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Actually, one can sometimes find quite a bit of antisemitic clichees in guides to classical music (Konzertführer) of the '50ties (and later). Either quickly updated from older stuff or reproducing prejudice older than the "1000 years". Like glibness and shallowness in Mendelssohn or pretentiousness, chaos and exaggeration in Mahler etc.

BTW bit of entertaining trivia: Moser's daughter Edda was a famous opera soprano and a favorite artist of former chancellor Kohl.


For Richard Wagner, wallen was a useful enough word that he stuck it right in the very beginning of the first act of Rheingold:

Weia! Waga! Woge, du Welle!
walle zur Wiege! Wagalaweia!
Wallala weiala weia!

Watch Woglinde and her sisters try, and fail, to guard the Rheingold from Alberich here (link NSFW in hysterically prudish places).

In contemporary usage, you will find the word as part of the compound noun Hitzewallungen (climacterial hot flashes), also as Aufwallung ("er verspürte Aufwallungen des Zorns") -- equivalent to "upwelling" in English. Wallen should be used sparingly, but if you're a good writer you know that already.


@Rebecca: That was the first thing I checked after Googling Moser. And yes, it covers all the usual suspects (Mendelssohn, Meyerbeer, Mahler, Schoenberg, etc.). I haven't gotten quite that far in the reading yet, but their inclusion means he thinks they're peerless geniuses, and the entries reveal no red flags. He wrote the book in 1958, after all, when most educated Germans were strenuously ignoring the recent unpleasantness. My guess is that he was more of an opportunist fellow-traveler than a fanatic. After all, I'm sure a lot of university positions formerly occupied by Jews were opening up in the 1930s...


Hopefully, not


Does the book cover any Jewish musical figures - musicians, composers, etc.?


I have never encountered "Lebenswallen" before.
But "wallen" also means to walk, apparently it expresses movement in a rather general fashion,
compare "Wallfahrt", "Wallfahrer" (a pilgrimage on foot) and the spell to get the broom to walk and carry water in Goethe's famous poem "Der Zauberlehrling":
"Walle! walle
Manche Strecke,
Daß, zum Zwecke,
Wasser fließe,
Und mit reichem vollem Schwalle
Zu dem Bade sich ergieße."

In the context of Lasso's biography it might be old-fashioned for what we would call "Lebensweg". In (usually religious) poetry one will also find "Lebensreise"


The problem is not the word Lebenswallen, that's just another compound - but very uncommon. The verb "wallen" is the problem. That word is really old fashioned and most Germans will probably connect it only to lyrics or old German literature.

What a strong connotation of wallen is, is that it's is a lively, sudden, leaving it's boundaries and hard to stop flow of a liquid. Rather more than fast. Probably a bit like a surge - if I understand surge correctly.

In a compound with Leben it is a very positive word that stresses the unstoppable aspect. That's what compounds are great for.

There are very few circumstances where a modern German would use either word.


R. Peczop-Beuys

Semantically not very far from Lebensborn, but yeah, great word.

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