The Karl Muck Scandal
Title Details

456 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

85 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

The Karl Muck Scandal

Classical Music and Xenophobia in World War I America

by Melissa D Burrage

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
The demonization, internment, and deportation of celebrated Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor Dr. Karl Muck, finally told, and placed in the context of World War I anti-German sentiment in the United States.
BEST CLASSICAL MUSIC BOOK RELEASE OF 2019 by Classical-music.com, the official website of BBC Music Magazine.

2019 SUMMER READS ABOUT CLASSICAL MUSIC by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

2019 BEST BOOK AWARD FINALIST in both the History and Performing Arts categories, sponsored by American Book Fest.

2019 SUBVENTION AWARD by the American Musicological Society, funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

One of the cherished narratives of American history is that of the Statue of Liberty welcoming immigrants to its shores. Accounts of the exclusion and exploitation of Chinese immigrants in the late nineteenth century and Japanese internment during World War II tell a darker story of American immigration. Less well-known, however, is the treatment of German-Americans and Germannationals in the United States during World War I. Initially accepted and even welcomed into American society at the outbreak of war, this group would face rampant intolerance and anti-German hysteria.

Melissa D. Burrage's book illustrates this dramatic shift in attitude in her engrossing narrative of Dr. Karl Muck, the celebrated German conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, who was targeted and ultimately disgraced by a New York Philharmonic board member and by capitalists from that city who used his private sexual life as a basis for having him arrested, interned, and deported from the United States. While the campaign against Muck made national headlines, and is the main focus of this book, Burrage also illuminates broader national topics such as: Total War; State power; vigilante justice; internment and deportation; irresponsible journalism; sexual surveillance; attitudes toward immigration; anti-Semitism; and the development of America's musical institutions. The mistreatment of Karl Muck in the United States provides a narrative thread that connects these various wartime and postwar themes.

MELISSAD. BURRAGE, a former writing consultant at Harvard University Extension School, holds a Master's Degree in History from Harvard University and a PhD in American Studies from University of East Anglia.

Support for thispublication was provided by the Howard Hanson Institute for American Music at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester.
Introduction
Here on Foreign Shores: Dr. Karl Muck's Acclaim in Boston (1906-1916)
Mobilization: A Changing Environment for Boston (1917)
Selling the War: Demonizing the Enemy (1918)
"Looking for the Trump Card:" Mrs. William Jay's Attacks on Karl Muck in Wartime America (1915-1918)
"A Leaf in the Storm:" Muck, Higginson, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra (1918-1919)
Muck's Arrest: "Finding 'One Weak Spot'" (1918-1919)
"Only Too Proud to Shoulder It All:" The Sexual Climate of Wartime Boston and Muck's Fall from Grace (1918-1919)
Muck's Final Years: His Association with the Wagners and Adolf Hitler (1920-1940)
Coda (1919 to Present)
Acknowledgments
Bibliography
"A chilling read that sheds light on how vulnerable communities are scapegoated in times of crisis that, unfortunately, still has plenty of resonance a century on." LIMELIGHT MAGAZINE
"[C]ommendably even-handed in its treatment of Muck, declining to make an innocent victim of him. . . . It's a wonderful book, a very rich addition not only to the literature on American music and the war but also to Boston musical history. I learned much!" Alex Ross, THE NEW YORKER
"This incisive, powerful book is not so much a biography as a broader cultural history . . . Burrage situates Muck as a 'prism' through which to examine the shadow of prejudice, paranoia and reckless journalism that engulfed cultural relations in America during World War I. The resulting work is an exemplary piece of scholarship. It is painstakingly written, offering a compelling (and terrifyingly relevant) discussion of the power-play between culture, politics and the darker forces of humanity." Kate Wakeling, FIVE STARS. BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE
"[A] thoroughly researched and excellent book. . . . Well-illustrated and thoroughly footnoted with an excellent, comprehensive bibliography, sparing no details of one of the shabbiest farces in our cultural history." Don O'Connor, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE
"Fans of classical music like to think that music can transcend politics. After all, music is the language of beauty that crosses borders and cultures. . . . Sadly, classical music can be a creature of politics as well, as Melissa Burrage reveals in her absorbing history. . . . [A] sad story evocatively told." R. C. Speck, QUARTER NOTES MAGAZINE, WCPE CLASSICAL MUSIC RADIO
"The Karl Muck Scandal goes behind the front page to explain one of World War I's most remarkable events. Melissa Burrage draws on intensive research and careful listening while always keeping the human element in view. An immigrant in a new land, contests over loyalty and patriotism, fear, surveillance, and incarceration, this is not only the story of a single musician, but also a crucial chapter in the story of America itself. --" Chris Capozzola, professor of history, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"[E]ffectively confronts . . . a variety of major issues -- nationalism, anti-Semitism, sexual morality, and Nazism. . . . Drawing on impressive archival and published sources, Burrage moves smoothly between the musical world and national politics, showing how deeply public opinion became inflamed in new ways in the early decades of the twentieth century. --" William Weber, professor emeritus of history, California State University, Long Beach
"I find Burrage's book to be a provocative, well-researched and carefully argued contribution to the literature on American musical life, the impact of World War I on the American cultural scene, and issues of nationalism and identity in the early twentieth century. The Karl Muck Scandal is admirably evenhanded, presenting a complex portrait of Dr. Muck that stands as one of the book's best features. It will become a new point of departure for future scholars working on the Boston Symphony Orchestra and its conductor. --" S. Andrew Granade, professor of musicology, University of Missouri-Kansas
"For those interested in World War I-era history, the author has provided a fascinating look into life in Boston at that time. Karl Muck was a complex man in a complex time: supremely talented and admired, yet bigoted and flawed as well. If "history rhymes," as Mark Twain is reputed to have said, there are certainly lessons for us all here." Caren Nichter, Music Reference Services Quarterly
"Burrage's study documents an important chapter, a turning point, in German-American history by means of this outstanding case study dealing with the anti-German hysteria of World War I." GERMAN LIFE
"Thoroughly researched and superbly written. Burrage's writing gives the impression of a journalist being "on the spot." [Even] the subheadings are of great interest." STRINGENDO

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Title Details

456 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

85 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Eastman Studies in Music

Imprint: University of Rochester Press