Newsletter No. 3, Spring 2002
Welcome to the third Newsletter of the JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music (IFSM). Thank you for your warm and enthusiastic responses to the first two newsletters. In this issue we bring you news of concerts, seminars, conferences, publications, recordings and other matters to do with music that was suppressed by the Third Reich and other totalitarian regimes. There are also several research requests; please respond either through IFSM or directly to the person concerned (copy to IFSM) if you are able to help. Do keep in contact with us and send any material of interest to our readers (over 450 musicologists, conductors. festival directors, critics, musicians and writers from Brazil to Australia). We are also compiling a list of interesting web links (to be found at the end of this newsletter); if you know any others that should be included, please send them to us. (If you do not wish to receive this newsletterroughly quarterlyany more, please let us know and we will take you off the list. Equally if you know someone who may like to receive it, pass on their details). If you would like to receive this Newsletter as a formatted attachment, reply to this posting.
It is pleasing to see that the music of the inter-war years, particularly that which was buried or banished with its creators under the National Socialist regime, is once more being sought after, performed and appreciated. This year London sees two major concerts devoted to 'Continental Britons' and book and BBC Programmes devoted to 'The Culture Carriers' and 'The Hitler Émigrés'. The Salzburg Festival, is promoting the works of Austrian composers banned by the Third Reich. A Brno festival is devoted to Korngold and festivals are being planned in Vienna and Amsterdam. Conferences are being held in London, Cambridge and Vilnius gratifying developments for Michael Haas, who pioneered the modern rediscovery of this music with his series of recordings for Decca under the title of 'Entartete Musik'.
Now the IFSM is delighted to be able to announce that the recording series will be continued by the new record company and website www.andante.com. Starting with a series of concerts at the Wigmore Hall in June (section 3, below), andante is embarking on a long-term project of performances and live recordings of albums dedicated to 'Forbidden Music', a worldwide historical survey of important music by composers persecuted at home and exiled around the world.
II. Editorial: Austria rediviva by Michael Haas
The extent of activities of some of the most important musical platforms in the world today is staggering. It is particularly pleasing to see how much is going on in Austria.
Having been invited to participate in the Jewish Museum of Vienna's exhibition: Quasi una Fantasia Die Juden und die Musikstadt Wien, ('Jews and the Musical Metropolis Vienna'), I have become aware as never before of the archaeological energy being invested by the great and good in this music. Dr Karl Weinberger's museum in Vienna is undertaking an exhibition which examines in thorough detail the shape of Vienna's musical life as formed by its Jewish citizens. It has undertaken an admirable degree of objectivity without the self-flagellation of many such German endeavours. Indeed, the activities of the Jewish Museum reflect other unstoppable movements within this small republic. To list only the most important, we find the Salzburg Festival undertaking 'Exile' as a major subject and the Symphonisches Orchester Graz appointing Israel Yinon as music director and accepting a season of works lost and banned during and after the Nazi years for performance during their year as 'European City of Culture'. Other discussions are being held with the Festwochen of Vienna. This is in addition to the extraordinary one-woman institution, the Orpheus Trust, which was started and is run by Dr Primavera Gruber (sections 3 and 9, below) and has been singularly responsible for keeping a lamp alight while the rest of Austria's music-scene spent years ignoring its collective past.
The past in Austria's case is painful and the country itself is very small. The contributions to music and the subsequent damage done by its Nazi years stand well out of proportion to its size. There are many reasons that the country has ignored its lost treasure of musicians and composers until now. A country which produced both Mozart and Hitler has a heavy responsibility to carry. And with a population less than that of Greater London, the cause and effect of its Nazi years are more transparent than elsewhere. Vienna was particularly affected: a city which in earlier years had welcomed Jews in a manner both liberal and enlightened became the powder keg of hate and intolerance. Hardly a Viennese can exist whose family in one way or another was not directly touched by the removal of one-third of the city's population in 1938. And the damage was not limited to the pre-War clearances: every Egon Wellesz denied a chair in an Austrian institution in post-war Vienna, had an equally high profiled individual sitting in his place. The wave of aryanisation which touched the furthermost reaches of society, and the following wave of denazification which by contrast, was more haphazard and affected central, rather than secondary positions, touched people more directly in this tiny county than elsewhere. But it excuses nothing. The honourable thing to have done would have been to have continued the denazification process to its most painful reaches. Yet Austria was not alone in following this path. The number of composers and musicians who could not return to Germany is also large and has never been adequately explained. The truth is that when these countries needed to rebuild themselves, the removal of opportunists (whether Nazis or not) in their educational and cultural institutions was not a national priority.
Of course, most of the original players are dead or so old that little risk is taken by the work being undertaken by Austrian cultural institutions of today. We have had to wait ten years to see the sort of activity taking place in Austria that one saw in Germany. Yet what activity! And what treasures they are uncovering! The Vienna Museum's exhibition has the problem of representing the contributions of over 100 musical figures of world stature. It starts in 1870 and continues to the present. It acts as the factual documentation of Jews and those who were considered 'polluted' by Jews (like Krenek and Lotte Lenya), of the contributions made to the world by the citizens of this one, mid-size European city. Once the facts are on the table, the festivals can start and the music begin.
III. Concerts, Festivals and Other Events
News and Reviews
Continental Britons The Émigré Composers:
Two concerts and a seminar at the Wigmore Hall, London, on 9 and 17 June will highlight the works of refugee composers who came to Britain between 193345 and who contributed considerably to the musical life of the country, although their own works are hardly known today.
Almost 70 composers came to Britain to escape Nazi persecution between 1933 and 1945. Some remained here permanently whilst others moved on to other countries. Before being forced into exile many of these composers were highly regarded figures in performing and academic circles in Germany, Austria and central Europe, but their works could not be published, performed or recorded after the Nazis' rise to power.
The two concerts at the Wigmore Hall, performed by internationally acclaimed artists, will feature music by some of the most important of these émigré composers . The first recital on Sunday 9 June features violin and piano music by Hans Gál, Egon Wellesz, Mátyás Seiber, Berthold Goldschmidt and others, including living composer Peter Gellhorn. These works will be performed by American-Israeli violinist Nurit Pacht with the Russian pianist Konstantin Lifschitz. There will also be a lieder recital by the young German baritone, Christian Immler, winner of the first prize of the Nadia and Lili Boulanger Competition, with pianist, musicologist and writer, Erik Levi.
In the second concert on Monday, 17 June, members of the Frankfurt-based Ensemble Modern, widely regarded as one of Europe's finest contemporary-music ensembles, performs chamber music by Hans Gál, Franz Reizenstein, Mátyás Seiber, Egon Wellesz, Berthold Goldschmidt and Vilém Tausky.
Gellhorn and Tausky will be present to hear their music performed.
In the afternoon of Sunday, 9 June (2.30pm5.30pm), Daniel Snowman, author of the new book The Hitler Émigrés: The Cultural Impact of Refugees from Nazism (section 4., below) and Eva Fox-Gál, daughter of the composer Hans Gál, will join Margaret Reizenstein (widow of Franz Reizenstein), Bernard Keeffe, Philip Ward, Lewis Foreman and émigré composers Vilém Tausky and Peter Gellhorn (both better known in the UK as opera conductors) and other contemporaries, colleagues and family members, to talk about the lives of these composers, their experiences, the conditions they found on their arrival and their contributions to British cultural life. The seminar is sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum, London.
The concerts and seminar will be presented by the JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music (President Sir Simon Rattle) and Andante, in association with the exhibition 'Continental Britons' at the Jewish Museum, London, and are supported by the Arts Council of England, German Government, Austrian Cultural Forum and Bnai Brith Leo Baeck Lodges. They will be recorded, streamed on the new classical music website www.andante.com and released by Andante as a boxed set of CDs which will be broadcast by the BBC.
Tickets: £15 £13 £10 and £8; Concessions: £2 off each ticket if buying for both concerts
Seminar Sunday 9 June 2.30pm5.30pm: £6
Musicians in Exile in Great Britaina comment by Michael Haas
At the time of Hitler's rise in 1933, Jewish musicians were perhaps Germany and Austria's most important living, cultural assets. There was hardly a note of popular music that did not rely on Jewish artists for either the tunes or the words, and often both. Jewish musicians were equally active in the established and avant-garde music scenes. Most of these composers enjoyed considerable prestige at home and abroad.
Refugee Jewish doctors, academics and scientists were made more welcome in Britain than musicians. By 1938, the Foreign Office had decreed that 'musicians and minor commercial artists' were 'unsuitable' for entry. Yet composers and performers saw the UK as a haven of liberalism and tolerance. Almost all of those who came and stayed among them Berthold Goldschmidt, Egon Wellesz, Hans Gál, Franz Reizenstein and Karl Rankl stopped composing for a long period of time during some or all of their exile. Many other musicians came and, recognising the lack of opportunity, left for more welcoming shores, among them composers Kurt Weill, Ernst Krenek, Theodor Adorno, Ernst Toch and Karol Rathaus and instrumentalists Artur Schnabel and Emanuel Feuermann.
By presenting these concerts and seminar we might come to understand the difficulties experienced by Jewish and political refugee musicians coming to the UK, in gaining acceptance by a nationalistic musical establishment. Perhaps the most representative exampleeven years after the Warwas the 1949 competition for a new 'English opera' to be performed as part of the Festival of Britain in 1951. The contestants wrote using pseudonyms so that anonymity could be guaranteed. The principal winners were works by the Jewish refugees Berthold Goldschmidt (Beatrice Cenci) and Karl Rankl (Deirdre of the Sorrows). But the winning operas were not performed. Instead, the new operas performed at the Royal Opera House during the Festival of Britain were Britten's Billy Budd and Vaughan Williams' A Pilgrim's Progress. Rightly or wrongly, the refugee composers felt they had been passed over in favour of the native sons; years later, Berthold Goldschmidt philosophically admitted that he had, if nothing else, contributed to the canon of English language.
In spite of the difficulties of many of yesterday's musical 'asylum seekers', including confinement in British internment in camps and deportation to New Zealand and Australia, they made an important contribution to their new environments. Composers as highly regarded in Germany and Austria as Walter Goehr, Hans Gál and Egon Wellesz were appointed to prestigious university positions, influencing future generations by bringing a range of new invigorating influences to their students. Other composers used the British pastoral style and spun it into a uniquely central-European language. In his association with the BBC, Berthold Goldschmidt conducted many new works. He helped prepare the performing version of Mahler's Tenth Symphony with Deryck Cooke and conducted its premiere. He also advised Simon Rattle, who in turn was one of the first to rediscover Goldschmidt's own compositions.
