Time’s Echo: The Sec­ond World War, the Holo­caust, and the Music of Remembrance

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2021

A stir­ring account of how the flow­er­ing of the Euro­pean Enlight­en­ment, two world wars, and the Holo­caust can be remem­bered through the poignant works of music cre­at­ed in their wake. When it comes to how soci­eties remem­ber these increas­ing­ly dis­tant dreams and cat­a­stro­phes, we often think of his­to­ry books, archives, doc­u­men­taries, or memo­ri­als carved from stone. But in Time’s Echo, award-win­ning crit­ic and cul­tur­al his­to­ri­an Jere­my Eich­ler makes a pas­sion­ate and rev­e­la­to­ry case for the pow­er of music as cul­ture’s mem­o­ry, an art form unique­ly capa­ble of car­ry­ing for­ward mean­ing from the past. Eich­ler shows how four tow­er­ing com­posers — Ben­jamin Brit­ten, Arnold Schoen­berg, Dmitri Shostakovich, Richard Strauss — lived through the era of the Sec­ond World War and the Holo­caust and lat­er trans­formed their expe­ri­ences into deeply mov­ing, tran­scen­dent works of music, scores that car­ry for­ward the echoes of lost time. Sum­mon­ing the tes­ti­mo­ny of writ­ers, poets, philoso­phers, nov­el­ists, musi­cians, and every­day cit­i­zens, Time’s Echo pro­pos­es a new way of lis­ten­ing to his­to­ry and learn­ing to hear in its music the hopes, dreams, and suf­fer­ing of ear­li­er gen­er­a­tions. A lyri­cal nar­ra­tive full of insight and com­pas­sion, this book deep­ens how we think about the lega­cies of war, the pres­ence of the past, and the pos­si­bil­i­ties of art in our lives today.

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