Lecture: Michael Haas "The battle for Beethoven's legacy"
The exhibition “Jewish Vienna and Richard Wagner” takes a look as if through a telescope at its subject and the background to it. The objects can be brought closer, enlarged, made smaller and seen in their entirety. The accompanying lectures abandon the narrative perspective in favor of a larger panorama: Richard Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk or total work of art as a reaction to the forms and limitations of the Classicists, his impact on the art and politics of the time and the reaction of the Jews to this change, the role of Viennese newspapers and prominent journalists in the passionate debates on Wagnerism, and finally the development of Wagner’s ideology in his dealings with Vienna and the major anti-Semitic tendencies of the nineteenth century. It is not so much a question of stories as of history. In this sense these lectures offer a non-intrusive and provisional framework for the exhibition.
Michael Haas was born in 1954 in Charlotte, North Carolina but raised in Vienna where he received much of his general education and most of his musical training. He studied piano at the Municipal Conservatory and the Vienna Music Academy (now Music University). From 1977 to 2000 he worked for Universal Music Group’s London/Decca and the Sony Classical labels. His projects have been recognised with a number of major recording awards, including four Grammys and the first ever Grammy Latinos. His most highly regarded work has been in the recovery of music lost during the Nazi era in Europe, including London/Decca’s recording series Entartete Musik of works thought lost, forgotten or destroyed. The series won a number of major awards and launched many young artists.