In the 1967 American film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, the actor Sidney Poitier plays a successful Black doctor who wishes to marry a white woman from a wealthy San Francisco family. When the father of Poitier’s character angrily tells him that he is making a terrible mistake, Poitier delivers one of the most poignant lines in the film: “You think of yourself as a colored man; I think of myself … as a man.” These words spoken by the character Dr. John Prentice, a famed WHO doctor, delivered marvelously by the late Bahamian-born actor, aptly capture much of the thrust of Kira Thurman’s book Singing Like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. With directness, accuracy, and sincerity, Thurman presents the stories of several Black classical musicians—conductors, instrumentalists, and singers—who left the racialized barriers they experienced at home in hope of finding an...
Singing Like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, by Kira Thurman
MARK A. POTTINGER is Professor of Music and Chair of the Music and Theater Department at Manhattan College. His current book project, Science and the Romantic Vision in Early Nineteenth-Century Opera, examines the connection between the sciences and the sound and look of nature in early Romantic opera. He is currently serving as joint chief editor of Sound Studies Review: An International Peer-Reviewed Music Journal.
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Mark A. Pottinger; Singing Like Germans: Black Musicians in the Land of Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms, by Kira Thurman. Journal of the American Musicological Society 1 December 2022; 75 (3): 599–603. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jams.2022.75.3.599
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