the mood for debate and controversy these days. I'm in a hedonistic mood, and thus these weekly posts by Gypsy Sister about music are a welcome respite from politics. It was thus an unwelcome surpise to find that someone found something to get upset about concerning this delightful post.

Jonathan, you're right about some atheists being somewhat curmudeonly and lacking a sense of humor.

The fact that "Jewish" can refer to either one's religion or ethnicity often results in confusing conversations.

Lastly, you apologize for being nasty, but LB's responses to you were provocative and not at all polite and mannerly.

A couple of points I’d like to make. First of all, no one need apologize for being nasty to me. I can take it. Instead of the “if you can’t say something nice” variety I’m more like the old-school trade unionist liberals who weren’t afraid to grab an axe handle if need be and kick some ass out in the street. As Woody Allen said, “It’s hard to satirize a guy with shinny boots.”

Last time I looked just about every other post on this web page is about how stupid and destructive religion can be. So are we supposed to treat Judaism differently than Christianity or Islam here at OGM? Honor Chanukah? No can do, as they say.

On a final note, have you ever noticed that the people who question another person’s intelligence or sense of humor often have these qualities lacking in their own responses?

i wasn't questioning your intelligence, lb, and i don't disagree with your points. they just don't have anything to do with this post. if you feel like arguing about judaism (which i'm sure you don't) i'm ready. but this is about non-christians, as represented by secular jews in 19th century europe. nothing (or little) to do with judaism, the religion.

i also keep an axe handle by my door, and so do some of my friends. we hope we'll never need to use them. you sound a little too enthusiastic.

All good. I wasn't asking you to honor the holiday. I was honoring the holiday.

heh heh, now I wanna do evil this coming week!

i would like to say clearly: i don't expect any special treatment for judaism here just because i'm unbelievably cute and post a lot as a result of the fact i have no life. let the chips fall where they may. i'm mostly on your side, in the sense that i don't want religion of any kind affecting secular law, and i'm against stupidity in general. i'm certainly not trying to convert anyone to judaism, god forbid.

in case this wasn't clear already.

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