Edited By Geraldine Horan, Felicity Rash and Daniel Wildman
Ulrich Charpa Anti-Semitism as Mental Mechanism: A Model Suggested by Some Similarities
between Nineteenth-Century Anti-Semitisms in Music and Science1 Preliminaries In 1781 William (Wilhelm Friedrich) Herschel discovered Uranus and became one of the most famous scientists of his time. A year later he left his post as organist of a Bath chapel. By this step Herschel ended his pro- fessional life as musician, which had included the composition of eight- een symphonies, countless sonatas, concerti, etc., of which some are still performed today.2 Herschel’s family background was Jewish, but he never considered this an issue. By 1863, when Helmholtz, the leading figure of German nineteenth-century science, wrote about scientific aspects of music, the situation had dramatically changed: anti-Semitism had become ram- pant. As for music and science, Helmholtz was troubled by the fact that ‘der naturwissenschaftliche […und] der künstlerische Gesichtskreis’ [the horizons 1 This article is part of the project: Jews in German-speaking Academia (Leo Baeck Institute, London, in cooperation with U. Deichmann, Leo Baeck Institute and Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, and A. S. Travis, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem). Apart from this it has been inspired by discussions with A. von Massow (Musikhochschule Franz Liszt, Weimar) and his doctoral candidate M. Kleinschmidt, whose dissertation thesis: ‘Der hebräische Kunstgeschmack’. Das Authentizitätsproblem in der deutsch-jüdischen Musikgeschichte, is forthcoming (Köln: Böhlau, 2013). 2 Cf. C. L. Cudworth, ‘Herschel, (Sir) William (Wilhelm Friedrich)’, in F. Blume (ed.), Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart, vol. 6 (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1986), 280–284. 22 Ulrich Charpa of physics, philosophy and...
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