An examination of musical exile in the UK gives us an opportunity to look at British attitudes 70 years ago and compare them with attitudes today. Many of the key players have died; indeed, their children are often now in their seventies and eighties. The contribution made to British musical life by the refugees who were accepted only grudgingly and then sidelined, has never been fully assessed or even adequately acknowledged. These concerts and recordings aim to redress that imbalance. With debates on asylum being raised again, it is useful to refer to the displaced musicians of 70 years ago who made much of today's British musical life possible.
JMI David Uri Memorial Fellowship for Michael Haas
Michael Haas has been awarded the first JMI David Uri Memorial Fellowship in recognition of his enormous contribution to bringing back the European music of the early 20th century to the mainstream. In his groundbreaking series of recordings for Decca under the title of 'Entartete Musik', Michael unearthed wonderful operas, symphonies and chamber works by composers who were highly influential in Europe until they were banned by the Third Reich.
Michael is now Chairman of the Executive Committee of the JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music and this award will help him in his role as Project Director for the IFSM project: 'Continental Britons The Émigré Composers', which includes two concerts at the Wigmore Hall in June, recordings, seminars, publications and webcasts. Michael is also consultant for IFSM on major projects of suppressed and forbidden music in Amsterdam, Vienna, Berlin and Graz.
The fellowship, donated by Founder Member of JMI Mrs Sandra Blackman, and her family, is in memory of her son David who loved music.
1. Korngold Festival, Brno, 511 May
Brendan Carroll reports:
In May there will be an eight-day festival devoted to Korngold in Brno (the city of his birth).
Sunday, 5 May, 10:30 Mahenovo Theatre: Professor Marcel Prawy presents 'My friend Erich Wolfgang Korngold' with soloists Regina Renzowa-Jurgens (soprano), Pavel Kamas (baritone), Michael Pabst (tenor)
Tuesday, 7 May, 15:30 1 Koliste Street: dedication of a memorial plaque
at the Korngold family home
Friday, 10 May, 19:00 Janáèek Opera House: Die tote Stadt, Korngold's most famous opera, staged by Ansgr Haag, adapted from the production at the State Theatre in Karlsruhe; this is its first local performance since 1926. Ivan Parik, conductor; Ansgar Haag, Andreas Geier, directors; Regina Renzowa-Jurgens, soprano; Michael Pabst, tenor; Pavel Kamas, baritone.
Saturday, 11 May, 1:00pm: Umelecko-prumyslove muzeum (Museum of Applied Arts) Musical matinee: Piano Trio, arranged for two pianos; selection of songs. Jan Jirasky, Ondrej Hubaèekpiano; Yvett Tannenbergerová, soprano; Pavel Èernoch, tenor; Martin Hammerle, baritone;
Dùm umeni: daily lectures, readings, live music by Korngold, screening of famous films Details at the website: www.korngold.cz; for further information contact korngold[at]volny.cz.
2. Korngold Operatic Performances
Brendan Carroll reports:
A concert performance of Violanta will take place on 6 May at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, given by the Kensington Opera; details at www.rfh.org.uk. (review in next issue by Martin Anderson)
There will be productions of Die tote Stadt in Bremen (June) Zurich (June) Brno (May as above), Salzburg (Sept 2003) and Vienna (October 2003).
3. Korngold Concerto Performances
Anne Sophie Mutter and the LSO perform Korngold's Violin Concerto at the Barbican on Tuesday 11 and Wed 12 June conducted by Andre Previn. (020 7638 8891)
Premiere of work by Mahler's friend Hans Rott, in this year's Hampstead and Highgate Festival, London, Tuesday 21 May, 7.30pm
The Andrusier Ensemble
Hans Rott Dachs Quintet (world premiere)
The Andrusier Ensemble, whose concert of music suppressed by the Third Reich won high acclaim at last year's festival, return with another fascinating programme. Mahler much admired the music of his friend Hans Rott and even borrowed from it in his symphonies. The manuscript of the Dachs Quintet was rediscovered in a library in Vienna a few years ago and has never been performed in public. Krása's skilfully crafted Theme and Variations were written shortly before his deportation to Terezín. Schoenberg's String Trio, written in America in 1946, is generally regarded as one of his finest works. The concert ends with the glorious Piano Quartet in C minor, Op. 60, by Brahms, to whom Schoenberg frequently paid homage in both his writings and his music.
Jackson's Lane, Archway Road, N6: Tickets: £10 (£7 concessions)
At 6.30pm a pre-concert event: the works in tonight's programme are discussed by Malcolm MacDonald, Tamar Andrusier and Paul Banks (free with concert ticket)
Klangwege, Vienna, MayJune 2002
Klangwege, a project of the Orpheus Trust, Austria, is dedicated to the memory of musicians and composers who lived in Vienna's 7th district and were persecuted, forced to flee or deported and murdered by the Nazi regime. It seeks to demonstrate the high quality and diversity of Vienna's musical life before 1938 and includes:
a four-week sound-installation, beginning in mid-May, at the former residences of approximately 60 musicians in the 7th district: a short fragment (no longer than 2 minutes) of music composed or performed by the former inhabitants will sound, activated by a sensor, when people pass by houses where these musicians once lived. When no original sound document is available, a 'musical signation' by Wolfgang Suppan, a young Austrian composer who lives in the 7th district, specially composed for this occasion and performed by the Klangforum Wien, will be used. The volume of the music will not be overwhelming; the idea is that people should become curious rather irritated. A placard will display the name and profession of the musician and title of the piece, while a folder will hold more detailed information. Guided tours are planned.
Live events: concerts with music by composers that lived in the 7th district, guided tours, educational programmes with the district-schools, an exposition and other events.
Opening concert 14 May: 19:00 Symphonie-Orchester der Wiener Volksoper, Conductor Julius Rudel, Siebensternplatz, 1070 Wien, featuring works by Elkan Bauer, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Emil Korolanyi, Arthur Willner
1 and 2 June, 19:30: Georg Kreisler reads from his newest works Antiquariat Buch & Wein, Schäffergasse 13a, 1040 Wien, in cooperation with Buch & Wein
8 June: Orpheus.Klangwege.Nachtlive music in the bars and cafés of the 7th district as part of the Lange Nacht der Musik (Long Night of Music)
15 June, 20:00: Portrait of the Composer Hans Holewa, Klangforum Wien, Conductor Sylvain Cambreling, Kunsthalle Wien, Halle 2, Museumsquartier, featuring works by Arnold Schönberg, Anton Webern, Hans Holewa and Wolfgang Suppan
14 May15 June: Virtual Exhibit
Also: Roundtable with Dr. Oliver Rathkolb, school projects, and the presentation of a memorial placard at the Jewish Praying House, Schottenfeldgasse 60
(Changes in the programme are possible)
Concept: Dr. Primavera Gruber, Orpheus Trust
Organisation: Orpheus Trust
With support from the Nationalfonds der Republik Österreich, Kulturamt der Stadt Wien, Bezirksvertretung Wien 7
Committee of Honour: Julius Rudel, Conductor, New York; Moshe Hans Jahoda, Vienna Representative Claims Conference; BV Mag. Thomas Blimlinger, 'Governor' 7th District; Mag. Hanna Lessing, Nationalfonds der Republik Österreich zur Entschädigung der Opfer des Nationalsozialismus; Dr. Wolfgang Petritsch, High Representative of the EU, Sarajevo; Univ.Doz.DDr. Oliver Rathkolb, Historian
West Cork Chamber-Music Festival, 29 June7 July
This year's West Cork Chamber-Music Festival has a suppressed-music
theme, featuring music by Zemlinsky, Schulhoff, Weigl and Goldschmidt
among others. Performers include cellist Natalie Clein, violinist Catherine
Leonard and the Artis Quartet. Further details at:
Salzburg Festival, Summer 2002
The Salzburg Festival, under its new Artistic Director Peter Ruzicka, has initiated a four-year programme highlighting Austrian composers who were driven into exile by the cultural policies of the Third Reich, providing a major platform for this music which will be performed by some of the world's finest orchestras, conductors and soloists.
Zemlinsky is a particular focus for this year's festival, which opens
with a new production of his final opera Der König Kandaules. It
occupied the composer from 1935 to 1936, but with no prospect of a performance
in Nazi Germany, or in the composer's adopted homeland of the USA, where
he was virtually unknown, the orchestration was left unfinished at the
time of his death in 1942. The score was reconstructed and the orchestration
completed by the world's leading Zemlinsky authority, Antony Beaumont,
in the 1990s. The role of Kandaules is sung by Robert Brubaker, with Kent
Nagano conducting the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester.
Zemlinsky's friend and compatriot Franz Schreker is also well represented: the Vienna Philharmonic under Christian Thielemann will perform the Prelude to a Drama and performances are also scheduled of the Chamber Symphony and the early dance-score Der Wind. A production of the opera Die Gezeichneten is planned for the festival in 2004.
Finally, Roger Norrington will conduct the Camerata Salzburg in the rarely heard Music for string orchestra, Op. 91, by Egon Wellesz; Wellesz' opera Die Bakchantinnen (recently released on CD Orfeo C136012H) will be staged in 2003, and will be followed in the coming summer Festivals by Korngold's Die tote Stadt and Schreker's Die Gezeichneten; Kent Nagano is the conductor.
Thanks to Philip Ward for some of this information; for dates and further
details, visit the Salzburg Festival website:
Christian Immler in Zemlinsky recital May 2002
Christian Immler winner of the 2001 Nadia and Lili Boulanger singing competition in Paris will perform songs by Zemlinsky at the Royal College of Music in London on Friday, 31 May at 7.00pm in the Concert Hall of the Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BS. It will be preceded by a lecture on Zemlinsky by musicologist Dr. Paul Banks in one of the RCM's Grove Forum lecture series on 29 May at 5.15 in the Durrington Room.
Zemlinsky Lieder: Curious! They are all poems whose content applies to you, i.e. inspired by the way I feel about you at present. You, my beautiful, my most beautiful one. Your dear, deep sea-eyes, so near, so wonderfully near thus writes Alexander von Zemlinsky to Alma Schindler, dedicatee of his op 7 Lieder, who would accept Gustav Mahler's proposal only a few months later.
The evening will be dedicated to the rediscovery of Zemlinsky's rich but underrated Lieder repertoire, including works surprisingly- no longer in publication. Baritone Christian Immler's interest in this composer was aroused after having taken part in the 'Vienna-Berlin-London' festival, where he performed a recital of 'Lieder suppressed by the Nazis' in the Purcell Room.
