Forbidden Music: The Jewish composers banned by the Nazis
Yale University Press (Inbooks), $39.95 pb, 376 pp
For all their differences of subject matter and approach (not to mention style), both of these studies can be seen as belonging to the category of what might be termed archaeological history. That is, they are concerned with retrieving and bringing to the surface a gallery of characters and set of important stories and connections which have been either suppressed or ignored.
In the case of Michael Haas’s account of the obliteration of an entire generation of (mostly) Jewish composers and musicians, the process was, of course, implemented by the appalling policies of the Nazis. One of the more sobering aspects of his study is that, in spite of his own considerable efforts as a Decca record producer with the series ‘Entartete [literally: degenerate] Musik’, only a few of these composers have managed to re-establish themselves in the concert or opera repertoire.