Nineteenth-century New York was, after Berlin and Vienna, the third largest German-populated city in the world. German-language musical plays and light operas held an important niche in the lives of German immigrants and their families. John Koegel's Music in German Immigrant Theater: New York City, 1840-1940, tells, for the first time, the engrossing story of these theater works, and the many musical numbers from them that became popular as separate songs.
Koegel documents performances, in German, of plays by Shakespeare and Goethe and operas by Offenbach, Verdi, and Johann Strauss. And he draws long-needed attention to German-American musical comedies written, beginning in the 1890s, by ethnic parodist Adolf Philipp. As their titles suggest -- Der Corner Grocer aus der Avenue A and Der Pawnbroker von der Eastside -- these musicals related directly to the daily experiences of the immigrant population.
Music in German Immigrant Theater is enriched by copious photographs, sheet-music title pages, and musical examples, as well as numerous sets of song lyrics -- some uproarious, others touching -- in German and in English translation. The accompanying CD includes recordings of many of the songs discussed in the book.
John Koegel is Professor of Musicology at California State University, Fullerton. WINNER - 2009 ForeWord Reviews' Book of the Year Award, music category. This book is also included in the AAUP's 2010 University Press Books Selected for Public and Secondary School Libraries along with a number of other URP books.