Teaching the Holocaust through music / by Ludmilla Leibman
Includes bibliographical references (p. 159-165)
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Electronic version from ProQuest
The purpose of this study was to, (1) provide an analysis of selected twentieth century compositions representative of the body of music commemorating the Holocaust, and, (2) utilize these analyses as the basis for a pedagogical approach for developing an understanding of the significance of the Holocaust. After World War II, composers of different countries started to write music which commemorated the Holocaust tragedy. One of the first examples of these reflections on the Holocaust was a musical drama, A Survivor from Warsaw, written in 1947 by Arnold Schoenberg, an Austrian Jew who fled his native land in 1933 in order to save his family. This composition is based on a narrative written by the composer himself comprised of compilation of several personal accounts of Holocaust survivors. The music is structured as an unfolding story told by the main character who reminisces about an unforgettable moment of the inmates' resistance that he had witnessed during his years of imprisonment. Dmitri Shostakovich's Thirteenth Symphony, Babi Yar, written in 1962 on the poetry of Yevgeny Yevtushenko, became one of the first Soviet Holocaust memorials to almost three millions Soviet Jews killed during World War II. Fifty thousand of them were massacred in the Babi Yar ravine near Kiev. In this Symphony Shostakovich incorporated Jewish musical idioms combined with his own musical monogram DSCH to express his hidden thoughts of self-identification with the Soviet Jews as people who try to survive in a dictatorial society through assimilation or compromise. The composition, Different Trains, was written by an American composer Steve Reich who was born in the United States in 1936 and as an adult came to realize that he was spared from the horrors of the Holocaust by the accident of birth. In his composition. written in 1988 for live string quartet and pre-recorded tape, Reich uses electronic music techniques to transform speech fragments collected by him from Holocaust survivors into melodic motifs and phrases. This dissertation specifies pedagogical approaches for incorporating the musical analyses into an interdisciplinary methodology for Holocaust teaching to college and high school students.
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