Christian Immler baritone, Lord & Lady Lurgan Junior Fellow
Irmelin Rose und andere Gesänge op7
(for more details of this event, please contact Christian Immler on immler[at]hotmail.com). Immler, who will be appearing at the Opera Comique in Paris in May this year, is rapidly establishing a mainstream career and has a particular interest in this repertoire. He performed at the Purcell Room at the Thwarted Voices day last November (see below) and will appear again at the Wigmore Hall in the Continental Britons concert on 9 June (see above)
Two Concerts In New York City May 19th, 2002
Alexander Zemlinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, Egon Wellesz, Viktor Ullmann, Erwin Schulhoff
Recording artist and professor of classical music in Austria Miss Eugenie Russo (born in New York City, studied in Oberlin, Vienna and Salzburg, lives in Vienna and is the head of the piano dept. at the Joseph-Matthaus-Hauer Conservatory in Wiener Neustadt) will perform on May 19th two unique solo piano performances at 3.00 p.m. & 7.00 p.m. in the event of the OPENING of the Austrian Cultural Forum in Manhattan. more under: www.acfny.org
Eugenie Russo premiered some of these works already at her successful concert in London 1999 (Leighton House), which was organised by the Austrian Cultural Forum in London. Russo has recorded many solo and duo CDs on the English label CAMPION Records and recently produced herself a handsome limited edition (500 copies) album with accompanying art-catalog IMAGES, incl. works by Brahms, Debussy and Wellesz (the only recordings of his solo piano music Opus 10 (1912) and Opus 26 81919),which are both a debut on record! Available by mail order only (price for each CD plus postage: Euro 20.-
Piano Music Dept. City of Wiener Neustadt
Review: Thwarted Voices, Music Suppressed by the Third Reich
First UK Staged Performance of Max Brand's Opera Maschinist Hopkins
On Sunday, 25 November 2001, the JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music presented six events at the South Bank centre, London, featuring music by composers whose music was suppressed by the Third Reich. Performances included the first British staging of Max Brand's successful 1929 opera, Maschinist Hopkins, as well as orchestral, vocal and chamber concerts, helping to restore this rich and nearly obliterated repertoire back into the concert hall and public domain.
The day started at 10.00am with an introductory talk, given by Michael Haas, Executive Producer of Decca's 'Entartete Musik' series and attended by over 100 people, and continued with a song recital by baritone Christian Immler with Erik Levi at the piano. It was followed by a recital of Goldschmidt, Zemlinsky, Webern and Clarke by the Vienna Piano Trio (sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum) and ended with a recital of cabaret and theatre songs by Eva Meier in the Purcell Room and a concert of Schreker, Pavel Haas, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Korngold and Schoenberg by the Yehudi Menuhin School Orchestra and soloists in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The day formed part of the series 'Vienna/Berlin/London The Trails of Creativity 19181938' promoted by the Austrian Cultural Forum and included in the Jewish Chronicle Festival of Jewish Arts and Culture.
Patron of the day, the comedian and author Barry Humphries has had a life-long interest in the banned music of the Third Reich. In an interview with The Evening Standard he said that
There are two things which Hitler gave us, coffee and chamber music! Australia was just a tea and beer drinking society before the war. But when I grew up, small coffeehouses in Melbourne were being run by Jewish refugees, who all went home and formed chamber-music groups in the evening.
I have had an interest in music, always have, ever since schooldays in Jeelong Grammar where the art master was a member of the Bauhaus. I play the piano not well, but I compose the songs which my character Dame Edna sings. I am specially interested in music of this interwar period, in fact, when the Rabbi of the Melbourne Synagogue, formerly of Berlin Liberal Synagogue until the Nazis burned it down, played me his recording of Krenek's Jonny Spielt Auf, I really heard what a hit it was and began to think that my spiritual home had been in the Weimar Republic.
In his introduction on stage at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in the afternoon to Max Brand's opera, Maschinist Hopkins (a work often considered comparable to Krenek's Jonny), Humphries held up a bundle of musical scores which he had come across as a youth in a second hand bookshop in Melbourne. They may have come from the estate of some forgotten refugee and included works by many of the composers whose works were being performed in the day's events: Schoenberg, Weill, Korngold, Zemlinsky and the Viennese composer Franz Schreker, teacher to so many German and Austrian composers and perhaps the key to the whole period. Humphries told the large audience how he had written to record shops in Western cities asking for Schreker recordings, only to be met with blank responses. On his first visit to Vienna, he was baffled to find that even there no one had heard of him. Since Schreker's traumatised death in 1934, having been dismissed from his job at the Berlin Hochschule, he had been completely forgotten. Humphries said. 'The Nazis did a pretty good job of stamping out an entire cultural manifestation' (Christopher Hailey's article 'Franz Schreker and the Pluralities of Modernism' can be found in section 6, below).
The same fate was true of Max Brand, who studied with Schreker. His opera Maschinist Hopkins was one of the most successful shows in Europe, with forty different productions from 1929 until it was banned in 1933. As relevant today as when first written, Maschinist Hopkins explores the influence of new technology on the way we live. Blending grand operatic ambitions with a cinematically inspired plot, riotous 1920s jazz, popular dance idioms, Puccini-esque emotional intensity and the musical expressionism of Strauss and Berg, Brand created an operatic sensation. In Barry Humphries' words 'it's a very curious piece with machines singing, industrial effects, sentimentality mixed with very jazzy effects. It's like listening to Alban Berg then suddenly you get a crossed line with Paul Whiteman's band'.
The opera was a Baker's Opera/Cambridge University Opera Society production, conducted by Peter Tregear, directed by Katja Lehmann and designed by Ruth Paton, presented by the Jewish Music Institute; it was supported by the Faculty of Music and Department of German of the University of Cambridge, BP plc, Lord Ashdown Charitable Settlement, and the German Embassy, London. It attracted a large audience of musicians, scholars and public. Rodney Milnes in The Times said 'It's a fine work, moving through 12 scenes in about two hours. There is dramatic pace, interesting orchestration and really inventive choral writing for the machines [ .] with not a dull moment musically, Hopkins is definitely worth reviving, if only as a snapshot of a whole era'. Tim Ashley, writing in The Guardian, reported that 'its influence was colossal, Brand's mingling of Schoenbergian serialism and jazz had a major effect on Berg's Lulu. The machines are chillingly anthropomorphic producing atmospheric sprechstimme and choral melismas that pre-empt Schoenberg's own music for the voice of God in Moses and Aron'. In The Daily Telegraph Matthew Rye wrote that 'We are familiar with early 20th Century Romanticism and post-war modernism, but gone, or at least long lost to our ears, was a good part of music that made the link between the two, music by predominantly Jewish musicians who in one way or another were silenced by the Nazis'. He went on to say:
An invigorating day organised by the Jewish Music Institute on the theme of these 'Thwarted Voices' provided [ ] evidence of the riches waiting to be unearthed. Events included an ear-opening recital of long-lost song repertoire [ ] and an outstanding chamber concert by the Vienna Piano Trio. The centrepiece was the British stage premiere of Brand's Maschinist Hopkins. [ ] It's easy to see why it was such a hit with this cinematic politicised plot, requiring a spectacular staging with music to suit all tastes. [ ]. All sang marvellously but only the three principals James Hancock, Carmel Gutteridge and Stephen Bowen showed enough evidence of acting experience to make Katja Lehmann's updated and necessarily frugal staging come to life. [ ] it was wonderful to have the chance to hear this score, which despite reservations about its coherence, must be regarded as more than a footnote to musical history.
For The Independent Anna Picard wrote that 'the first staged revival in Britain [ ] revealed a terrific work, meaty, stylish, witty and enjoyably nasty with music equal to Berg and considerably finer than Weill. [ ]. A word about the performance's highlights. Firstly young director Katja Lehmann's superb use of minimally expensive and maximally effective video projection, secondly, the spirited playing of the large (Cambridge University Symphony) Orchestra under Peter Tregear's vivid direction, thirdly soprano Carmel Gutteridge (as Nell) who demonstrated a powerful presence and a very exciting operatic talent in the making. I only hope that representatives from the major opera companies were there, for Maschinist Hopkins deserves a serious big budget revival'.
Laurence Joffe of The Jewish Chronicle was particularly struck by the fact that young musicians from Cambridge and the Yehudi Menuhin School were embracing this repertoire. He wrote:
under the baton of Malcolm Singer, former conductor of the Zemel Choir they performed with exceptional poise and maturity Pavel Haas' Study for Strings, composed in the Terezín Camp in 1944, and Karl Amadeus Hartman's Concerto Funebre composed in 1939. For me the real revelation was the orchestra's final piece, Schoenberg's half-hour long Verklärte Nacht played by these teenagers with astounding unity of purpose. Seeing young faces from apparently every continent revelling in this legacy, you can almost imagine the composers smiling over the fact that the injustice and bigotry did not, after all, destroy their work.
Review: Holocaust Day Memorial Concert
Natalie Clein cello and her cousin the Playwright Julia Pascal, presented
a concert for the national Holocaust Memorial Day at London's Purcell
Room (29 January 2002) with music by Schulhoff, Gideon Klein, Goldschmidt
and Krása and extracts from Julia's Holocaust related plays. This
was reviewed on 'Music on the Web' by Martin Anderson at
Review: Brundibár in Berlin and Pittsburgh
A review of recent performances of Krása's Brundibár at
the Jewish Museum in Berlin can be found online
New Korngold Releases
Brendan Carroll supplies the following information:
a new CD of Lieder (including fourteen unpublished songs) has been made by the fabulous baritone Dietrich Henschel (with Helmut Deutsch at piano) for Harmonia Mundi: released September
a new CD of the Sextet, Op. 10 has just been issued on Supraphon by members of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra
Volume 3 in ASV's Orchestral Music Series (Bruckner Orchestra Linz/Richter) has been finished and includes the world-premiere recording of the Prayer (based on a text by Franz Werfel) composed for the Los Angeles Jewish Community. The CD also includes orchestral songs, the tone poem Tomorrow and an extended suite from the incidental score to Much Ado About Nothing release: June.
Turner has just released Anthony Adverse, Escape Me Never and Kings Row for the first time on video and DVD
The film documentary Between Two Worlds made by ARTE in 2000 will be released on DVD later this year, in German and English.
A record of Jewish musical life in Nazi Berlin,
This documentation is proof of the victory of life over death: priceless sound documents have been rescued, then restored with a considerable expenditure of technological effort and, after sixty years, made available once more for all time.
Under constant surveillance by the Gestapo, the members of the Jüdischer Kulturbund (Jewish Cultural League) in Berlin were able to pursue their artistic activities and make and distribute records. Some of the titles recorded in Berlin were released in Palestine in 193436 forming part of the early history of Israel's record industry. These records, scattered throughout the world, exist for the most part only as single copies or test pressings. The repertoire is wide and includes classical music, Yiddish comedians, German cabaret, Palestinian folk songs and, above all, cantorial singing of enormous eloquence.
This edition consists of eleven CDs with a total playing time of more than 14 hours of music and a DVD with a reconstructed version of the sound film Hebräische Melodie ('Hebrew Melody') featuring the violinist Andreas Weissgerbera film believed lost but now presented here for the first time.
