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William M. Nelson

Professional Librarian, Cello Music Cataloger, University Libraries

William M. Nelson

The Lost Cellos of Lev Aronson
by Frances Brent

I chose this book for two reasons. The first is that it tells the moving story of cellist Lev Aronson’s Holocaust experience in a remarkable way, by exploring how a musical instrument--"a voice and a wooden box"--might function as a metaphor for what was saved and what was lost in one man’s labor camp ordeal during World War II. Although Aronson survived this nightmare, he lost countless family members to the Nazis and saw his musical aspirations vanish along with his instruments, among them a precious Amati cello and Tourte bow. Frances Brent’s account of Aronson’s relationship with the instruments that slipped through his hands offers not only an enlightening way of thinking about one man’s harrowing journey but also a way of looking once again at the relationship of Jews to European culture. My second reason for choosing this book is that much of Lev Aronson’s personal music library has recently been added to the unparalleled Cello Music Collection housed in the University Libraries here at UNCG. In my work as Cello Music Cataloger, it will be a great pleasure to create access to the Aronson materials and to recommend to researchers that they take time while here to check out "The Lost Cellos of Lev Aronson."