The first is that Frommel was 27 years old in 1933 (von Karajan was 25). Now...this is not intended as a defence because Karl Amadeus Hartmann was 28 and his principled objection to the regime is clear and wholly deserving of our admiration and respect. One could perhaps understand without condoning the cynical opportunism of the young in exploiting the openings made available to them by the disappearance of so many composers and performers from the musical scene in Germany.
I have been reading recently about some of America's leading late 20th century composers-established figures with a considerable body of musical achievement-whose relationships were fraught and who adopted different tactics in keeping their own music in the public eye. Some of these musical machinations are surprising and reinforce the fact that human beings do not always act out of high-minded principle but rather out of self-interest.
Which brings me to my second point arising from Paul's comments about a composer's "moral duty" not to "damage the work of fellow composers". Where does one draw the line here? A composer with an enormous amount of national and international prestige and influence who repeatedly denigrates the work of other composers has the power to "damage" the standing of such composers. Some very famous composers have done this. Benjamin Britten, for example, made no secret of his contempt for the music of a number of British composers-RVW for example. Is such criticism/contempt "damaging"? In the long term probably not. In the short term....quite possibly.
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