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Red StrainsMusic and Communism Outside the Communist Bloc$
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Robert Adlington

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780197265390

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197265390.001.0001

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New ‘Old Leftist’ Aesthetics in the West German Contemporary Music Scene

New ‘Old Leftist’ Aesthetics in the West German Contemporary Music Scene

The Cantata Streik bei Mannesmann (1973)

(p.243) 17 New ‘Old Leftist’ Aesthetics in the West German Contemporary Music Scene
Red Strains

Beate Kutschke

British Academy

This chapter investigates the socio-political background and music of the cantata Streik bei Mannesmann (1973) that was initiated by Wolfgang Florey and written by various young musicians such as Niels Frederic Hoffmann and Thomas Jahn, as well as the then-established composer Hans Werner Henze. It demonstrates that the creation of the collectively composed cantata must be traced back to the so-called ‘proletarian turn’: the turn, around 1970, from the New Left to the Old Left that affected not only the New Leftist activists, but also politicized musicians including those involved in the Mannesmann cantata. In light of the opposed objectives of the New Left and the new Old Left — the former fought for improving the living and working conditions of workers; the latter aimed at developing an anti-hierarchical youth culture and new lifestyles — the music reveals a remarkable stylistic split that reflects the ideological split between both Leftist camps.

Keywords:   West Germany, communism, Henze, Streik bei Mannesmann, Eisler, New Left, proletarian turn, Hinz und Kunst

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