The Music of Erich Zann by H.P. Lovecraft
Tuesday’s Tale of Terror January 7, 2014
If music could transport man into an unknown realm, what kind of music would it be? Something glittery and spiritual? Or something frenetic with deformed purple notes? If any author can bring a reader to the threshold between the real world and beyond, it’s H.P. Lovecraft.
In The Music of Erich Zann, our narrator is a university student of metaphysics. The city is probably Paris, but the name is not confirmed. The student takes a room in the boarding house on the Rue d’ Auseil, which is a steep and narrow street, a cliff actually that lies beyond the dark river, beyond the bridge made of dark stone—a perfect metaphor for the edge of madness that defines the story.
Erich Zann is a Renaissance viol-player and a mute with a wrinkled satyr-like face. He lives in the one-windowed garret of the peaked boarding house on the Rue d’Auseil and every night plays his music. The student lies away each night, listening to the haunting and eerie notes. He is so intrigued that he knocks on the musician’s door to establish a friendship and hear more of Zann’s odd music. But Zann’s music fills the student with dreadful and brooding vibrations.
“Then one night as I listened at the door I heard the shrieking viol swell into a chaotic babel of sound; a pandemonium which would have led me to doubt my own shaking sanity had there not come from behind that barred portal a piteous proof that the horror was real—the awful, inarticulate cry which only a mute can utter, and which rises only in moments of the most terrible fear of anguish.”
Are you ready to enter the boarding house garret and experience not only the ghoulish howls of Zann’s musical viol but plunge into undreamable abysses?
Read the short story at hplovecraft.com
Listen to the narration by Mike Bennett on YouTube
For you film fans, watch John Strysik’s adaptation in two parts (total time 17 minutes):
Note: Women in Horror Month is February. Get ready Tales of Terror fans!
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