Monday, 24 October 2011

Lotte Lehmann

I bought a vinyl record of Lieder sung by Lotte Lehmann in Canterbury Oxfam shop on Saturday. The record is in perfect condition. Lotte famously Never Sang For Hitler but I find something about these old recordings makes me think of all those poor souls caught up in, killed and generally fucked about by World War II.

I imagine a ruined house in the middle of Germany somewhere. Artillery can be heard in the distance but there are also birds singing in an old apple tree that huddles close to the battered building. A soldier enters the house. His boots crunch on broken glass as he walks through the remains of someone's life; family photos, an open suitcase, shattered plates.

In what is left of the living room stands a gramophone. He walks over to it, cranks a handle and places the needle on the record. Lotte's voice fills the air. The soldier is transfixed. He stands, hardly able to breathe, until the song is ended. Then he lights a cigarette and leaves...

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