After the Nazis seized power in 1933, they swiftly took charge of Germany’s cultural institutions. The Reichsmusiktage 1938 therefore included an exhibition of “Entartete Musik” curated by Hans Severus Ziegler, Director of the National Theatre in Weimar, who borrowed the name from the previous year’s show of supposedly “degenerate art.” Numerous composers and musicians from the world of jazz, pop, operetta, cabaret and classical music were discredited as “non-Aryan.” Those who, unlike Richard Strauss and Carl Orff, could not accommodate the regime often faced ruin, as persecution and exile tore irreparable holes in their personal and professional networks. At war’s end, those who had survived and still had the strength had to start all over again.
Musica Non Grata will focus on these unappreciated composers of the early twentieth century. The cycle will start with performances of two operas by the Czech composer Hans Krása: Brundíbar, conducted by Jan Chalupecký, and Verlobung im Traum (Betrothal in a Dream) in a staging by Jiří Nekvasil. Franz Schreker’s Der ferne Klang (The Distant Sound) with Karl-Heinz Steffens at the rostrum will follow in April 2021. Also on the programme for December 2020 is Bohuslav Martinů’s “song bundle” Špalíček.