“Hearing Lwów Out of War, 1939: Singing and the Limits of Sonic Evidence”
Friday, Feb. 24th, 2023, 4pm
Presenter: Dr. Andrea F. Bohlman, Associate Professor of Music at UNC-Chapel Hill
UNCG, Music Building, Room 217
This talk draws attention to a three-and-a-half-minute sound recording made December 1939 in Prenzlau, Germany. In detention at the POW barracks for Polish officers, Kazimierz Dziubek shared a song with two linguists who were collecting his voice in order to preserve the urban Polish dialect distinctive to the multiethnic city, Lwów. Two verses that were classified as speech were in fact a hit song from Polish cinema, “Only in Lwów” (Tylko we Lwowie, 1939) by the prolific composer Henryk Wars and his frequent lyricist-collaborator Emanuel Szlechter. Even though this recording has hardly been heard, it cues my attention to the lives of those invested in its circulation: the song’s Polish Jewish authors, the Polish Catholic dance instructor who sang it, and the Ukrainian linguist who pulled it from the archive, listened, and transcribed it in 1942. My analysis insists on a connection between wartime recording and the afterlives of Nazi genocide and German colonial expansion as I explore the recording’s connection to Hollywood as well as Canada’s state policy of multiculturalism (1971– ).
Event followed by a light reception.