David Fligg (PtJA Project Consultant) was a guest speaker at Vienna’s University of Music and Performing Arts (MDW) in February. His paper, ‘Gideon Klein – Musical Rupture and Jewish Migration’ was part of the ‘Musical Cultures of the Habsburg Monarchy and its Successors States’ conference, hosted by the University’s Department of Musicology and Performance Studies.
Drawing on archival documents, David’s paper investigated how the avant-garde artistic circles in Prague during the post-Habsburg Empire period affected Klein’s cultural aesthetic, and how Klein responded artistically to the erosion of personal freedoms under Nazi occupation. “In the debate that followed,” says David, “there was some argument about the phrase ‘Jewish migration’ in my paper’s title, and whether it was an appropriate term when discussing the fate of Klein and others in a similar situation. Various substitutes were offered,” muses David, “but I can’t help feeling, and as I pointed out, that semantic musings on this issue, within the bubble of academia, would have been of little solace to those on the brink of catastrophe.”
The co-convenor of the conference, Fritz Trümpi, with whom David is planning future collaboration, is the author of the recently-published and much-praised book ‘The Political Orchestra: The Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics during the Third Reich’ (University of Chicago Press).
David was also able to spend some time with the singer Elizabeth Hagedorn, whose memorable performances of music by Wilhelm Grosz concluded the PtJA’s Out of the Shadows festival in Madison last year. “Not only did we plan upcoming work in the Czech Republic, but I’m eternally grateful to Elizabeth and her husband, the conductor Andreas Stoehr, for introducing me to the delights and gastronomic wonders of one of Mahler’s watering-holes, Café Schwartzenberg!”