Political Ideology

The Political Compass of Composers

Writers and painters have been more involved in major political conflicts than composers, and their viewpoints are often more immediately discernible via their work. So, how well do we know the great composers’ positions?

Woody Allen often said that whenever he heard Wagner, he felt compelled to invade Poland. Most others’ opinions are less evident in their work. However, we can listen to the difference between Wagner’s aggressive nationalism and Dvoák’s or Grieg’s delicate folk nationalism. Of course, there are additional hints in the case of opera. Mozart’s operas, for example, dealt with class conflict (The Marriage of Figaro) and …

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