Does anyone know of any classical music with offensive lyrics or meanings behind the songs?

Someone I know was wondering this…

(Read the answers here.)


  1. Offhand, the WWII German anthem ‘Deutchland
    Uber Alles’ comes to mind. It has pretty offensive lyrics, and was taken from a Haydn string quartet slow mov’t. Offhand I don’t know which one, but your fiddle playing buds probably do…

  2. I could be mistaken, but I believe the original libretto for The Mikado had a reference to the n-word (I think in the list song – something about a banjo?). It could be that it was not considered offensive at the time it was written by Gilbert or his intended audience (I’m not saying it wasn’t, just that they didn’t think so then).

  3. Just read, Bob, that it’s from the Kaiser Quartet. (It’s also used for a Christian hymn, which is where I’d first heard it.)

  4. Yep, Tim, I’ve read books where that word is used in a matter-of-fact way … troubled me, but I am assuming that it wasn’t read in the same way.

    Or maybe I’m clueless …?

    Or maybe both of those are true.