By Axel Englund
What does it suggest for poetry and song to show to one another, within the shadow of the Holocaust, as a way of aesthetic self-reflection? How can their mutual mirroring, of such paramount significance to German Romanticism, be reconfigured to continue its validity after the second one international warfare? those are the center questions of Axel Englund's ebook, that is the 1st to deal with the subject of Paul Celan and song. Celan, a Jewish Holocaust survivor who has lengthy been famous as some of the most very important poets of the German language, over and over evoked tune and music in his oeuvre, from the juvenilia to the posthumous collections. Conversely, few post-war writers have encouraged as huge a physique of latest tune, together with works by means of Harrison Birtwistle, Gyorgy Kurtag, Wolfgang Rihm, Peter Ruzicka etc. via wealthy shut readings of poems and musical compositions, Englund's booklet engages the inventive media in a severe discussion in regards to the stipulations in their lifestyles. In so doing, it unearths their intersection as a website of profound clash, the place the very danger of musical and poetic which means is at stake, and confrontations of aesthetic transcendentality and ancient remembrance are performed out within the wake of twentieth-century trauma.
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Additional info for Still Songs: Music In and Around the Poetry of Paul Celan
Ihre Sprache ist nüchterner, faktischer geworden, sie mißtraut dem ‘Schönen’, sie versucht, wahr zu sein. Es ist additionally, wenn ich, das Polychrome des scheinbar Aktuellen im Auge behaltend, im Bereich des Visuellen nach einem Wort suchen darf, eine ‘grauere’ Sprache, eine Sprache, die unter anderem auch ihre ‘Musikalität’ an einem Ort angesiedelt wissen will, wo sie nichts mehr mit jenem ‘Wohlklang’ gemein hat, der noch mit und neben dem Furchtbarsten mehr oder minder unbekümmert einhertönte. (III, p. 167) [German poetry, i feel, travels different roads than French. With sombre issues in its reminiscence, and the main doubtful ones surrounding it, German poetry can now not, regardless of all makes an attempt to bear in mind the culture during which it stands, communicate the language that many a sympathetic ear turns out nonetheless to anticipate of it. Its language has develop into extra sober, extra authentic, it mistrusts the ‘beautiful’, it attempts to be real. it's as a result, if i'll be approved to seem for a notice within the sight view whereas conserving my eye at the polychromatism of the ostensibly present, a ‘greyer’ language, a language which, between different issues, additionally desires to see its ‘musicality’ verified in a spot the place it not has whatever to do with the ‘euphony’ that, kind of untroubled, resounded with and along the main terrible issues. ] Celan says loads of issues the following, and that i could have cause to come back to this passage a number of occasions in what follows. For now, suffice it to assert that he signs, to an equivalent measure, a distaste for the idea of poetry as attractive sound – one of many traditionally most vital meanings of the elusive ‘musicality’ of poetry – and an unwillingness to easily go away in the back of track as a poetic class: it truly is to be retained, yet demonstrated in a distinct position. Celan’s remark is little short of an accusation opposed to poetic euphony: the song of German poetry didn't basically resound along the main terrible issues, yet with them. via dissimulating the ugliness of German political background, attractive sound itself changed into an partner of the crimes devoted. but this harsh accusation coexists with Celan’s lack of ability to push aside song as inappropriate to his poetic venture. His paintings can't enable itself to fail to remember the Still Songs: song In and round the Poetry of Paul Celan 12 culture during which it stands. as an alternative, he desires to re-establish the musicality of German-language poetry in a brand new position, the place it's not harassed by means of a euphony that, on the old second from which he writes, has to face against truthfulness. This suggestion is bolstered by way of the mix of a musical vocabulary and the serious linguistic self-awareness permeating such a lot of of the poems: there's nearly now not a unmarried line of Celan’s that doesn't open itself as much as a interpreting on meta-reflective phrases. easily positioned, a poem through Celan not just speaks of what it really is, it really is what it speaks of. With this usually famous attribute in brain, his recurrent evocation of track as a thematic aspect disallows any whole severing of his poems from the culture of writing approximately song as though it have been tune.