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Showing posts from August, 2009

When Evil Becomes Banal

Last winter, a colleague and I were featured in a URJ on-line discussion on the challenges of music written by composers – and texts themselves – that were and are considered anti-Semitic. How should we, as Jewish professionals and Jews, approach such music? While the initial focus had been on Handel’s “Messiah” with its triumphant vision of Christianity overtaking Judaism, it quickly moved to noted anti-Semitic composers such as Wagner. Just recently, the New York Times reported that a motion was filed demanding that the Los Angeles Opera’s citywide festival – in conjunction with its new production of Wagner’s “Ring” cycle next spring – “be broadened to include less objectionable composers, like Puccini and Mozart because it was, according to the petitioner (Michael D. Antonovich, a member of the LA County Board of Supervisors) an affront ‘to specifically honor and glorify the man whose music and racist anti-Semitic writings inspired Hitler and became the de facto soundtrack for the …