Music of Terezín with Sophie von Otter, mezzo (DGG)

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Music of Terezín with Sophie von Otter, mezzo (DGG)

Post by Lance » Sat May 17, 2008 1:52 am

~ New Release ~

"Your homeland is there, far away in the distance."
—Composers at Theresienstadt/Terezín

•Ilse Weber (1903-1944)
-Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt [2:38]
•Karel Svenk (1917-1945)
-Pod destnikem [3:10]
-Vsechno jde! (Terezín March) [2:16]
•Ilse Weber
-Ade, Kamerad! [2:23]
-Und der Regen rinnt [1:48]
•Adolf Strauss (1902-1944)
-Ich weiss bestimmt, ich werd dich wiedersehn! [3:19]
-Terezín-Lied (after the song "Komm mit nach Verasdin" from Gräfin
by Emmerich Kálmán [2:56]
•Martin Roman (1910-1996)
-Wir reiten auf hölzernen Pferden (from the Cabaret Karussell [4:12]
•Ilse Weber
-Wiegala [2:35]
•Hans Krásna (1899-1944)
-Three Songs: Ctyrversí; Vzrusení; Prátelé [1:41, 2:00, 1:19]
•Carlo Sigmund Taube (1897-1944)
-Ein jüdisches Kind [2:44]
•Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944)
-Beryozkele (from Three Yiddish Songs,(Brezulkina), Op. 53 [5:21]
-Six Sonnets, Op. 34: Sonnets Vi, VII, and VIII) [3:36, 2:39, 1:22]
•Pavel Haas (1899-1944)
-Four Songs on Chinese Poetry [2:39, 2:06, 5:05, 3:27]
•Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942)
-Sonata for Solo Violin [12:00]
Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano
Christian Gerhaher, baritone
Daniel Hope, violin
Bengt Forsberg, piano
Gerold Huber, piano
Bebe Risenfors, accordion/double-bass, guitar
Ib Hausmann, clarinet
Philip Dukes, viola
Josephine Knight, cello
Deutsche Grammophon 477.6546, DDD, 71:40


This is a bittersweet listening experience. One thinks of the dreams of those incarcerated in concentration camps while still feeling the call of making or creating music. When you're through listening to this disc, you will realize the wonderful talents and dreams that were lost to the world.

Let me set the scene, as taken from the back tray: "Joined by several distinguished colleagues, Anne Sofie von Otter pays homage to the remarkable composers and musicians imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camp Theresienstadt (Terezín), where, under conditions of unimaginable suffering, they wrote and performed these songs and other works of delightful fantasy and lasting beauty. 'Even in the earth's darkest corner, the music took away our fear and reminded us of the beauty in this world.'*" *Alice Herz-Sommer, pianist/Terezíin survivor

Ulrike Migdal, booklet annotator advises how this CD project came about: "The idea for this CD was born when Anne Sofie von Otter was asked to sing at the International Forum on the Holocaust in Stockholm (Sweden) in 2000. She was given a varied selection of songs to look at by the Terezín Chamber Music Foundation, including art songs by Viktor Ullman and Zikmund Schul, lullabies and songs in the Jewish folk tradition. 'This was my first encounter with this music and it made a deep and lasting impression,' writes Anne Sofie von Otter." She continues: "Into an existence filled with unimaginable suffering, music and other art forms such as theatre and literature offered the Theresienstadt inmates a few precious intervals of relief and serene distraction. ... This project reflects my sincere wish to commemorate those who created music under conditions of unthinkable misery and who so tragically lost their lives."

And so, this wonderful document of music from one of the worst periods in the history of the world, causes us to remember those who died so needlessly, the result of a madman.

The songs of Ilse Weber, who provided her own texts, are musically lovely examples and almost contradict the circumstances under which they were written. It is incredible what the mind can do to remove one's self from circumstances and be creative in other ways. Sofie von Otter and Christian Gerhaher sing with deep expression, with von Otter singing the lion's share of songs on this recording. One particularly touching song is by Carlo Sigmund Taube, Ein jüdisches Kind [A Jewish Child] for voice, piano and clarinet. The clarinet does much to enhance the song, as it does in so much Klezmer music, though it is both the text and music that all capture the heart. The text is worth noting here:

You are a child like the many others
in the big wide world,
like all your other playmates
and yet you are different, child.

You are a child who is lacking a homeland.
You are a stranger in every town.
As long as you are not filled by the world
"homeland," your heart will remain unfettered.

There is a wide variety of instrumentation here: piano and voice; piano, voice and clarinet; the accordion, double-bass, guitar viola, cello, and the solo violin, with Daniel Hope in Schulhoff's 12-minute violin sonata, a piece imbued with the harmonic terror that was felt within the confines of Terezín. These were some of the instruments that were available or used within the concentration camps, or sometimes simply in the minds of those creating the music. Quite frankly, it is unimaginable to think about attempting to compose under the most adverse conditions for human beings, but that is the power of art, and its most sensitive arm ... music.

The end result is, that with this disc, and other recordings published in remembrance of the Holocaust, we have an opportunity to hear the music of this time by those who composed it (who probably thought it might never be heard again), and to be thankful that we, ourselves, have not had to endure this kind of existence, or that if we did, we are here to keep the memory of these events alive and to be certain it never happens again.
Last edited by Lance on Sat May 17, 2008 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Lance G. Hill

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rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]


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Post by Chalkperson » Sat May 17, 2008 1:00 pm

This disc is a very worthwhile release, I strongly recommend it...
Sent via Twitter by @chalkperson

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