Karl Amadeus Hartmann, composer and organizer of Munich's postwar contemporary music series Musica Viva, has received much attention in association with notions of inner emigration. Emerging in the postwar correspondence between Thomas Mann and Frank Thiess, the term inner emigration refers to those artists that remained in Third Reich Germany but did not publish or participate in party events, whether for political or aesthetic reasons. As inner emigration scholar Michael Philipp suggests in his social history of the phenomenon, the concept remains highly elusive. Distinctions between collaboration and so-called aesthetic resistance are often permeated by a politically charged postwar ideology that occludes the complexity involved in each artist's case. The following article chronicles Hartmann's life and output and will also survey the literature that presents Hartmann as the inner emigration composer par excellence.
Jaroslav Ježek [1906-1942] was an important composer, performer and conductor during the inter-war period in Czechslovakia. As leader of the Ježek Big Band and composer for the Liberated Theater, his popularity was immense. Forced to flee Prague ahead of the Nazis in 1938, he settled in New York where he composed his final works, including a compelling Sonata for Piano. He died of kidney failure on January 1, 1942.
When she died in exile in France at the age of twenty-five, Vítĕzslava Kaprálová (1915-40) was on the threshold of a successful international career as a composer and conductor. During her short life, she composed no fewer than fifty works (many of which were published), conducted orchestras in Prague, London, and Paris, was praised by music critics across Europe, and was awarded the Smetana Award by the Bendřich Smetana Foundation.
Gideon Klein (1919-1945) was a pianist, composer, writer and educator. In his short life he combined a dizzying array of skills, experiences, musical styles and activity. He arranged Hebrew folk melodies, wrote quarter-tone compositions, served as repetiteur for the infamous production of the Verdi Requiem in Terezín, and was a formidable presence in the musical life of that place.
Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) was a child prodigy, a remarkable interwar talent in the musical life of German-speaking Europe, and in his later years, one of the most famous figures in Hollywood’s musical establishment. He is remembered today through his many movie scores, but also for his operatic and instrumental music.
Hans Krása (18991944) played an active role in Prague's multiethnic musical life between the wars. During WWII, Krása was deported to the Terezín concentration camp, where a remarkable musical community flourished among its Jewish prisoners. On 16 October 1944 he was transported to Auschwitz and perished two days later. Krása will perhaps best be remembered for his children's opera Brundibár, performed in Terezín 55 times. The production of this opera, about children triumphant, in a place where the vast majority of children clearly were not, encapsulated the combination of absurdity, moral triumph and horror associated with this time and place.
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