Profile: Mark Berry

Lecturer in Music, Royal Holloway

Mark Berry has lectured on subjects ranging from political culture at Louis XIV’s Versailles to European Marxism and music after 1945. His research has tended to draw upon his interests in both History and Music, as well as upon other disciplines, such as Philosophy, Theology, Art and Architectural History, and Literature.
Treacherous Bonds and Laughing Fire: Politics and Religion in Wagner’s ‘Ring’ was published by Ashgate in 2006. For his work on Wagner he has received the Prince Consort Prize and the Seeley Medal. He has recently written a number of articles for the Cambridge Wagner Encyclopaedia, published in 2013; they range from short biographical pieces to essays on topics such as 'German History', 'Morality', and 'Politics'. Dr Berry is also co-editor of the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Wagner's 'Ring'.
Whilst maintaining and furthering his interests in Wagner, subsequent research has also looked back towards the eighteenth century, including treatment of Bach, Mozart, and Haydn, and forward to the twentieth century.
Dr Berry has recently been writing a history of political music-drama from Parsifal onwards, whose concerns include Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Luigi Dallapiccola, Hans Werner Henze, Luigi Nono, and operatic production. His interest as an intellectual historian of idealist and Marxist traditions thus combines with his musicological interest in post-Wagnerian musical drama. Ultimately, the question revolves around the very possibility of writing, performing, and emancipating ‘opera’ in late-capitalist society. After Wagner: Histories of Modernist Music Drama from 'Parsifal' to Nono is scheduled to be published by Boydell and Brewer in 2014.
Mark Berry regularly reviews concert and opera performances, both in London and abroad, especially in France, Germany, and Austria. These often attempt to combine his research interests with imperatives of live performance and theatrical production, and may be found on his blog.

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Never Mind the Nazis: Richard Strauss is More Valuable Than Ever

Richard Straus lived through two world wars. He was no political hero, though perhaps his choices were more complex than they first seem.
Strauss made a “deal” with Schirach,the Nazi governor of Vienna. It had the composer further Viennese musical life in return for protection for his Jewish daughter-in-law and grandsons. This was not entirely unreasonable, given the circumstances.

Category: Music

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