The accompanying hardback book is profusely illustrated and presented in both German and English. The text has been jointly prepared by the biographer Horst H. J. P. Bergmeier, the historian Ejal Jakob Eisler and the discographer Rainer E. Lotz, and also contains an introduction by Rabbi Andreas Nachama, a foreword by Henryk Broder, an 'Introduction to the Jewish Liturgy' by Rabbi David Polnauer as well as an explanation of sound-recording techniques by the sound engineer Robert M. Laue.
Details of the contents can be found at
BCD 16030 LM
The two-CD of Wellesz's opera Die Bakchantinnen (Berlin Symphony Orchestra,
cond. Gerd Albrecht) on Orfeo (C136002H) was released in the UK on 8 April
The Hitler Émigrés: Daniel Snowman's new book and BBC Radio 3 evening
Daniel Snowman's new book The Hitler Émigrés: The Cultural Impact on Britain of Refugees from Nazism, comes out on 2 May 2002 (Chatto & Windus, £20). This book tells the story of an extraordinarily talented group of people who escaped the shadow of Nazism. The cultural and intellectual impact of this band of brothers (and some sisters) upon Britain and the wider world was far in excess of their numbers. Their names amount to a virtual 'Who's Who' of all the talents and include some of the modern world's most celebrated artists, architects, musicians, film makers, photographers, choreographers, historians, philosophers, psychologists, scientists, publishers and broadcasters. Who were these people, where did they come from, what did they bring with them, how were they received and what impact did they have on their adopted country and beyond? What resulted when the refined world of Bloomsbury, Vaughan Williams and Noel Coward gave asylum to the cultural legacy of European 'Modernism', of Freud and Schoenberg, Bauhaus architecture and Berlin cabaret?
Daniel Snowman, who believes that nowhere is this influence stronger than in the field of music, has spent a lifetime absorbing the work of the European émigrés and has met and interviewed many of the most famous. In his new book, he presents a dazzling array of individual portraits, skilfully weaving these into the broader skein of cultural history from the 1930s to the present. He includes close-up assessments of the work of Ernst Gombrich, Karl Popper, Arthur Koestler, Nikolaus Pevsner, Georg Solti, Claus Moser, Hans Keller, Eric Hobsbawm, George Weidenfeld and the Amadeus Quartet. Many of the émigrés, Snowman finds, were natural 'bridge-builders' who helped enrich their (in some ways) insular new homeland with fresh insights from continental Europe. A number of distinguished exiles (for example, Gropius, Szilard, Adorno, Hayek and Rudolf Bing) moved on from Britain to the USA where they joined Einstein, Mann, Schoenberg et al.; others went to Canada, Australia, South Africa and Palestine/Israel. Thus Hitler, far from eliminating the cosmopolitan culture he so abhorred, helped spread it throughout the world. Of all the cultural contributions of the refugees, music was probably the biggest if you include performers and entrepreneurs as well as composers.
Subscribers to the IFSM newsletter would find this book of considerable interest. You can order your copy by sending an email to jmduk[at]hotmail.com, adding your address to send it to and a credit-card number; or you can fax this information to +44 (0)1323 832 863
On Monday 6 May, there will be a whole evening from 7.30 pm until midnight, on BBC Radio 3, devoted to these culture carriers the Hitler Émigrés and their artistic and cultural impact on Britain. Throughout the week, 'Morning Performance' on Radio 3 will pick up the theme and include works by a number of the émigré composers.
Jüdische Musik in SowjetRußland
No point in beating about the bush: this is an excellent book, crammed full of interesting and important information, thoroughly practical in its approach; it will be of enormous value to musicians and musicologists examining its subject the school of Jewish composers in Soviet Russia and deserves rapid translation into English.
The book assembles both historical and recent scholarship. An essay by Sussman Kisselhof on 'Das jüdische Volkslied' from 1913 and from Leonid Sabaneyev on 'Die nationale jüdische Schule in der Musik' from 1924 and on Mikhail Gnessin from 1929 (for example) rub shoulders with newer contributions from Izaly Zemtsovsky, Galina Kopytowa, Beate Schröder-Nauenburg, Friedrich Geiger and, especially, Jascha Nemtsov. The composers covered are Joseph Achron (18861943), Mikhail Gnessin (18831957), Alexander and Grigori Krein (18831951 and 18791955), Lazare Saminsky (18821959), Moshe Milner (18861953) and Alexander Veprik (18991958), each treated in turn an entire school of which almost nothing is now remembered. The essays generally offer a biographical outline and an assessment of the music and, of vital importance of getting this music off the ground again, for each composer there's a chronological list of compositions, with publication details. And even if you don't have a word of German, this is where your eyes will bulge at the sheer amount of music to be re-examined. I wonder what Gnessin's Requiem (which in fact is a piano quintet from 191214) is like; Alexander Krein's Elegy (1914) for string quartet or string orchestra, his 'symphonic cantata' Kaddisch (192122) or his two symphonies; Moshe Milner's Symphonic Variations on a Theme of Schubert for orchestra (1928); Veprik's Sinfonietta (1948) or the many pieces he wrote on Kirghiz folk-melodies; Grigori Krein's symphonic poem Saul and David (c. 1922) works all chosen at random. There's enough music here to keep teams of string-players, singers, pianists, choruses and orchestras occupied for years. Some of the music, of course, is probably lost for good, either destroyed in war or on the bottom shelves of some forgotten archive, but the bulk of it seems to have survived, and presents a research and performance agenda that intellectually curious musicians and academics ought to find hard to resist.
Jascha Nemtsov and Ernst Kuhn deserve all praise and congratulation for this fascinating volume. It's rare that a book so completely holds my attention and so generously rewards it.
Studia slavica musicologica, Vol. 15, Verlag Ernst Kuhn, Berlin, 2002, x+383pp, ISBN 3-928864-65-2) (Eur 49.95); also available as a CD-ROM (Word for Windows 6.0 and above) at the same price (ISBN 3-928864-73-4)
1. 'Franz Schreker and The Pluralities of Modernism'
Vienna's credentials as a cradle of modernism are too familiar to need rehearsing. Freud, Kraus, Schnitzler, Musil, Wittgenstein, Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka conjure up a world at once iridescent and lowering, voluptuously self-indulgent and coolly analytical. Arnold Schoenberg has been accorded pride of place as Vienna's quintessential musical modernist who confronted the crisis of language and meaning by emancipating dissonance and, a decade later, installing a new serial order. It is a tidy narrative and one largely established in the years after the Second World War by a generation of students and disciples intent upon reasserting disrupted continuities. That such continuities never existed is beside the point; it was a useful and, for its time, productive revision of history because it was fuelled by the excitement of discovery.
Revision always entails excision, and over the decades it became increasingly obvious that this narrative of Viennese modernism was a gross simplification. The re-discovery of Mahler was the first bump in the road, and attempts to portray him as Schoenberg's John the Baptist were subverted by the enormous force of Mahler's own personality and a popularity which soon generated its own self-sustaining momentum. In recent years other voices have emerged that could not be accommodated into the narrative, including Alexander Zemlinsky, Franz Schmidt, Egon Wellesz, Karl Weigl, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and most vexing of all Franz Schreker. Long banished out of hand, Schreker was subsequently marginalised as a late Romantic and allotted a mini-orbit of his own. But a strange thing happened. With the experience of his music, music historythat history created by our earsbegan to change. Received notions could no longer account for a simple and defining feature of Viennese modernism: its remarkable pluralism. Before 1914 Vienna was a cosmopolitan intersection of cultures and ideas, its music the reflection of that multicultural diversity that was the Hapsburg Empire's glory and its doom. After 1918 Austrians, shorn of their empire, sought to compensate their loss by a fatal identification with German culture. It was this crisis of identity that prompted Schoenberg's triumphant and defiant proclamation of a discovery that would assure Germany musical hegemony for the next hundred years; at about the same time another Austrian proclaimed a Reich ten times that span. Schoenberg's prophecy proved only marginally more accurate.
Schoenberg's pronouncement was more than cultural opportunism. His conservative temperament, his outsider statusas an Austrian, a Jew, an autodidact, and a modernistall reinforced his need for identification and it was an identification that sought its roots above all in history. Schoenberg claimed the legacy of Bach, the mantle of Brahms, and the revolution of Wagner, and above all the heritage of the Viennese classical tradition. As an historical concept, 'Second Viennese School' hovers somewhere between an inspired marketing strategy and a bold coup d'état. It posits a dynasty where none existed and then usurps for itself the right of succession. The existence of either 'school' is debatable, and neither can lay claim to being particularly 'Viennese'. On its face the concept is nakedly fraudulent and its fraudulence lies in its exclusivity, although one should hasten to add that the term itself (and the exclusivity it implies) was less Schoenberg's creation than that of his students and the generation of disciples that followed.
Co-opting history was a pendant to Schoenberg's obsession with organic continuity. The breakthrough to atonality was justified as historical necessity, while the method of pitch organisation purporting to tame these unleashed forces derived its authority from an abstraction of historical practice. To be sure, organicism such as one finds in Schoenberg's vaunted developing variation is present in certain works by Haydn, Beethoven, and Brahms but it was Schoenberg who made it an article of faith, a moral categoryand a cornerstone of Viennese tradition. To do this required ignoring other, equally characteristic aspects of Viennese and Austrian culture including the love of gaudy display, sensuous theatricality, lyric breadth, epic structure, and a fondness for the absurd, the inorganic, the unmediated, the very idea of disruption. Disruption was in fact a central category of the Viennese experience. As a microcosm and cultural crossroads of the Hapsburg Empire, Vienna was accustomed to juxtaposed incongruities, examples of which are evident in its art, literature, theatre and architecture over at least a millennium. In music this quality is demonstrably present in the works of its classical masters, as well in music by Gluck and Dittersdorf, Schubert and Bruckner, and others who fit less comfortably into the 'classical' mould. The most significant challenge to Schoenberg's narrow definition of Viennese tradition lay still closer at hand: Gustav Mahler.
Familiarity and relentless marketing have blunted our appreciation of Mahler's radical challenge. We forget how very shocking and, yes, tasteless, his music can be and we would do well to read with empathy the reviews of uncomprehending contemporary critics for they, far more than Mahler's acolytes, tell us why this music is still so vital and, if it is to remain so, how to recapture something of its affront. Evidence of that affront can be found in the difficulty it presented for Arnold Schoenberg, whose music is so very antithetical to that of Mahler. Schoenberg's music is centrifugal, it aspires to self-sufficiency, to a kind of hegemonic control; Mahler's music is centripetal; it makes no proclamations of cultural supremacy, but instead sends reports from the provinces. There is irony, even a tinge of betrayal in the fact that this ambitious outsider clawed his way into the centre, to the directorship of the Vienna Court Opera, where he ruled like a pope; he exercised powers Schoenberg could only envy.
