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The Music of Eric Zahn

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,748 ratings  ·  183 reviews
This issue is the adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Music of Erich Zahn. Max Finn rooms at a rundown rooming house and does not know his fellow boarders, but one sad, mute street musician named Erich Zahn, gets his attention. Each night, the old man plays haunting melodies on his violins. Melodies that plague Finn’s dreams and give him nightmares about an impossible cosmi ...more
Kindle Edition
Published November 5th 2012 (first published March 1st 1922)
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Bill Kerwin

This has always been one of the Lovecraft tales I liked best, and I recently learned that it was the only story of Lovecraft’s that Robert Aickman—the English master of modern terror—liked at all. I can see why. Aickman favored obliqueness and indirection in his tales of the uncanny, and for once, in “Eric Zann,” Lovecraft does too, producing a small, understated tale of horror that keeps the adjectives and exclamation points at a minimum, and let’s the reader scare himself.

“The Music of Eric Za
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Great eerie story here! A first person narrator is listening to a viol player who's playing very strange notes and music. He tries to befriend with the sinister chap and finds himself in a very uncanny surrounding full of bizarre sounds and effects. What is going on in his room? Why does he never again find this house in Rue d'Auseil after he fled it in horror? Classic Lovecraft and a very mysterious dark story here. Highly recommended! ...more
Glenn Russell

The Music of Erich Zann - subtle, enigmatic, philosophic, among the finest tales penned by author H. P. Lovecraft, a well crafted work of literature that must be read with care in order to extract that special Lovecraft nectar contained therein.

The tale is short; ever single sentence counts. As enticement for you to set twenty minutes aside to read (or listen to an audio book available on You Tube), I'll offer seven Erich Zann snapshots - each of my comments linked to a direct quote:

"But that I
Feb 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a confession.

When I read H.P. Lovecraft I narrate the story in the voice of Jude Law as Lemony Snicket.

All the more evident here reading The Music of Erich Zann, Lovecraft’s 1922 short story about a student who takes lodging in a weird part of the city and hears, not banjo music, but the haunting chords of the violin.

Very Lovecraft. Scary, creepy, gothic – full of the unmentionable, unknowable and unspeakable.


Jude Law channeling Marlin Brando quoting Conrad.

“the horror, the horror”
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, desperado, br
A Lovecraft BR with great GR dweller, Craig :)

A nice story, proper scary atmosphere, with a hint of madness.

I'm struggling with my reads and I feel that Lovecraft is not getting proper attention from me as it should. I'm putting Lovecraft on hold for a bit. Sorry Craig.

Note to self:
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ by: Bill Kerwin
I'm tickled to say that this 1922 horror short story by H.P. Lovecraft doesn't use the word "eldritch," not even once. It does, however, have insane viol playing, the "blackness of space illimitable," and a strange, narrow street in Paris that, even though the narrator once lived there, can never be found again.

I'm just a dabbler with the horror genre generally and Lovecraft in particular, but this was a creepily enjoyable story. Read it free online here at the H.P. Lovecraft website.

Full review
Dec 02, 2019 added it
"I know that names change". ...more
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
The Music of Erich Zann
The Music of Erich Zann is a beautiful story of an unnamed narrator who as a student discovered the beauty and dread of the music of Erich Zann.
The story is told years later after a long and unsuccessful search for a strange street where the narrator lived for a while when he was a student. The Rue d’Auseil consists of stairs and the houses don't look like ordinary houses since they lean this way or that.
Rue d' Auseil
While living there, he hears his upstairs neighbour playing his viol. The melodies are dif
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who ever thought or believed that Lovecraft was a bad writer needs to read "The Music of Erich Zann" immediately. It's brief, but I believe it is Lovecraft's masterpiece. It's a perfect story and has none of the "purple prose" problems that Lovecraft's detractors harp upon. In fact, I think the story blows anything that Poe wrote out of the water and is surely one of the best, most ideal weird tales ever written.

Do yourself a favor and read it now if you haven't already.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one is another good creeper by Lovecraft.
Jul 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Lovecraft. OK. I know it's hopelessly cliche but I love his overly descriptive lushly rich prose. I remember reading this story before - it concerns a musician who sequestered away in a dusty poky old attic maniacally playing his violin. Lovecraft is an exceptional short story writer - he manages to creative evocative and richly decadent yet bizarrely antiquated settings seemingly effortlessly...

