When one thinks of the music synonymous with the Third Reich, the name, which usually springs to mind, is Wagner, however Royal Holloway’s Reader in Music and Director of Performance, Erik Levi shines light on the use of Mozart’s music within the Nazi regime.
In his new book, Mozart and the Nazis, Levi uncovers the Nazi plot to delete the contribution to Mozart’s music, by the Jewish librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte.
Levi explains; “Mozart’s life and work had become grossly manipulated by the Nazis to support their ideological aims.”
Levi continues to show how the propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels declared Mozart to be the greatest German genius, and with the 150th anniversary of Mozart’s death taking place in 1941 a vast celebration of his works was undertaken to perpetuate further German superiority. The celebrations came to a crescendo in a week long festival in Vienna, Mozart was immortalised in speech after speech from high-ranking Nazi officials and honoured with a formal Nazi burial.
Mozart encompassed a German ideal which the Nazi’s very crudely used to push forth their racialist ideals, another master manipulation which can now be seen thanks to the work of Erik Levi.