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Jewish Musical Modernism, Old and New

With a Foreword by Sander L. Gilman

Tackling the myriad issues raised by Sander Gilman’s provocative opening salvo—”Are Jews Musical?”—this volume’s distinguished contributors present a series of essays that trace the intersections of Jewish history and music from the late nineteenth century to the present.

Covering the sacred and the secular, the European and the non-European, and all the arenas where these realms converge, these essays recast the established history of Jewish culture and its influences on modernity. Mitchell Ash explores the relationship of Jewish scientists to modernist artists and musicians, while Edwin Seroussi looks at the creation of Jewish sacred music in nineteenth-century Vienna. Discussing Jewish musicologists in Austria and Germany, Pamela Potter details their contributions to the “science of music” as a modern phenomenon. Kay Kaufman Shelemay investigates European influence in the music of an Ethiopian Jewish community, and Michael P. Steinberg traces the life and works of Charlotte Salomon, whose paintings staged the destruction of the Holocaust. Bolstered by Philip V. Bohlman’s wide-ranging introduction and epilogue, and featuring lush color illustrations and a complementary CD of the period’s music, this volume is a lavish tribute to Jewish contributions to modernity.

240 pages | 19 color plates, 8 halftones, 1 line drawing, 4 musical examples, 1 CD | 8 1/4 x 9 1/4 | © 2009

Jewish Studies

Music: General Music


"This smart volume raises a number of issues. . . . [Bohlman] frames the five essays with an introduction and epilogue that lay out these questions and point to answers in the complex intersection of Jewish identity with the rise of modernity in Europe."


Table of Contents

Foreword: Are Jews Musical? Historical Notes on the Question of Jewish Musical Modernism
            Sander L. Gilman
Introduction: The Transcendent Moment of Jewish Modernism
            Philip V. Bohlman
1. Multiple Modernisms? Episodes from the Sciences as Cultures, 1900–1945
            Mitchell G. Ash
2. Sephardic Fins des Siècles: The Liturgical Music of Vienna’s Türkisch-Israelitische Community on the Threshold of Modernity
            Edwin Seroussi
3. Jewish Music and German Science
            Pamela M. Potter
4. Echoes from beyond Europe: Music and the Beta Israel Transformation
            Kay Kaufman Shelemay
5. Charlotte Salomon’s Modernism
            Michael P. Steinberg
Epilogue: Beyond Jewish Modernism
            Philip V. Bohlman
Appendix 1. Moments musicaux et modernes: Jewish Modernism in Popular and Political Music: Accompanying CD by the New Budapest Orpheum Society   
Appendix 2. CD Texts and Translations

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