"I have never seen another street as narrow and steep as the Rue d’Auseil. It was almost a cl
A strange, haunting, compelling story about a university student who discovers the music of Erich Zann. Appreciated Lovecraft's writing but I was left wanting more from the ending - a greater musical background may have enhanced my enjoyment of the story as well. ...more
Michael Sorbello
Scary music, an entertaining concept with dazzling prose and infinite possibilities, but still boils down to a story that is essentially about a bunch of spooky noises coming from instruments. Worth reading just for the prose honestly.
José Cruz Parker
There's something I love about Lovecraft. I can't quite put my finger on it. Even though he isn't by any means a great writer, he's the one who made me start loving literature. It could be his prose style, but I first read him in translation, and even in Spanish his stories hold up.

The Music of Erich Zann is a story where many things are suggested and yet almost nothing really happens. Ol' Howard describes the setting of the story, an eerie street where the house the protagonist stays in is loc
Jul 13, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, weird
This is a wonderful Lovecraft story, the earliest I have read from him that gets my 5-star rating. I can see why Lovecraft liked the story so much for its inexplicitness. We never really know exactly what the menace or the threat is, and that works really well.

What I appreciate most about the story was the description of its setting on Rue d’Auseil. I picture something in early nineteenth century Paris, this Zann being a German political refugee trying to live out the remainder of his life on a
Dec 06, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exceptionally creepy, but it lacks something - it doesn't have a terribly satisfying conclusion. Puzzling, more than anything, really. ...more
Jakob Johnson
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is without a doubt one of the best short stories I have ever read. I think in this story, we get all of Lovecraft's best qualities- the horror, the mystery, the foreshadowing, and the ambiguity of the ontological layers of existence. After I read the story, I had trouble going to sleep, because the frightful images his diction conjured in my mind haunted me and had me questioning the truth of reality. I think that this is a brilliant story, but at the same time, I understand that it may not ...more
JL Shioshita
Oct 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this story. I always like tales where horror and art are woven together in some sort of mad tapestry. This tale does it well and in a lot of ways sets the template for all the "devil's chord", insidious music, metal band terror in fiction to come. ...more
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sheesh, that was creepy. But I loved the open ending. Wonderful! This was my introduction to Lovecraft and it made me want to get my hands on more.
Jamie Connolly
Short story. Interesting. 4 stars. Worth the 15 minutes if your time.
Michael Gardner
Feb 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More dammit. I wanted more, didn't want the story to stop. Therefore I am taking one precious star away. Come fight me for it, Lovecraft. ...more
Forked Radish
Refreshingly free of gratuitous adjectives, but correspondingly free of horror as well.
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-read
I know Lovecraft can be a very mixed bag (to be generous), but I actually liked this one. I don't know, I just have a thing for weird, otherworldly, slightly possessed musicians. XD ...more
Wolfe Tone
Lovecraft paints a lovely picture of the music in question and the horror is quite real, but in general this story lacks substance, development and a sattisfying plot. It feels slightly rushed.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever been to a music performance so incredibly shitty that not only the building but the whole street retroactively disappears from existence? I mean, not only is it no longer there, but no one remembers it ever being there in the first place?

Well, this story's narrator has. Since we're told Mr. Zann's viol playing is actually quite good, I have to assume that the imploding-into-another-dimension thing was brought about by him playing some insufferable and pompous strain of free-form ja
John Cesarone
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short story about a student who hears some very strange music coming from another apartment in his building in an obscure section of a large, old city, and makes the acquaintance of the strange old mute who plays it. It turns out the musician is trying to keep at bay some nameless, faceless horror that we never get to see. It has the usual HPL unnamed first-person narrator, but in other ways had some very unusual characteristics for HPL: first, it is set in (apparently) Paris, not New England. A ...more
Why isn't this one of the more recognized works of Lovecraft?

A very short story, but it's amazing how beautifully crafted and haunting this is! I'm waiting for the oncoming winter to come, be over and a storm to come before the onset of summer, because it's that type of story to read when the outside is a void suddenly filled with the chaos and fluctuation of mad winds and rain, with an eerie sound of that chaos brushing past buildings...

Just a remarkable story, and sadly overshadowed by his "My
Marts  (Thinker)
Jun 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
One of those strange Lovecraft tales, here the narrator gets lodgings on a rather unusual steet where most of the residents are quite old, he eventually meets a violinist called Erich Zann.....
Andrés Diplotti
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Lovecraft can do subtlety and understatement. Color me pleasantly surprised.
Walter Schutjens
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, fiction, horror
A story of great vigor told in fantastic prose, with a ending leaving you both confused and bewildered.
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Weird Fiction: July 2021: "The Music of Erich Zann" 9 8 Jul 19, 2021 05:31AM  

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Howard Phillips Lovecraft, of Providence, Rhode Island, was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction.

Lovecraft's major inspiration and invention was cosmic horror: life is incomprehensible to human minds and the universe is fundamentally alien. Those who genuinely reason, like his protagonists, gamble with sanity. Lovecraft has developed a cult following for his Cthulhu Mythos, a

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