Music To Die For

The Cremona Violin  by E.T.A. Hoffmann (1818)

Tuesday’s Tale of Terror  June 6, 2017


Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann popularly known as E.T.A. Hoffmann, was a Romantic author of Gothic, weird and fantasy fiction. He believed that music could ‘bring us into unknown kingdoms.’ He would, of course, think this since he was a composer of music. But more to the point this writer loved the supernatural, sinister characters, and the grotesque elements in human nature. His fiction is astonishing with wild leaps of imagination paralleled with psychology and spectres of the macabre.


I began reading Hoffmann’s fiction while researching my novel Greylock. Because Greylock deals with the power of supernatural music in the life of my character Alexei Georg, a composer, I wanted to know more about Hoffmann’s creative fiction, and how he built his characters and stories around musical themes. And his stories did not disappoint.



Hoffmann’s short story The Cremona Violin features a violinist named Councillor Krespel, who decides to build a rather unconventional house with misplaced windows and doors. By trade, Krespel obsessively rebuilds antique violins and searches the world for the violins of the old master violinists. Living with Krespel is a young woman, Antonia, a singer who has the beauty and voice of an angel. Our story’s narrator, a lawyer, describes Antonia as “impossible to tear myself away from her blue eyes, her sweet rosy lips, her uncommonly graceful, lovely form…”  Krespel is obsessed with Antonia and compulsively forbids her to sing.  Here the mystery gets thick with the bizarre.










Read The Cremona Violin at

Listen to the audio by

Hoffmann’s novels are The Devil’s Elixirs, the King’s Bride, The Nutcracker. Short stories The Sandman, The Entail, The Deserted House, and others.


Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free Tales of Terror. This is a compendium of 200 short stories by over 100 famous storytellers of mystery, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, and horror. Join me in reading two short stories every month.

Comments are welcome.


 Other Reading Web Sites to Visit

Kirkus Mystery & Thrillers Reviews

Books & Such    Bibliophilica    Lovecraft Ezine   Parlor of Horror   

Slattery’s Art of Horror Magazine   Chuck Windig’s Terrible Minds     Horror Novel Reviews     

Monster Librarian 

 Rob Around Books      The Story Reading Ape Blog

For Authors/Writers:  The Writer Unboxed


Thriller Author Mark Dawson

Dawson’s Book Marketing site:


Filed under classic horror stories, dark fantasy, fiction, ghost story blogs, Gothic Horror, haunted mind, horror, horror blogs, quiet horror, Reading Fiction, short stories, short story blogs, supernatural, supernatural music, supernatural mysteries, tales of terror, weird tales

4 responses to “Music To Die For

  1. Many times I have said that music sets the tone of a story. This is especially when it comes to watching movies. Nice entry!😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hope you enjoy. It’s a classic.


  3. latasha

    hi Paula! thanks for bringing this story to my attention. I’m hoping to read it with a friend soon. if not, i’ll just read it on my own lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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