Mahler is a useful starting point for approaching Franz Schreker. Like Mahler, Schreker came from the periphery. He was born in Monaco in 1878, his father, a Bohemian-born Hungarian Jew converted to Protestantism, was an established portrait photographer accredited to numerous European courts. Schreker's mother, an Austrian Catholic, was the scion of minor nobility; her marriage to Ignaz Schrecker scandalised her family. The dissonance of his parentage, the itinerant life of his childhood (Monaco, Brussels, Spa, Paris, Pola, Linz), the early death of his father, the family's sudden impoverishment, and the death of a beloved sister, explain much about Schreker's aesthetic proclivity toward disjunction, reversal, and abrupt contrast. As an aurally and visually impressionable child Schreker came to consciousness in a series of widely disparate cultural, linguistic, and musical environments that defied seamless integration.
Schreker was ten when his newly widowed mother moved with her four children to Vienna in 1888. Four years later Schreker entered the Vienna conservatory where his principle teachers were the violinist Arnold Rosé and the composer Robert Fuchs, who had also taught Mahler, Wolf and Zemlinsky. Schreker graduated with distinction in 1900 but as he shed the thin Brahmsian veneer of his training what emerged was a seething concoction of influences at least as much Italian and French as German in origin. A first opera, Flammen (19012), points the way to the breakthrough that came with his second, Der ferne Klang (c. 190310).
Der ferne Klang is a radical departure from Wagner, both in musical language and subject matter. Its stylistic and aesthetic multiplicity contrasts evocative Romanticism with seedy Naturalism, mystical symbolism with penetrating psychoanalytical insight. The juxtaposition of musical worlds, most notably in the second act, suggests an aesthetic affinity with Mahler, although there is no evidence of direct influence. Indeed, Schreker had little early appreciation of Mahler's music and no love for Mahler as a cultural icon. There are occasional reminiscencesthe Ländler that accompanies the Schmierenschauspieler's scene in the first act has a certain Wunderhorn feelingalthough they are fleeting and may even be instances of ironic allusion. But as with Mahler there is a unmistakable compositional identity behind Schreker's stylistic multiplicity. His orchestration, harmonic language, motivic design and structural organisation are uniquely his own and owe little to Brahms or Wagner, or to that synthesis of the two that we hear in the early works of Zemlinsky and Schoenberg. One is tempted to posit the influence of French Impressionism but aside from Charpentier's Louise the composer knew little contemporary French music at this time. Schreker seems to emerge from nowhere with a wholly idiosyncratic musical language, whose originality lies less in a fusion of impulses than in a daring montage of often clearly identifiable sources. It is a creative phenomenon that recalls not only Mahler but Hector Berlioz, another voice from the periphery whose individuality lies more in juxtaposition than in synthesis.
Der ferne Klangthe distant soundis a fitting metaphor for Schreker's own struggle to find his voice because it captures something essential about the nature of his search, the quality of his aural experience. More diffident than Schoenberg, he is a composer straining to hear from afar, a detached but empathetic observer, a stenographer of the soul. Schreker's title also evokes his links to Romanticism, although it is Romanticism filtered through turn-of-the-century sensibilities. Schreker is fully cognisant of that crisis of language and authenticity so powerfully formulated by Hugo von Hofmannsthal in his Lord Chandos Letter of 1902.
In the traditional narrative of Viennese modernism that crisis in language is equated with the crisis of tonality in which the emancipation of dissonance was a courageous recognition of necessary consequence. The explosive energy of Schoenberg's dissonance thus came from within the materials of music itself and by a process of abstraction the composer would eventually create a constructive syntax to harness its eruptive force and relativize its expressive meaning. But dissonance can take many forms. Schreker's music, though often verging on atonality, remains referential and derives its tension from the contrast of existing elements, refusing both synthesis and resolution into a higher abstraction. His approach, like that of Mahler, is paratactic rather than syntactic, an aesthetic of allusion and plurality involving structural strategies far removed from those of Schoenberg and his circle. It is, in short, a radically different kind of Viennese modernism.
Not surprisingly, given his childhood experiences, Schreker's frame of cultural reference is much broader than that of Mahler. Mahler's music is geographically and temporally focusedBohemia and Austria through the lens of German Romanticism and folklore. Schreker's music lacks fixed geographic, even temporal orientation and as a result it also lacks Mahler's deep-seated nostalgia. For all its luscious opulence, this music is surprisingly unsentimental, its extravagance undercut with bitter irony. This makes Schreker difficult. He is not Strauss or Korngold (for whom nostalgia is likewise a potent aesthetic category) and he sabotages the easy listening they encourage by withholding the affirmative pleasure of melodic gratification. It is not true that Schreker cannot write melodies; they exist in profusion but are usually broken off, abandoned, as it were, at birth. Think of the third act reunions between Grete and Fritz in Der ferne Klang, or of Smee and his wife in Der Schmied von Gent. What wouldn't Strauss have done with the very musical material Schreker provides what duets they would have become! Strauss would have given us what Schreker, in the interest of dramatic truth, steadfastly refuses. In this regard Schreker and Schoenberg share a belief in concentrated experience and the unrepeatable moment. This imposes upon the listener a new sense of temporal urgency and results in a nervous density of ideas that requires attentive listening.
But Schreker is no stern ascetic and for this the purists (the prudish Adorno) charged him with pubescent indulgence. Schreker does indulge and enjoin (though usually in vain) the gorgeous moment to abide, and because he is above all a man of the theatre he does so with all the extra-musical resources at his disposal. Schreker embraces beauty but also admonishes usfor he, too, is at core a moralistthat it is fleeting. His famous Klangrausch, like E. T. A. Hoffmann's aeolian harp, is a fata morgana, a mirage that contains within itself a prickly warning that its allures are evanescent. Schreker is both the wily Wizard of Oz and the impish Toto who draws back the curtain to reveal the artifice of art. Art, divorced from life, Schreker cautions, is hollow magic. He does not condemn sensuous indulgence; rather, it must be the highest expression of our humanity. It is naked humanity, shivering, vulnerable, betrayed by art and stripped of its illusions, that we encounter at the close Grete, Alviano, Amandus at the end of Der ferne Klang, Die Gezeichneten, and Der singende Teufel.
Schreker proved an easy target for the Nazis who disdained his empathy for outsiders and charged him with promoting sexual perversion. The latter charge survives today because Schreker's frank treatment of sexual longing, that most private sphere of human experience, continues to threaten vested power structures. It is impossible to imagine a fascist appropriation of these operas although ironically the facile sensationalism of numerous post-war Schreker productions has perpetuated the Nazis' accusation. Both detractors and would-be champions overlook the composer's principal concern: the human condition in all its contingency and fragility. Schreker's menagerie of dreamers and outcasts, cynical voluptuaries and disillusioned idealists certainly owes something to the diversity of his own experiences. His letters and reminiscences suggest that as a young man he inhabited a world of fluid social boundaries, boundaries regularly crossed in his librettos and music in ways that continue to appall his critics. In this regard he can count Shakespeare and Schnitzler among his models.
Schreker shares his solidarity with life's outcasts and misfits with Alexander Zemlinsky, for whom he originally wrote the libretto to Die Gezeichneten (in its stead Zemlinsky composed Oscar Wilde's 'The Birthday of the Infanta' under the title Der Zwerg). Both composers had a profound influence upon Alban Berg, who prepared the piano vocal score of Der ferne Klang, and Wozzeck and Lulu are unthinkable without their example. Indeed, Zemlinsky, Schreker and Berg represent an aesthetic and musical triumvirate at least as compelling as the more familiar constellation of Berg, Schoenberg and Webern. To tell the story of Viennese modernism through its operas would necessitate redrawing the city's artistic faultlines.
Schreker's own success as an opera composer far outstripped that of his Viennese contemporaries and in the years following the First World War new productions of his works even exceeded in number those of Richard Strauss. But Schreker's successes coincided with the height of Germany's post-war inflation, a coincidence not lost on his critics who noted that his decline began with economic stabilisation. His sixth opera, Irrelohe (1924), was only a moderate success and the response to Der singende Teufel (1928) was lukewarm at best. It was a different age in which younger composersHindemith, Weill, Eisler, as well as Schreker's own students, including Ernst Krenek, Alois Hába, Felix Petryek, Wilhelm Grosz, Max Brand, Karol Rathaus, Berthold Goldschmidt and Ignace Strasfogel (what other teacher produced such a diverse class?)took the lead. Composers of an older generationStrauss, Pfitzner, Zemlinsky and Schoenbergfound themselves on the sidelines. All responded to the transformed environment, but none more imaginatively than Franz Schreker.
As director of the Berlin Musikhochschule from 1920 to 1932 Schreker was in a position to observe contemporary developments first hand, and the ear that once strained to capture distant sounds proved no less adept in processing impulses from an age focused on the here and now. Schreker's creative engagement with his times began with its technology. Few composers spent more time in the recording studio and fewer still recorded so many of their own works. Schreker was likewise at home in the broadcast studio, and his Little Suite of 1928 was one of the first works specifically conceived for the radio. His Four Little Pieces (1929/30) were written for film, part of the same project for which Schoenberg's wrote his op. 34. Late in his life Schreker served as the artistic director for a pioneering series of concert films. There were even plans for a film version of Der ferne Klang, a work whose music and dramaturgy anticipated so many film techniques, including montage, split screen, flashback, jump-cut and the establishing shot.
In the 1920s Schreker's music becomes lean and sinewy, a disappointment to those expecting the luxuriant Klangrausch of old. What critics fail to recognise is that the twisting lines, pungent dissonances, rhythmic quirks, the barbs and jagged shards of the composer's later work were ever present in his music, just below its rich, sumptuous surface. When performances of Schreker's early works bring out these elements the later works emerge for what they area response to the bracing, sober world of Berlin through distillation, a classic 'late style' such as one finds in Beethoven, Mahler or Shostakovich. The wiry linearity of the Little Suite (1928) suggests the influence of Neue Sachlichkeit, its closed forms and counterpoint the garb of Neo-Classicism, but this music's expressive urgency and pliant phrasing, so evident in the composer's own recording of the work, reveals the relationship to the Schreker of old. It is, incidentally, in his late works that one begins to hear echoes of Mahler, as, for instance, in the Incalzando from his Four Little Pieces for film.
