Musical Ways of Bearing Witness

Maria Cizmic

in Performing Pain

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199734603
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918546 | DOI:
Musical Ways of Bearing Witness

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This chapter provides an overview of the book’s main areas of concern. It discusses 1970s and 80s East European and Russian culture, highlighting important themes: historical and cultural memory, local and international memory, suffering, truth, realism, morality, and spirituality. The compositional circles at this time dealt with these themes musically, often in ways that seem to invoke postmodernism through quotation, fragmentation, and stasis. Cultural and musical concerns regarding memory frequently engaged past traumas, such as Stalinism and WWII; hence, this chapter offers an overview of theories regarding trauma, testimony, and grief from psychology, sociology, and literary and cultural studies. Constructivist scholars in each of these fields point to the ways in which people respond to violence and loss by considering the significance of such events. In terms of the compositions discussed in this book, music participates in the process of debating the cultural meanings of past traumas.

Keywords: memory; suffering; truth; postmodernism; trauma; testimony; grief; Eastern Europe

Chapter.  12731 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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