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Word Count: 838
Mozarts Turkish Side The 18th century was a period of unprecedented contact between Europeans and subjects of the Ottoman Empire a situation that spilled over into all areas of society Turkish customs and art became the popular rage in Vienna as the fear of actual Ottoman a superior opera with his creation of Die Enfuhrung aus dem Serail conquest abated Mozart sought to tap into this current and produce The Abduction from the Seraglio The work presents an interesting window into the Turkomania that existed at the time Mozart incorporates Turkish music into the opera and he also includes many of the prevailing stereotypes about Turks and all Moslems While some of the caricatures may seem crude andor offensive to current-day sensibilities Mozart was a product of his time and there can be no argument as to the beauty of the music To fully understand this work one must analyze the situation in European politics at the time Vienna was besieged a number of times by the Ottomans the last in the late 17th century For a long time there a genuine fear of marauding Turk soldiers destroying the beautiful city This feeling abated as the strength of the Porte declined and cultural links began to flourish as relations between the Empires assumed a more normal position Many Turks adopted Western dress and mannerisms while the systematic study of the East which came to be known as Orientalism began in Europe Basing much of its ideas on the Enlightenment and later the French Revolution Orientalism sought to record classify and codify the chaos and disorder of the non-European world Much has been made of the underlying racial and unequal power elements of Orientalism but that is not our concern here Suffice to say that Orientalism oftentimes did not give a very true account of what was actually happening in a foreign land rather it represented what the author
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