A similar process of transformation is evident in the themes of Schreker's later operas in which art and politics are increasingly enmeshed. In Der singende Teufel, grim and austere, a musical utopia is co-opted by totalitarian orthodoxy, and in the comic folk opera Der Schmied von Gent, a tale of political repression and resistance, damnation and salvation, there is a sinister undertone that would be amplified by the Nazi demonstrations that marred the work's Berlin premiere in 1932. Surely the most enigmatic and beguiling of Schreker's last operasand one of the most radical stage works of the 1920sis Christophorus, or the Vision of an Opera, written between 1925 and 1929, but not premiered until 1978. Christophorus, part satiric Zeitoper, part morality tale, is the artistic testament of Schreker's Berlin years. This modern retelling of the legend of St Christopher is a parable of the limits of representation and as such offers an intriguing pendant to Schoenberg's Moses und Aron. It is no coincidence that Christophorus is dedicated to Arnold Schoenberg, a fact that has, until recently, gone unnoticed in the Schoenberg literature.
Music history is ultimately the creation of our ears and Schreker's emergence from the shadows is gradually transforming and expanding our understanding of Viennese modernism. Kurt Blaukopf apostrophised Mahler as a contemporary of the future, but this is true of any composer whose music has the capacity to redefine itself within new contexts. Critics once attributed Schreker's colourful orchestration to self-indulgence and a lack of rigour; today we hear how he anticipated numerous post-War developments, including the timbral fields of Lutoslawski, Ligeti and the spectral composers. Vassily Sinaisky's first Chandos recording of Schreker's orchestral music makes a compelling case for hearing Schreker in this way. In a famous passage on Klangfarbenmelodie in his Harmonielehre of 1911 Schoenberg speculates on the expressive and structural potential for tone colour. He no doubt had the third of his Orchestra Pieces, Op. 16, in mind, but his remarks are equally applicable to Schreker. We still lack the vocabulary to describe music's timbral dimension but recent analysis confirms that Schreker deployed his instrumental effects to carefully thought-out dramatic and structural ends. Schreker's sound world captivated his contemporaries. Its influence on Berg has been noted but there are surprising affinities to Anton Webern, as well. Schreker and Webern are not opposites, as one might suppose, but intimately linked through the precision of their timbral imaginationthis, too, an unexplored chapter of Viennese modernism.
Michael Gielen, a modernist steeped in the works of Schoenberg, Webern, and Berg, recently led a new production of Der ferne Klang at the Berlin Staatsoper. Affinities and differences between Schreker and his contemporaries emerged in sharp relief through Gielen's close attention to detail. Gielen's Schreker is altogether edgier, more rhythmically profiled, more dissonant than that of Sinaisky; he captures the caustic, acerbic side of the composer's personality, accentuates the dislocations in his musicand points the way to Schreker's late works. Gielen and Sinaisky offer complementary approaches to this music and both confirm Schreker's continuing modernity.
One means of discovering an idiomatic interpretative approach to Schreker's scores is to listen to the composer's own recordings and to the post-War performances of that handful of conductorsHermann Scherchen, Robert Heger, Winfried Zillig and Hans Rosbaudwho were still part of the Schreker performance tradition. A 1965 radio performance of Schreker's Whitman cycle, Vom ewigen Leben, with Helen Donath under Hermann Scherchen, who led the work's 1929 premiere, remains, despite orchestral flaws, a benchmark of pliant, flexible phrasing and subtle interplay of lines. Donath is the ideal Schreker soprano, never heavy, always lithe, supple, expressive, and intonationally secure. No currently available recording of any Schreker work comes remotely close to matching the enchantment of her performance.
The start of a new century has set us to re-thinking the contours of the old. Early twentieth-century modernism is no longer the monolith it was, or rather, so many of its contradictory facets have emerged to demonstrate 'modernism' to be a monolith that never was. This process of historical revision has gone hand-in-hand with an urge to redress injustice by cultivating music suppressed by political or aesthetic orthodoxies. Our current preoccupation with victims should not obscure the fact that there are reasons more pressing than guilt, resentment, moral crusading, and idle curiosity to unearth forgotten scores. Franz Schreker offers an example of a discovery that challenges us to re-think familiar terrain, to stretch our ears in ways that re-write history, and open fresh perspectives on to the creative energies of our time. In twenty years a more familiar Franz Schreker will be a different composer. His present significance lies in his unfamiliarity, in his recalcitrance. He forces us to re-open our discourse about music history, to pose new questions, and the quality of those questions will determine how future generations judge the integrity of our historical revision. Re-thinking notions of twentieth-century Viennese modernism does not mean re-positioning Franz Schreker, or Alexander Zemlinsky, or even Gustav Mahler in the centre of the narrative, but expanding the circumference of our inquiry to allow other voices to inform our understanding of a cultural environment that was, like our own, a world of pluralities.
1. Schreker's recordings of his own works include his Tanzspiel (Rokoko), Der Geburtstag der Infantin (twice), the interlude from Der Schatzgräber and the Little Suite, as well as excerpts from Der ferne Klang, Die Gezeichneten and Der Schatzgräber, with Maria Schreker as soloist. There is, moreover, a test pressing of the introduction to the third act of Die Gezeichneten, as well as tantalising evidence of an unreleased and now lost studio production of the Chamber Symphony. A forthcoming multiple-CD set of Schreker's extant recordings (including additional broadcast material) is planned for release by Symposium in 2002.
2. The series was produced by Eberhard Frowein during 1932 and 1933 under the title 'Das Weltkonzert' and the six films with which Schreker was involved included Rossini's Wilhelm Tell Overture under Max von Schillings, Weber's Oberon Overture under Bruno Walter, Wagner's Meistersinger Overture under Leo Blech, Johann Strauss' On the Beautiful Blue Danube under Erich Kleiber, Nicolai's Merry Wives of Windsor Overture under Fritz Stiedry, and Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture under Fritz Busch. Financial difficulties intervened before Schreker could film his own performance of his orchestration of Liszt's Second Hungarian Rhapsody.
3. The premiere of Christophorus, originally scheduled for Freiburg in Breisgau during 193233 season, fell victim to the political events of that year. For background on the genesis of the work see Christopher Hailey, 'Zur Entstehungsgeschichte Franz Schreker's Christophorus' in Elmar Budde and Rudolf Stephan (eds.), Franz-Schreker-Symposium, Colloquium Verlag, Berlin, 1980, pp. 11540.
4. Aspects of the relationship between Christophorus and Moses and Aron are treated in Christopher Hailey, 'Between Modernism and Modernity: Schönberg and Schreker in Berlin', Arnold Schönberg in Berlin. Arnold Schönberg Center, Vienna, 2001, pp. 5869.
5. Sinaisky's recording with the BBC Philharmonic (Chandos CHAN 9797) appeared in 2000 and includes the Prelude to a Drama, Valse lente, Ekkehard, Op. 12, the symphonic interlude from Der Schatzgräber, the Nachtstück from Der ferne Klang, and the Fantastic Overture, Op. 15.
6. See Schoenberg, Theory of Harmony, translated by Roy E. Carter, Faber & Faber, London, 1978, pp. 421ff.
7. See Ulrike Kienzle, Das Trauma hinter dem Traum, Franz Schrekers Oper 'Der ferne Klang' und die Wiener Moderne, Argus Verlag, Schliengen 1998, and Gösta Neuwirth, Die Harmonik in der Oper 'Der ferne Klang' von Franz Schreker, Gustav Bosse Verlag, Regensburg 1972. More recently Neuwirth has sought to extend his reading of Schreker's application of psychoanalytical processes to music structure, which he has called a grammar of the unconscious; see 'Greta-Grete', in Ralf Waldschmidt (ed.), Franz Schreker: Der ferne Klang, Insel Verlag, Frankfurt, 2001, pp. 8696.
8. See Nicholas Chadwick, 'Franz Schreker's Orchestral Style and its Influence on Alban Berg', Music Review, XXXV/1 (1974), pp. 2946. A proximity to Schreker's use of the orchestra is evident in Webern's early orchestra pieces, Opp. 6 and 10.
9. The Berlin Staatsoper production of Der ferne Klang had its premiere on 21 October 2001 in a staging by Peter Mussbach.
10. Of particular note are Winfried Zillig's performances of Der ferne Klang (Hamburg, 1955) and Die Gezeichneten (Hamburg, 1960); Robert Heger's recording of Der Schatzgräber (Vienna, 1967); Hans Rosbaud's of premiere of the Vorspiel zu einer grossen Oper (Baden-Baden, 1958); and Hermann Scherchen's performance of Vom ewigen Leben (1965).
Tempo, the independent quarterly review of modern music, has been in continuous publication since 1939 and has long been internationally recognised as the leading English-language journal devoted exclusively to serious music composed from 1900 to the present day. The current international subscription to Tempo, inclusive of postage and packing, is £19.50 for individuals in the UK and Eire, or £21.50 from overseas. If you represent an institution such as a library or university music department the annual rate is £29.50 (or £31.50 from overseas). Subscriptions should be mailed to the Tempo Editorial and Subscription Office, 295 Regent Street, London W1B 2JH, UK, or you can subscribe online via the website at www.temporeview.com.
Tempo No. 219, January 2002, has articles on Schoenberg by Mark Doran and David Matthews and on Wellesz by Philip Ward as well as Christopher Hailey's Schreker article above. In issue No. 220, devoted in large measure to the music of central and eastern Europe and published at the beginning of April, Beata Boleslawska discusses Andrzej Panufnik's experience under the communist regime in post-war Poland, Alexander Ivashkin reviews Shostakovich's correspondence with his friend Isaak Glikman, and David Drew reports from Berlin on the rediscovery of Schoenberg's pupil Norbert von Hannenheim.
2. Carl F. Flesch on 'Ordinary Germans and Suppressed Music'
Carl F. Flesch, son of the violinist Carl Flesch and himself an escapee
from Nazi Germany in 1934, considers the reasons for the acquiescence
of the German population to the cultural policies of Hitler's regime;
he counsels caution in the search for forgotten composers. His essay can
be found online at the LudwigvanWeb site
3. Heinrich Schalit and Weimar Jewish Music
My article 'Heinrich Schalit and Weimar Jewish Music' has recently been published in the 2001 issue, Vol. XV, of Musica Judaica, the journal of the American Society for Jewish Music. It describes a distinct genre of Jewish music that developed in Germany between the two world wars. The music is examined in light of a larger cultural trend that embraced Judaism as well as Jewish subjects, texts, and folkways. Such a work as Arnold Schoenberg's opera Moses und Aron would certainly be considered part of this trend. Also discussed is how such works were influenced by the ever-present spectre of anti-semitism.
Heinrich Schalit was one of several composers associated with a 'renaissance' in the music of the American Synagogue that occurred roughly between 1925 and 1975. Born in Vienna on 2 January 1886, Schalit attended Vienna's Konservatorium für Musik und darstellende Kunst and studied piano with Polish pianist Theodor Leschetizky (18301915) and musical composition with Robert Fuchs (18471927). He graduated from the Konservatorium in 1906 and that same year won the prestigious Austrian State Prize for Composition. Schalit relocated to Munich in 1907 and embarked upon a successful career composing post-Romantic Lieder and chamber music. His 6 Liebeslieder ('Six Songs of Love') were published in Vienna by Universal Edition in 1921. The carnage and privations of the First World War profoundly affected Schalit. On a 1936 list of compositions, he wrote: '1916 Beginn der Schaffensperiode der Musik jüdischen Inhalts u. jüdischen Characters' ('1916, Beginning of the creative period of music of Jewish content and character'), and for the remaining sixty years of his life he would compose almost exclusively Jewish liturgical or art music.
