Music for international solidarity: Performances of race and otherness in the German Democratic Republic

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Abstract

Central to the official identity of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was the state’s positioning of itself as the antifascist and anti-colonial other to West Germany. This claim was supported by the GDR’s extensive programme of international solidarity, which was targeted at causes such as the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. A paradox existed, however, between the vision of a universal proletariat that underpinned the discourse of solidarity and the decidedly more exclusive construct of socialist identity that was fostered in the GDR itself. In this article, I explore some of the processes of othering that were embedded in solidarity narratives by focusing on two quite contrasting musical outputs that were produced in the name of solidarity: the LP Kämpfendes Vietnam, which was released on the Amiga record label in 1967, and the Deutsche Staatsoper’s 1973 production of Ernst Hermann Meyer’s anti-apartheid opera, Reiter der Nacht.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-139
Journaltwentieth-century music
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019

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