A Windfall of Musicians [Aloud]

Dorothy Crawford in conversation with conductor/composer William Kraft
A Windfall of Musicians: Hitler’s Emigres and Exiles in Southern California


-Hitler wanted to “cleanse” music too; wanted to get rid of the culture of chaos in the Weimar Republic

-book covers 31 of the musicians who immigrated to L.A. during the Nazi era including composers and all kinds of performers, especially focused on those with paper “legacy” for research — letters etc.

-utilized Gladys Caldwell’s collection of newspaper articles about live music reviews starting from the ’20s from LAPL

-writers came to L.A. too and some of these people knew each other (Mann, Brecht); émigré circles

-chapter about film composers — how they saved themselves as “composers” (didn’t want to be looked down on as film composers only); composer for Errol Flynn movies

-in those days in Hollywood every studio had a full orchestra

-LACC opera workshop, first of its kind (i.e. at public school); but no opera in L.A. until 1986 which was tough for many of the composers who came from opera-rich Europe, so singers trained in L.A. had to go to Europe

-why did so many of these artists end up in L.A.? tried other European cities first but the Great Depression meant quotas had been set up to save jobs for locals, whereas the film industry had a lot of jobs to go around. +, of course, the weather

-Ojai Festival

-people saving their money to bring people out of Europe

-after the wars arts take on a new dimension: after WWI experimentation (Schoenberg 12-tone), after WWII trying to make order from the chaos; in these cases didn’t draw on the past so much

-Tom Mix westerns uncredited composers

-“no minor chords” (Sam Goldwyn)

-L.A. Music Festival (Waxman)

-playing “donuts” = whole notes

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