The Reich's Orchestra - the Berlin Philharmonic (1933-1945)
Matthew-Walker, Musical Opinion
The Reich's Orchestra - the Berlin Philharmonic (1933-1945) by Misha Aster Souvenir Press, 271 pages ISBN 978-0-28563-893-8 £20
This new study of the most iconic orchestra in Germany during the twelve years of Nazi rule is important and valuable, but one must emphasize from the outset that the musical content is minimal. This is essentially a political history of the times in so far as the broader national impact of Hitler's election as Chancellor in January 1933 affected the country's greatest orchestra, founded as a self-governing organisation in 1882, but which - with the collapse of the Weimar Republic - found itself relying more and more on state financial support until within a few years it had become a cultural institute of the state.
It is an important story with many littleknown facts assiduously unearthed and presented by the author, to the extent that this book provides a detailed background to musical events that any student of the cultural history of the period and the role of the orchestra in twentieth-century society will wish to have. …