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Thread: Why is Franz Liszt considered as Hungarian?

  1. #16
    Senior Member Jacck's Avatar
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    I am not sure about Liszt, but in the Austrian-Hungary empire, the nationalities were mixed. There were large minorities of Germans and Austrian living in Czech Republic, and many Czech were living in Vienna etc. If the family had Austrian roots and spoke German and self-identified as Austrian, the person is considered an Austrian although he was born in Czech Republic/Hungary etc. There are many examples. Franz Kafka was born in Prague to Jewish/German family, hence he is considered an Austrian. Kurt Gödel was born in Brno, but his family spoke German, so he is tradionally considered an Austrian and not Czech. Other examples are Sigmund Freud (born in Příbor, Czech Republic), Mahler (born in Kaliště, Czech Republic) etc. Before the WW2, Hitler used the German speaking minorities to subvert Czechoslovakia. After the WW2, the German speaking people were forcefully moved out of the country
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudetenland

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  3. #17
    Senior Member Templeton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacck View Post
    Franz Kafka was born in Prague to Jewish/German family, hence he is considered an Austrian.
    Interesting. I am from the UK and have never previously heard Kafka referred to as an Austrian writer, always as a Czech. When I first visited what was then Czechoslovakia, in the early 1980s, I am sure that the Czechs considered Kafka to be one of their own, to the extent that there was a Kafka museum, in Prague, which is presumably still there. Have things changed since then?

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    Yeah Kafka the Austrian is news to me too. A German-language writer, of course, but specifically Austrian?
    Last edited by BiscuityBoyle; Nov-10-2018 at 16:06.

  5. #19
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    Kafka is reivindicated by the Czech because even though he wrote in German he also spoke Czech because half of his family was czech and becuase of the fact that he was born and lived in Prague which was always a majority czech speaking city and of course is not part of the Sudetenland.
    So his nationality is debatable and he is revindicated as a Czech by his people.

    In the case of Gustav Mahler, Sigmund Freud, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Heinrich Ignaz Von Biber, Oskar Schindler and many others they are considered clearly Austrian or German and are not reivindicated by the Czech people either, many of them don't even know they were all born in what is now Czech Republic.

  6. #20
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    Mahler, Freud etc are closely linked to Vienna, which is really the important thing if we're talking about Austrian identity. With Kafka that was never the case.

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    Senior Member manyene's Avatar
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    Ultimately, it all comes down to the question of identity, the subject that has been much in vogue in recent cultural history discussion. In the last analysis, what the person actually describes himself as must be the most important factor, but some have pointed out, consistency is not a universal phenomenon. Most of us have more than one identity; which one is the more important depends on whom you are addressing at the time, and indeed the circumstances that are operating then. This is something particularly felt by European Jews, especially in times of persecution such as the later 19th century in Russia, and in Eastern and Central Europe generally in the 20th century.
    Last edited by manyene; Nov-11-2018 at 13:41.

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  9. #22
    Senior Member Sid James's Avatar
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    As has already been pointed out, Liszt felt Hungarian. This was also one of the most ethnically mixed parts of Europe, being at the crossroads between East and West. Various invasions from Turks, Germans and Russians occurred. There where large Jewish and Gypsy populations.

    I think his benefit concerts for the city of Szeged, wiped out by a disastrous flood, demonstrate his patriotism. It’s similar to Chopin’s concerts for veterans of the Polish war of independence. True patriots tend to put their money where their mouth is.

    Hungarian elements in his music do also, despite them being based more on music played by gypsy bands than sung by peasants (which Bartok and Kodaly where to research).

    After his retirement, he set up homes in three cities: Budapest, Rome and Paris. In Budapest, he founded the music academy which still bears his name.

    In Liszts time, Hungarian intellectuals saw themselves as guardians and promoters of a culture which was under threat of being Germanised. This was in the wake of the failure of the Europe wide revolutions of 1848. Hungary, along with other countries, was denied her independence. Thereafter, much effort was put into building of educational and cultural institutions. It was a way of dealing with political and economic restrictions imposed by the foreign rulers.
    Last edited by Sid James; Nov-11-2018 at 21:35.

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  11. #23
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    European nationalities … Prior to the end of World War I several empires ruled much of Europe and nationality was not what it later became. My maternal grandmother, who emigrated with her husband in 1918, spoke broken English, was named Fabry, and always told us she came from Czechoslovakia.

    My daughter later looked up my family lineage and viewed my grandparents' entrance papers to Ellis Island. It said they came from the Austro-Hungarian empire. I don't know their point of exit or former hometown and always assumed their were either Slovak or Magyar, the latter normally being considered Hungarian. My aunt later told me they were "assigned" to Chicago upon arrival, a place where Poles and most Eastern Europeans were sent.

    It was no easier on the other side of our family. We are named VanDeSande which everyone always thought Dutch. My grandfather's second wife then told everyone, about 1980, that we came from Belgium. A very distant relative from that country came over here (USA) to see everyone with our name about 1990 and said our name in their phone books is like Smith or Jones in USA. To complicate matters, he lived next to France and considered himself more French than Belgian.

    And this was all in the 20th century, years after Liszt's time, so you can imagine the complications in nationality in the 19th century when empires ruled and most countries had at least one revolution.
    Last edited by larold; Nov-12-2018 at 19:28.

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    Senior Member LezLee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elgars ghost View Post
    I myself was overthinking - I thought it represented a melting pot!
    My first thought too!

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    Senior Member Don Fatale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrien View Post
    bother, now I'm hungry
    Funny you should say that as Liszt is the Hungarian word for flour.

    I've just been to a concert at the Liszt Academy tonight, and tomorrow I fly out of Liszt Ferenc airport (i.e. Budapest). They're pretty proud of this guy!
    Last edited by Don Fatale; Nov-14-2018 at 23:30.

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