Time's Echo: The Second World War, the Holocaust, and the Music of Remembrance
Jeremy Eichler (Author)
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DescriptionA 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 In 1785, when the great German poet Friedrich Schiller penned his immortal "Ode to Joy," he crystallized the deepest hopes and dreams of the European Enlightenment for a new era of peace and freedom, a time when millions would be embraced as equals. Beethoven's Ninth Symphony then gave wing to Schiller's words, but barely a century later these same words were claimed by Hitler's propagandists. 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, the 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. With a critic's ear, a scholar's erudition, and a novelist's eye for detail, 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 supporting testimony of writers, poets, philosophers, novelists, musicians, and everyday citizens, Eichler reveals how the essence of an entire epoch has been inscribed in these sounds and stories. Along the way, he visits key locations central to the music's creation. As the living memory of the Second World War fades, 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.
Knopf Publishing Group
August 29, 2023
6.25 X 9.25 X 1.06 inches | 1.56 pounds
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About the Author
An award-winning critic and cultural historian, Jeremy Eichler currently serves as the chief classical music critic of The Boston Globe. He is the recipient of an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for writing published in The New Yorker, a fellowship at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and a Public Scholars award from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Formerly a critic for The New York Times, he has contributed to many other national publications, and earned his Ph.D. in modern European history at Columbia University.