The marketing of backstories: approaches to the legacies of music composed in fraught circumstances

Mirjam Frank

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The ways in which music composed in concentration camps is marketed for present-day audiences offers much food for thought. In many instances, contemporary memorials dedicated to promoting such repertory all too often fall back on strategies that are not that dissimilar from the very propaganda methods they aim to unmask. Eyewitness testimonials, for example, are used to illustrate stories behind a composition, often to underline the emotional weight of the composer’s tragic background, rather than to initiate a thoughtful engagement with the music. The aim of this chapter is to encourage a more critical understanding of repertory composed under fraught circumstances. To this end, a discussion of aspects of the 1944 Nazi propaganda film on Terezín is juxtaposed with the relatively recent documentary, The Maestro: in Search of the Last Music (2017).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook to Music under German Occupation, 1933-45
EditorsErik Levi, David Fanning
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Electronic)9781315230610
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

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