Liberation Songs. Music and the Cultural Memory of the Dutch Summer of 1945
Amsterdam : Brill
Radboud Studies in Humanities ; 7
InMehring, F.; Bak, H.; Roza, M. (ed.), Politics and Cultures of Liberation. Media, Memory, and Projections of Democracy, pp. 149-176
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Engelse Taal en Cultuur
Mehring, F.; Bak, H.; Roza, M. (ed.), Politics and Cultures of Liberation. Media, Memory, and Projections of Democracy
SubjectCultures of War and Liberation; Europe in a Changing World; Studying Criticism And Reception Across Borders
Historians have been surprisingly quiet about the sounds and soundtrack of history. In retrospect, the sounding signature for the Dutch liberation has become American jazz, in particular swing music and the close harmonies associated with the Andrews Sisters, as today’s annual performances on 5 May (Liberation Day) in major cities such as Amsterdam, Arnhem, Den Haag, Nijmegen, Rotterdam, or Utrecht testify. Much of the original documentary film material, however, is silent. In most cases, we do not have authentic audio recordings to accompany those familiar moving images of people singing and dancing-images that have been endlessly recycled in documentaries and news clips about the liberation. Rather, a commentator and pre-recorded music are often added in postproduction in the sound studio. Most often, we get to hear music linked to jazz and swing with the sound of American big bands. The trailer of the DVD Nederland Bevrijd: Einde 2de Wereldoorlog offers a paradigmatic example: The scenes of cheering Dutch citizens and Allied liberators celebrating in public urban places are underscored with a recording of Glenn Miller’s In the Mood (1939). This link between liberation and jazz has become so popular that it resembles a cliché. If we want to know more about the actual soundtrack of liberation heard on the streets of 1945, we have to take into consideration the history of media, its peculiarities, practices, and limitations.
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