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Chapter 2 focuses on Hans Pfitzner’s Symphony in C♯ minor, a reworking of his 1925 String Quartet Op. 25, at its Berlin premiere in March 1933. This case study illuminates how National Socialist values, particularly to do with monumentality, gained traction within symphonic aesthetics. Liberal sociological theorisations of the symphony such as Paul Bekker’s (1918) seemed increasingly absurd as politics shifted and Enlightenment narratives about sovereignty reached breaking point. For instance, due to Nazi threats of violence, just days before the Berlin performance of Pfitzner’s new symphony the Philharmonie had seen the cancellation of Walter’s regular concert, precipitating his political exile. I read the Pfitzner concert’s critical reception in parallel with both Bekker’s symphonic utopianism and emerging Nazi symphonic aesthetics, exploring Pfitzner’s symphony as caught between these two symphonic poles. I pay attention to how discourses of public and private space associated with the symphony and chamber music allow a clear view of fascist reformulations of subjectivity and space in this context marked by Walter’s persecution.
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