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Challenging the ModernConservative Revolution in German Music, 1918-1933$
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Nicholas Attfield

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266137

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266137.001.0001

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‘Der alte treue Meister Antonius’: mysticism, nation, and the Weimar ‘Bruckner cult’

‘Der alte treue Meister Antonius’: mysticism, nation, and the Weimar ‘Bruckner cult’

(p.106) 4 ‘Der alte treue Meister Antonius’: mysticism, nation, and the Weimar ‘Bruckner cult’
Challenging the Modern

Nicholas Attfield

British Academy

Twenty-five years after Anton Bruckner’s death, groups formed in Germany to revise the composer’s biography, highlighting Bruckner as a German mystic in the medieval tradition of Meister Eckhart and his successors, and thus a figure newly divorced from the facts of his (Austrian) life. Through reference to monographs from this 1920s Bruckner renaissance—by Karl Grunsky, Oskar Lang, Erich Schwebsch, and Richard Wetz —this chapter demonstrates that, despite their ‘anti-modern’ rhetoric, these authors engaged mystic doctrine to advocate connection to a new sense of community above the individual self, expressed in terms of narrow, pro-Christian nationalistic feeling. This advocacy envisaged cultural consequences, even new symphonic performance practices. It influenced other Bruckner commentators of the decade, including those who have rarely been placed in such a context, and the chapter turns to Ernst Kurth’s Bruckner monograph (1925) and the central role that a specifically German mysticism plays within Kurth’s musical and biographical interpretations.

Keywords:   Anton Bruckner, mysticism, Karl Grunsky, Oskar Lang, Meister Eckhart, German nationalism, Ernst Kurth, medievalism

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