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The Most Musical NationJews and Culture in the Late Russian Empire$
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James Loeffler

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780300137132

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300137132.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Most Musical Nation

James Loeffler

Yale University Press

This introductory chapter discusses the theme of this book, which is about the Jews' search for modern identity through music, in the late Russian Empire. It explains that the first hints of a broader new relationship between Jews and music in eastern Europe appeared in mid-nineteenth-century Odessa, and that the fabled connection between Jews and music in Odessa was solidified through decades of Russian and Yiddish popular songs and the later writings of Isaac Babel, Alexander Kuprin, and others. The chapter also highlights the role of composer Anton Rubinstein in creating the conditions for the rise of Jewish musicians in Russian society.

Keywords:   Jews, modern identity, Russian Empire, Odessa, Yiddish popular songs, Isaac Babel, Alexander Kupkin, Anton Rubinstein

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