a pact with the devil


Thomas Mann is considered the most music-obsessed author in the history of literature. His powers of description were at their best when he was writing about music. But professional musicians have constantly objected to his statements on music. How to explain that?

For this author, music, romantic music in particular, is the “magician of souls” – but possibly with very dark results. The argumentative key of “Dr. Faustus” lies in the claim that Germany did not descend the path into National Socialist barbarianism “in contradiction” to its classical music culture but rather in evocation of it. And not only because Adolf Hitler was a fanatic music-lover and Wagner fan.

Anyone talking about the “Third Reich” and what came before also has to talk about music. Musicians don’t like to hear that much.

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