Anita Mayer-Hirzberger: „Wie klingt Österreich“

Musik als Medium politischer Botschaften

On the occasion of the various memorials of the year 2018, the Department of Musicology and Performance Studies / mdw (University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna) has been entrusted with a project concerning the question, which kind of music could be associated with the idea of Austria. Music as a symbol for identity, as memory, and as a medium for political messages is the subject of this research. First of all, this paper presents some thoughts about the approach to research, which needs interdisciplinary work and a broad range of sources. After a short introduction of the subject, a concrete example is presented. After the First World War representatives of the young Austrian Republic were looking for the ideal music, symbolizing the state at official ceremonies. Here it is shown which kind of marching music was considered suitable for these occasions. Analyzing primarily reports in newspapers of that time, it becomes clear that emotional discussions about musical symbols reflect the political situation of that time. Debates about traditional military marches like „Deutschmeister Regimentsmarsch“, „Radetzkymarsch“ or „Prinz Eugen-Marsch“ caused strong feelings. Conservatives tried to positively reinforce the traditional repertoire of military music. The progressive parties regarded it as reactionary, unworthy for the new age.