Movement 11: Passing of Time
The years went by.
There’s a saying: “Time heals all wounds,”
that’s how it was with me.
Until one day,
I saw my face in the mirror.
It looked so different.
My eyes were clear and deep,
my cheeks were rosy,
my mouth was softer.
I looked happy,
and yet, in my expression, there was something
How would you react after seeing your reflection for the first time in years? Would you have been eager to see how you’ve changed or afraid of how different you have become?
Theme in other Musical Examples:
The Bravery – Time Won’t Let Me Go:
Vanessa Carlton – Paradise:
Fleetwood Mac – Landslide:
Scorpions – Wind of Change:
Giuseppe Verdi – Requiem XVIII Requiem Aeternam:
In this movement, Anne sees her reflection for the first time in a while. She looks happy at first, but soon realizes that she has spent a good part of her life in hiding and there is a lot she has missed. How would you feel if one day you discovered you’ve missed out on a huge portion of your life?
Examining the Theme and Historical Context through the Text/Music:
The years went by too quickly. They hid there until they were arrested in August 1944. Germany was under Hitler’s power from 1933 to 1945, an overall period of nearly 12 years. Anne refers to the saying, “Time heals all wounds.” Wounds are a metaphor for any problems such as insults, stress, injuries, and hatred. Before the Holocaust, it referred to the smaller wounds that would just fade away over time. Now, the wound is leaving a scar. Her new life in hiding and everything that has happened to her family would always be a part of her.
One day, Anne saw her reflection in a mirror, a face she probably hadn’t seen since they went into hiding. “It looked so different,” meaning she grew up. Her “clear and deep” eyes might refer to her gaze, as she tried to block out everything around her and pretend everything were alright, if only for a moment. Maybe she started to understand and accept things. Anne comes to a realization that behind her face was sadness. She realizes all that she missed. She missed the growing up in between those two years and the life she could have had.
Musically, the movement opens at a slow tempo with the soprano soloist, following with the chorus. The tempo is slow, representing the passing of time in this miserable state. The minor key gives it a feeling of longing and sadness. As Anne begins to describe her face as she looks into the mirror, the tempo picks up, as if she is entering a moment of recognition and hope. The feeling breaks when the soloist sings “and yet” alone. The instrumental voices build representing Anne’s realization. Finally, it all fades as she returns to sadness.