Poor Germans! One of the problems(?) with having, as a nation, so many musical geniuses is that everyone else ends up reacting to (mostly against) your perceived musical hegemony by rushing off and (re)discovering their own national roots.

‘Benchmark’ status notwithstanding, the German-speaking peoples were, like practically everyone else, having their own nineteenth century unification/nationalist crisis. But, in their case, there was no need for them to go hunting in the cultural backwoods for German folk music — it had already become so well assimilated by the nation’s composers that in some cases it’s difficult to tell where the folk stops and the composer begins…


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