Saturday, 28 August 2010
Adorno meets Tom Sawyer
Theodor Adorno meets Tom Sawyer! What a conjunction and yet not so strange when you listen closely. Adorno is an auto-pilot target of hate these days because he was forthright and - shock, horror, Intellectual which is a Bad Thing. He used the tag Detlev Rottweiler, so there's more humour in him than the bogeyman business will allow. Here, he's drawn to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn and their adventure with the sinister Injun Joe. The story is a lot like Ewartung. so this surprisingly modern setting makes sense. This is a fragment of Adorno's opera, Der Schatz des Indianer-Joe, left incomplete when Adorno moved to England in 1934. Lots of Weimar artists were fascinated by the creative symbol of America, long before they were forced out by Hitler. Think Zemlinsky, Lubitsch or Brecht. This does have a bearing on received attitudes to Suppressed Music and its reception. Of course we know lots about composers and artists then, but there are broader perspectives yet to be explored. In September I hope to be writing a lot about early German and Czech film, Fritz Lang in particular. But for now enjoy another aspect of Theodor Adorno.