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Lindberghflug (Brecht, Bertolt), 1929Public Supply I (Neuhaus, Max), 1966

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such as ‹utility music› and ‹colloquial music,›[2] they experimented with integrating popular musical elements into art music and involving music in everyday situations in a functional way.


In 1929, Bertolt Brecht, Paul Hindemith and Kurt Weill produced the radio opera «Lindberghflug,» which was designed to include the listeners at home sitting at their radio receivers. For the stage performance in Baden-Baden, Brecht placed a shirtsleeved representative of the listeners on stage, who took over Lindbergh's singing part. For later productions, Brecht had in mind that for example classes of schoolchildren become familiar with the piece and then complete a version of it, which is broadcast without the part of the aviator. «The radio would be the finest possible communication apparatus in public life … if it knew how to receive as well as to transmit, … how to bring [the listener] into relationship instead of isolating him.»[3]

Brecht was not aiming at aesthetic arrangement, but rather at social educational value, which amongst


other things was criticized by Theodor W. Adorno. In Adorno's view any kind of music that lets itself in for elements of popular music, i.e. music with commodity character, did not achieve its goal of reflecting life in an unadulterated way.[4] Brecht, on the other hand, judged Adorno's position to be the expression of an arrogant elite that secures its integrity (amongst other things through music) while reproachfully—but de facto idly—looking at an ideologically blinded mass of music listeners under the tight control of the culture industry.

The medium of radio presented structural obstacles to Brecht's far-reaching utopias. Technologically and organizationally speaking, it had already developed into a mass medium[5] that lacked an effective transmission channel for its recipients.[6] In the 1960s, when Hans Magnus Enzensberger criticized that the mass media artificially separated the producer from the consumer,[7] Max Neuhaus had just begun working on a series of pieces for radio that demonstrated the potential for openness. In «Public Supply I,» produced in New York at WBAI in 1966, Neuhaus did a live mix of incoming telephone calls from ten lines. Although he

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