Performing Propaganda looks at musical life in Paris during the First World War. This conflict was one in which civilian life played a fundamental part in the war effort; and music was no exception. The book examines how Western art music became a central part of the home-front war effort, employed by both musicians and government as a powerful tool of propaganda. It situates French art music of the First World War within its social, cultural and political context, and within the wider temporal framework of the Franco-Prussian and Second World Wars. Drawing on a diverse range of archival material, including concert and operatic programmes, the musical and daily press, documents detailing government involvement in musical activity, and police records, it explores how various facets of French musical life served, in very different ways, as propaganda. In short, it explores why music mattered during a period of prolonged conflict, whether as emotional catalyst, weapon, or tool. This book will be of interest to musicologists, to cultural historians working on early twentieth-century France, and to scholars of the First World War, as well as to a more general readership with an interest in music during times of adversity.
RACHEL MOORE is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in Music, University of Oxford.