During the 1920s Schalit composed, performed and published several important pieces of German-Jewish art music. His Seelenlieder ('Songs of the Soul') for voice with piano was published in Vienna by Universal Edition in 1921. His 1928 hymn In Ewigkeit ('In Eternity') for chorus, organ, harp and violins was performed and well reviewed in Munich, Frankfurt, Augsburg, Dresden, and Berlin.
Schalit's early German-Jewish works influenced two younger Jewish musicians who studied at the State Academy for Music in Munich: renowned Israeli composer Paul Ben-Haim (né Frankenburger, 18971984) and Herbert Fromm (190595), who became one of the most important creators of American synagogue music in the twentieth century.
In September 1927 Schalit assumed the post of organist and music director at Munich's Hauptsynagoge (Main Synagogue). He remained there until late 1933, when he and his family were forced to leave Munich to avoid Nazi persecution. Perhaps the high point of his long musical career was the premiere, on 16 September 1932, of his Eine Freitagabend-Liturgie in Berlin's Lützowstrasse Synagoge. This Friday-evening service was highly praised by, among others, German musicologists Alfred Einstein, Hugo Leichtentritt and Curt Sachs for its use of contemporary modal techniques as well as traditional Eastern melodies discovered by Jewish musicologist A. Z. Idelsohn (18821938).
After living in Rome and London, the Schalit family arrived in Rochester, NY, in August 1940. Schalit would work periodically as a music director in American synagogues and continue composing and publishing until his death in Evergreen, Colorado on 3 February 1976.
Dr. Eliott Kahn, Music Archivist
4. Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Dr Arbie Orenstein, editor of Musica Judaica, writes:
Musica Judaica is the scholarly journal published by the American Society for Jewish Music (in New York). Our most recent issue contains the following articles:
'Nationalism and the Creation of Jewish Music: The Politicization
of Music and Language in the German-Jewish Press Prior to the Second World
War' by Esther Schmidt
In addition there were several articles 'in memoriam' and book reviews. The journal has been in existence since 1975, and I hope (as the new editor) to make sure that it is published once each year.
The American Society for Jewish Music was founded in 1974, although its roots may be traced back to various earlier American Jewish organisations. The purposes of the Society are as follows:
to sponsor and publish Musica Judaica
Anyone wishing to purchase a copy of Musica Judaica may do so by writing to the American Society for Jewish Music, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011. A copy of the journal costs $15.00, and full membership in the Society is $30.00 for one year (which includes a copy of the journal). Anyone wishing to submit an article should obtain a copy of the journal, where full details about doing so are found on the inside back cover.
VII. Conferences and a Call for Papers
Speakers include: Eric Zakim and Bryan Gilliam, Dukes University; David Levin, Chicago University; James Hepokoski, Yale; details from Alex Rehding ar123[at]cus.cam.ac.uk
Western Music and Racial Discourses, 18831933
This conference aims to examine the inevitable entanglements between racial discourses and both conservative and progressive trends in Western music in the years between Wagner's death and the rise of fascism in central Europe that is, between moments when they were at their most explicit in Wagner's racially inflected 'regeneration theories' at one end of the period, and in the institutionalised cultural racism of Nazi Germany at the other end. The conference will include contributions engaging a range of archival, historical, critical, and philosophical approaches to the topic, and above all attempt to engage the many difficult epistemological and ethical issues attaching to the excavation of racial discourses in connection with music. Speakers include Professors Philip Bohlman (Chicago), Reinhold Brinkmann (Harvard), Lydia Goehr (Columbia), Nicholas Cook (Southampton), John Deathridge (King's College, London), Erik Levi (Royal Holloway, University of London), Jane Fulcher (Indiana), Jann Pasler (University of California, San Diego), Malcolm Gillies (Australian National University), Scott DeVeaux (Virginia), Guthrie Ramsey (Pennsylvania), Klára Móricz (Amherst College), Alain Frogley (Connecticut), Roberto Illiano (Cremona), Gemma Perez-Zalduondo (Granada) and Julie Brown (Royal Holloway, University of London). Intersections between music and racial discourses will be discussed in German, Austrian, French, British, Italian, Spanish, North American and South African contexts.
General Inquiries: Dr Julie Brown (Royal Holloway, University of London). email: julie.brown[at]rhul.ac.uk
Venue: Institute of Romance Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU (No smoking building).
Booking inquiries: please contact the Institute of Romance Studies.
Call for Papers
Jewish Culture(s) in the New Europe: The Case of Vilnius, 191839
Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas (GWZO), Leipzig in co-operation with the Simon-Dubnow-Institut and the Polnisches Institut Leipzig,
Visual and Historical Cultures of East Central Europe since 1918 is the title of a research project recently initiated by the Geistes-wissenschaftliches Zentrum Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas in Leipzig. This project, conducted by historians and art historians, investigates different aspects of the national cultures of eastern and central Europe which emerged from the historical process of modernisation in the region. The triumph of the nation-state in 1918 strongly effected such developments: in the states newly established or re-established in east-central Europe after World War I, the nation became the dominating principle which was not only to be politically implemented, but also artistically represented, literarily described and scientifically legitimated. In doing so, it was not sufficient to fall back upon traditional concepts: the tremendous modernising effects that came along with the political reorganisation of the societies in question necessitated also a redefinition of the nation, regarding both its purpose and its composition. One of the consequences of this revaluation was that those who did not belong to the dominant nation of a state (Staatsnation) had to defend their position in it and to prove their loyalty towards it. This was especially true for the Jews, who were generally suspected of not being trustworthy of the nation. Thus the so-called 'Jewish question' was a leading theme in the political and intellectual debates of inter-war eastern central Europe.
The Jews took their own part in the discussions on the renewal of the nation. By no means did they restrict themselves to a mere reaction to the reproach of being disloyal. They rather developed a number of their own cultural models which were also centred around the question of identity.
This is exactly what our workshop will be about, and the following questions are to be discussed: First, we want to highlight the Jewish position vis-à-vis the national discourse prevalent in the respective majority societies. Second, we want to assess what kinds of models of 'Jewishness' emerged and how they were expressed in literature, art, and sciences. An area of special interest will be the idea of the 'Ostjude' as a concept invented by western Jews at the beginning of the twentieth century, and eastern Jewish responses to this idea. The following sections are planned:
1. The socio-political context of Jewish self-assertion in the inter-War
In order to remain in the framework of a workshop, we do not intend to present an overview of developments in eastern and central Europe as a whole. Hence the discussion will be concerned with a case study. Our choice of Vilnius can be justified on several grounds. First, it was a focal point of conflicting national ambitions and claims (of Poles and Lithuanians) in the inter-War period. Secondly, the 'Jerusalem of the East', as it was called, had an extraordinarily rich and manifold Jewish cultural milieu. In this context the Yidisher Visnshaftlekher Institut, founded in 1925, functioned as the impulse-giving institution, its influence far exceeding Lithuania and Poland.
However, we would like to point out that the discussion of this case study is not intended as a limitation but rather as an invitation for a comparative approach. We wherefore will be grateful for any complementary considerations on Prague and Budapest, Iaži and Bratislava, Czernowitz and Lvov.
The workshop will be held in German and English.
Those interested are asked to send an abstract of a paper, which should be about 60 lines, by the end of March at the latest.
Dr. Heidemarie Petersen: petersen[at]rz.uni-leipzig.de; Dr. Marina Dmitrieva: dmitriev[at]rz.uni-leipzig.de
VIII. Notices, Requests
Mieczysßaw Weinberg: a request from Per Skans, Sweden
The fate of many Jewish composers during the twentieth century has been frightening, tragic, sometimes fascinating. The lot of Mieczysßaw Weinberg (also known as Moisei Vainberg, 191996) was an unusual one. He was born in Warsaw, the son of a poor musician at a Jewish theatre, and with much diligence he managed to study the pianowith such success that, had events turned out differently, he could have embarked on an outstanding career as a virtuoso. When the Nazis invaded Poland, his family stayed behind and was later burned alive. He sought refuge in the Soviet Union. There he was given the opportunity to study composition at the Minsk Conservatory, but after less than two years the Nazis invaded the USSR and Weinberg had to head on eastwards until he eventually came to Tashkent in Uzbekistan, where he was able to work as a composer. Shostakovich heard about his talent, and after having read the score of Weinberg's First Symphony he arranged for his young colleague to settle in Moscow, where he was to spend the rest of his life.
Weinberg's life thus was saved, but he still ran considerable risks because he was Jewish. His father-in-law, the legendary actor Solomon Mikhoels, was murdered by Stalin's secret police in 1948, and he himself was arrested in 1953 on the suspicion of 'subversive activities'. Though this charge was false, the outcome might have been fatal if Stalin had not died, after which Weinberg was released.
Weinberg was not only extremely prolific more than twenty symphonies and seven operas are only a part of his enormous catalogue but Shostakovich held him to be one of the very best composers of the century. The foremost Soviet musicians were queuing up to perform his works. The professional relationship of Shostakovich and Weinberg was so intimate that each routinely showed his new works to the other, and Shostakovich never failed to support his colleague. In the West, the 'discovery' of Weinberg has begun in the 1990s, amongst others through the release of almost twenty CDs by Olympia.
At present I am preparing a biography of the fascinating life of Mieczys3aw Weinberg, to be published by Toccata Press in London. I already have much information about him, but still would like to ask whether anyone among the readers of this newsletter may have met him or otherwise have had contacts with persons related to him or his surroundings. If so, I would much appreciate a contact! email: per.skans[at]swipnet.se
Paul Aron Sandfort, on Brundibár and a composition of his own
At Dunhurst, Petersfield. Hampshire, 29 and 30 November and 1 December 2001, the children's opera Brundibár by Krása and Hoffmeister played in Theresienstadt in 194344, was performed by the children and the orchestra of the Bedales Junior School, conducted by Melanie Fuller, integrated with a drama Fire across the Night, written, produced and directed by Simon Kingsley-Pallant, drama teacher at the same school.
In the play Simon Kingsley-Pallant tells the story of a little Danish trumpet-player, Paul, fourteen years of age, and of the conditions in which the children lived in the Ghetto of Theresienstadt, where they performed the opera more than fifty times until they were deported to Auschwitz. Paul, who played in the orchestra at those performances after the adult trumpet-player of the Stadtkapelle had been deported, was exempted from the transports to Auschwitz as he belonged to the Danish group of prisoners the Nazis kept alive as a means of covering up the assassination of the Jews.
