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Music to Vanquish Nations

Music to Vanquish Nations

The camera is focused on a tall, ornate opera house, and we hear the orchestra surge under a deep, soaring bass. It pans down to show two small people walking out. The young woman – Diane Keaton – is protesting; they had a deal, she says in the famous scene in Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder […]

A Ballroom Reborn

A Ballroom Reborn

On 16 August, 2001 a fire broke out on Marxergasse in Vienna’s 3rd District. Allegedly caused by a careless workman, the flames raged for eight hours. Only when the smoke cleared could the damage be assessed: The legendary Sofiensäle, once Vienna’s most beloved ballroom, was a smouldering ruin.   Bath to ballroom The story of […]

Book Review: Voices in Exile

Book Review: Voices in Exile

“By banning Jewish composers, Hitler’s Reich amputated an essential limb from the body of German cultural continuity,” writes Michael Haas in his groundbreaking book on Jewish musicians persecuted by the Third Reich, entitled Forbidden Music: The Jewish Composers Banned by the Nazis, published by Yale University Press in April. The former producer of Decca’s ‘Entartete […]

France’s German Mirror

France’s German Mirror

NEWS ANALYSIS:  Berlin’s Tegel Airport, which still greets most of the passengers arriving in the capital of Europe’s leading economic power, is outdated and provincial. The opening of Schönefeld Airport, transformed into an international hub, has been delayed for more than a year for technical reasons (a somewhat reassuring challenge to Germany’s reputation for efficiency). […]

Book Review: We Are Doing Fine

Book Review: We Are Doing Fine

Tumult sweeps away heritage, the Proverb says: “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind.” But in two notable novels out of the German-speaking world, the authors suggest the reverse is also true: Chronic disorder – from world war to intimate betrayal – can yield not a dearth, but a surfeit. Arno Geiger’s […]

1913: Vienna’s Cultural Soup

1913: Vienna’s Cultural Soup

A century ago, Adolf Hitler, Leon Trotsky, Marshal Tito, Sigmund Freud and Joseph Stalin all lived in central Vienna. This week on the BBC, Editor in Chief of The Vienna Review, Dardis McNamee explained why 1913 Vienna attracted these zealous individuals. “While not exactly a melting pot, Vienna was its own kind of cultural soup, attracting the […]

Monstrous Monuments: Vienna’s Giant Anti-Aircraft Towers

Monstrous Monuments: Vienna’s Giant Anti-Aircraft Towers

On 9 April 1938, Adolf Hitler stood before an audience of 5,000 in the vast hall of the Nordwestbahn train station. He spoke of their city, just absorbed into the Third Reich, as a pearl in need of a worthy setting. Few could have known that setting would be a noose of concrete anti-aircraft towers […]

Reading the Music

Reading the Music

The music of György Ligeti is hard to pin down. It mixes traditional and off-the-wall musical thinking, it is iconic, it is crazy. It asks for phenomenal performers and comparable listeners. And it gives marvellous rewards to both. György Ligeti: Of Foreign Lands and Strange Sounds is not a biography. It is rather a collection […]

A Chick Lit Holocaust Memoir

A Chick Lit Holocaust Memoir

Holocaust memoirs are many, often beautiful, almost always reflective, even philosophical and deep. An art form all their own, from another place, from other lives, other times: wonderful, but distant. Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler is different. This memoir feels very “now”, the chick lit of Holocaust memoirs with an unintentional feminist message: Women […]

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