Link from: he orders us to strike up and play for the dance
As we know from Primo Levi, the concentration camp commandants formed prisoners into orchestras which played at different times during the workday. Think about the irony of the phrase 'strike up and play for the dance', usually a sign of joy and celebration. One does not normally dance to a fugue. Nor are 'whistle', 'scrape', and 'sing' together words associated with classical music. Celan appears to be setting up a second strand of musical associations, this time with popular music. Think about the rhythm of the poem, too. The beat is heavy and insistent, more like a march or a communal song. What does the union of the two ideas suggest to you?
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