BANNED BY THE NAZIS:

“Entartete Musik”
Reconstruction of the Nazi exhibition Düsseldorf 1938

 

I. GERMAN VERSION

Created by Albrecht Dümling and Peter Girth

Whereas the Nazi exhibition “Entartete Kunst” has after the war several times been reconstructed (in Berlin, Munich and Düsseldorf), the music exhibition of Düsseldorf 1938 was nearly forgotten. Nobody seemed to remember that this industrial town on river Rhine was designed to be the second musical center of Nazi-Germany. Peter Girth, formerly executive director of the Berlin Philharmonic, then musical director of the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra, initiated the reconstruction of this “Degenerate Music” exhibition.

Katalog "Das verdächtige Saxophon" zur Ausstellung 1988

Exhibition catalogue 1988

Besides the reconstruction the new exhibit discusses the destruction of the musical life of the Weimar republic. It also tries to give an overview of German musical life in the Thirties, including the “research” of prominent German musicologists on racist topics as presented in Düsseldorf in 1938.

The new exhibition opened in 1988 to commemorate its 50th anniversary in the Tonhalle, the main concert-hall of Düsseldorf. It traveled around Europe, to more than 40 cities, including Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Vienna, Zurich, Berlin, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Munich, Bremen, Nuremberg, Cologne, Stuttgart and Dresden.

 

FROM THE PRESS:

This exhibition (plus catalogue and documentation of sound) should belong to the intellectual luggage of everyone, who today is dealing with music of these times and wants to be watchful, that “Entartung” will remain a term, that belongs to the past.
SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, MUNICH

 

II. AMERICAN VERSION

Created by Albrecht Dümling
Design: Joseph Brubaker and Peter Girth
Translation: Ernestine Kahn and Daniel Smith, Los Angeles

The American version, created for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, has been shown at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Music Center Los Angeles (1991), at the Bard Music Festival New York (1992), the Brandeis University Boston (1994), the Royal Festival Hall London (1995/96), at the Auditori Concert Hall in Barcelona (2000), in Miami (Symphony of the West, 2004/05), at the Ravinia Festival Chicago (2005) and at the Tel Aviv University (2011).

 

“This exhibit must lead not to criticism of others and condemnation of others but to criticism of ourselves and to a keener awareness of our own responsibilities.”
Lord YEHUDI MENUHIN

“It is a mere 60 years since the cultural brutality represented in the exhibition ‘Entartete Musik’ destroyed so much of the European musical landscape, and it would be a conceit to say it could not happen again.”
Sir GEORG SOLTI

 

The exhibit consists of

a) 44 panels (each one 48 inches wide and 56 inches high, which have to be hung on walls),
b) video and sound installations with English subtitles or translations,
c) documents for up to 30 vitrines
d) the German catalogue (279 pages, 300 illustrations), third enlarged edition, March 1993 (now out of print),
e) a small English catalogue (48 pages), with contributions by Lord Yehudi Menuhin, Sir Georg Solti, Berthold Goldschmidt and Erik Levi. London 1995
f) the documentation of sound “Entartete Musik”, consisting of four CDs, with booklets in English.
g) A film “Verbotene Klänge. Musik unter dem Hakenkreuz”

(80 minutes) has been produced with support of the City of Düsseldorf and the Kulturstiftung der Länder (German National Endowment of the Arts). Emigrants like Ernst Krenek (Vienna/Palm Springs), Herbert Zipper (Pacific Palisades) and Berthold Goldschmidt (Berlin/London) are being portrayed.
English video version (VHS) with subtitles available.
Idea: Albrecht Dümling
Producer: Wolfgang Pfeiffer, Berlin

Director and Camera: Norbert Bunge, Berlin

 

From the Press:

“Degenerate Art” and “Degenerate Music” are extremely important and timely exhibitions.
ANGELES. THE ART OF LIVING IN L.A.

It was a chilling reminder that such a thing could happen. I only wish we could have had this exhibit last year. It could have been a reminder of what happens when a government starts making artistic judgments.
LOS ANGELES TIMES

A landmark exhibition.
WOODSTOCK TIMES

The exhibit documents the Nazi’s scurrilous, illogical slander of musicians as disparate as Krenek, Bruno Walter, Richard Tauber and Josephine Baker, and shows with sickening clarity how susceptible music is to political ideology. As an audio tape plays, you tap your foot to a catchy march until you realize it was composed for some brownshirt rally. Then a chill goes up your spine.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The exhibition’s posters vilify composers whose music, in the Nazis’ views, did not represent pure German values and would corrupt the morals of children. Music lovers are exhorted to reject those dangerous currents and protest against them. A visitor taking in the exhibition just two days after the Republican National Convention could not help but notice a similarity between this rhetoric and that of the American right wing.
THE NEW YORK TIMES

That some of the abused composers have now been restored to concert and record circulation – Ullmann, Schulhoff, Krasa  – is a tribute to this exhibition.
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, London

The exhibition stands as a worthy tribute to a lost epoch of music and a reminder that freedom of the arts cannot be taken lightly
THE JEWISH CHRONICLE, London