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In his autobiography, Goldmark boasted that he had employed four distinct orientalist idioms in his works: one in Sakuntala and three in Die Königin von Saba. Actually, his deployment of orientalist signifiers was a lot more varied and subtle than that. None of them, moreover, was based on actual ethnographic models. All were purely imaginary and conventional – and for that reason legible and effective. This essay surveys and classifies them, analyzes their motivation and effect, and compares them with the practice of contemporaries such as Anton Rubinstein and Camille Saint-Saëns.

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