I am the real Paul Aron Sandfort, now living in Copenhagen and in Rome, and I was present at the Dunhurst performances and gave an introduction to the audience.
As a boy I wrote a poem, 'Nachschub', recounting my experience in Theresienstadt of waiting in a special queue hoping to get an extra meal if there were any leftovers. I have made a composition of some 1718 minutes for string quartet, flute, trumpet and voice, to accompany a recitation of the poem in German, English, Danish or Italian. I am looking for an ensemble interested in performing this sextet with myself as reciter. Please contact me at paul[at]post12.tele.dk.
I have staged productions of Brundibár or introduced performances in several countries on behalf of Jeunesses Musicales, for instance at the Royal Opera House in Copenhagen, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Holland, England, Austria, Germany and also in Italy where it will be played by the conservatory of Aquila next autumn.
Words and Music from Room 28 Theresienstadt:
Help required with translation into English
Early in March, Helga Pollak, one of the survivors from Theresienstadt (Terezín in Czech the Nazi detention camp for Czech Jews), recalled the courage and tragedy of the war years in a dramatised lecture, Helga's Diary Memories from a dark time of a Girl from Room 28, L 410, Theresienstadt at the Wallgraben Theatre in Freiburg. Together with actors Gaby Kinsky and Heinz Meier, she presented a dramatic reading from Helga's Diary, a contemporary account of those dreadful yet inspiring events. At the centre of the stage, Helga Pollak's warm voice echoed her childhood voice.
In Room 28, L 410, of the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp (the 'Prima Ghetto', according to the German propaganda machine) there lived many girls who had been deported from Bohemia and Moravia between 1942 and 1944. The majority of these children, as many as fifty to sixty, most of them between the ages of twelve and fourteen, were subsequently murdered in Auschwitz. Only fifteen survived: among them was Helga Pollak of Vienna.
Like Anne Frank, she recorded her experiences of those tragic times in a diary. For decades, neither she nor her fellow survivors spoke of their common past: the period seemed to have been erased from their collective memory. Only during the past few years have documents and memoirs begun to make their tentative appearance.
Many of these diary entries form the core of Hannelore Brenner-Wonschick's forthcoming book, Brundibar and the Girls from Room 28, L 410, Theresienstadt, in which Ms Brenner-Wonschick has collected vital documentation of the period and provided the survivors with a forum for their recollections.
In addition to Pollak's own words at the lecture, there were quotes from interviews with other survivors from Room 28, delivered over loudspeakers and accompanied by passages of music: from Gideon Klein, from the Verdi Requiem, from Hans Krása's Brundibár and from Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, all adding to the taut atmosphere in the Wallgraben Theatre. 'It felt like living in Room 28 myself', said one visitor after the performance. 'There were just voices and music but I had so many pictures in my mind. Young people must be told. We always teach them the story of Anne Frank but with Helga's Diary we can show another dimension to the story. It goes to the core of our very being.'
Sponsors are required to enable translation into English of the sixty-page text and to bring this lecture to England and the United States. Helga Pollak now lives in Vienna but lived in London for a while after the War and speaks English fluently.
The text consists of excerpts from the following chapters: The Book of Helga; from Vienna to Terezín; Daily Life in Terezín JanuaryJuly 1943; Summer 1943; The premiere of Brundibár; The Beautification of Terezín in 1944; The visit of the Red Cross on 23 June 1944; the transports in Autumn 1944.
If anyone is interested in helping, please contact: Trevor Glover; Book and Music Publishing Consultancy, 15 Lebanon Gardens, London SW18 1RQ, Tel/Fax: +44 (0)20 8870 9495, Mob: +44 (0)7860 476967, email: trevordglover[at]aol.com
Simon Fox, on Hans Gál
New releases: 24 Preludes for Piano, Op. 83, Aladár Rácz (Pan Classics PC510-141), and The Complete Piano Duos, Goldstone and Clemmow (Olympia OCD 709).
The website www.hansgal.com, dedicated to the music of Hans Gál (18901987) is now available in a new updated version, including audio clips, reviews and some scans of scores and manuscripts. Gál's music is currently experiencing a revival following over half a century of neglect. Several new CDs have appeared, with more to come. The next major project under consideration is a series of recordings of the four symphonies. Anyone interested in assisting please contact Simon Fox at simonfox[at]onet.co.uk
The Kaprálová Society
This website www.kapralova.org has been developed and maintained by The Kaprálová Society, an international music society based in Toronto and dedicated to promoting life and work of composer Vitìzslava Kaprálová [1915-1940]. The Society exists to foster and support research as well as special projects in support of its mandate which also includes education on the subject of women in music.
The website contains original research on Kaprálová and a variety of information on other composers, women in particular. The Kaprálová pages include a list of works with detailed information about each composition, a discography, bibliography, chronology of life events, performance history, historical and contemporary reviews, concerts and events, and other information. Summary information is offered in English, French, Italian, German and Czech. Pages on women in music include databases of women composers and conductors, bibliography and other resources. Finally, the website offers information on Emmy Destinn, Vitezslav Novak, Vaclav Kaprál, Slava Vorlova, Jaroslav Jezek, twentieth-century Czech composers in exile, a group of contemporary women composers 'Hudbaby', and the Kaprálová Quartet. The site index is available at: www.kapralova.org
Charlotte Exon seeks information on Rudolf Schwarz (190594)
I am a music doctorate student at the University of Birmingham, England, researching the orchestral conductor, Rudolf Schwarz (190584) within the context of other musical émigrés who left Nazi Germany.
As part of my research, I am anxious to obtain an accurate insight into activities during the Third Reich from where Rudolf Schwarz fled. I am very keen to make contact with any Jewish survivors from the Holocaust or indeed musicians who may have emigrated to England from Nazi Germany. Part of my research also involves the investigation of the Jüische Kulturbund during the Third Reich and I am very eager to contact survivors from this organisation. I was wondering whether subscribers to the IFSM newsletter may have any contacts with any survivors from the Holocaust who may be able to help me. email: Charlotte E. S. Exon at ExonCES[at]hhs.bham.ac.uk.
Wangmo Whitethorn seeks information on Miklós Gafni, Hungarian operatic tenor
I am writing from Australia seeking further information on the career of the late Hungarian opera tenor Miklós Gafni (28 May 19238 March 1981. He had an extraordinary life and career immediately post-War worldwide. Sadly, he died relatively young in 1981. I have most of his recordings and am having them transferred to CD. He did perform in England, but I am unsure where except at a command performance at Victoria Palace in 1951. If anyone has any information of his tours of England or elsewhere, I would be most interested in hearing from them.
I attach a brief biography I wrote in celebration of a memorial to him at his home town in Hungary last year. He was a great man with a wonderful voice. I look forward to hearing from anyone with information about him.
Cheers from Downunder, Wangmo Whitethorn (Ms): huath[at]ozemail.com.au
On Friday, 3 August, this year, the mayor, civic dignitaries and members of the local Jewish community gathered in a small village in Hungary to pay tribute to the life of one extraordinary man and homage to the Jewish families of the district who were destroyed in the Holocaust. The small village is Tiszacsege, birthplace of the renowned operatic tenor Miklós Gafni.
Gafni, whose original family name was Weinstock, was born on 28 May 1923. When Hungary was finally occupied in the closing stages of WWII, the family was rounded up and deported Miklós to forced-labour camps in Silesia, the others to unknown destinations. He was the sole survivor of the family, literally singing for his life in the death camps of eastern Europe. After liberation from Mauthausen in 1945, just a couple of weeks before his 22nd birthday, he returned to Hungary.
In 1946 he debuted as Alfredo in La Traviata at the Budapest Stadtoper to considerable acclaim and also sang the leads in Samson and Delilah and Tosca. To develop the enormous potential of his wonderful voice, he travelled to Italy. There he received tuition from some of the most eminent names of that time: Pertile, Stracciari and Gigli. After a performance at the American Embassy at Rome, he was invited to travel to the States for a series of concerts.
In February 1947 he debuted in New York at both the Town Hall and Carnegie Hall to sell-out audiences, receiving rapturous applause and wide critical acclaim. In the same year he made a short autobiographical film, A Voice is Born, which won a prize for the best documentary.
From this extraordinary start to his career until his untimely death in 1981, he made seventeen trips around the world and over 100 trips to Europe, appearing in all the major opera houses, including Vienna, London, Milan, Naples and Rome. He sang the tenor leads in over sixteen operas and gave hundreds of concert performances. Of special significance during these years was his invitation to perform at a Royal Command Performance at Victoria Palace, London on 29 October 1951 and his concert at Ohel Shem in Tel Aviv the following month in November. In 1958, he made a film about the Hungarian Revolution called The Golden Cage.
In the years 1947, 1948 and 1956 he was invited to tour Australia by the ABC under the general managership of the late Sir Charles Moses. All his concerts were sold out and he received overwhelming ovations each time he performed. All the seasons were stunning successes, with Miklós Gafni being feted across the country. During his final tour in 1956 with his wife Jeanette, he also gave concerts for the Polish Jewish Association in Sydney and Kadimah in Melbourne. In mid-1965 he returned to Hungary where he starred as the guest artist at the Budapest Stadtoper in I Pagliacci and A Masked Ball to fantastic success with packed houses and rave reviews.
Gafni had a truly remarkable life and career; his voice was of lustrous quality, golden tones, sublime beauty and power. He was also a great-hearted and generous man who gave of his best and himself in all aspects of his life. Although today, his records are relatively rare, his legacy endures. Perhaps his own feelings can be expressed best in his own words, in an extract from his interview with The ABC Weekly (28 June 1947), entitled 'This is why I am singing and this is my story':
When I sing [ ] I think of the thousands upon thousands of people who like me have suffered not only through the war but through some trick of fate. [ ] I sing to them too. I am thankful to tell you that whenever I have sung, back to me come a hundred-fold affection, the hearts of thousands who have heard me [ ].I try to send out my heart to you in song. My greatest reward is to hope that my message will find an echo in your heart and remain there.
Useful web links on Suppressed Music
www.schreker.org the website of the Franz Schreker Foundation
www.eislermusic.com the North American Hanns Eisler Society promotes appreciation of a great composer who tried to bridge the gap between classical and popular music
www.exilmusik.de the Exile Music Study Group of the University of Hamburg deals with musicians who have been persecuted during the Third Reich and the consequences to the cultural life of Germany and the exile countries
fcit.coedu.usf.edu/Holocaust/arts/music.htm a teacher's guide to music of the Holocaust with useful links to music of the ghettos and camps, 'degenerate music' and music of the Third Reich; produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology, College of Education, University of South Florida © 2001
www.hansgal.com dedicated to the music of Hans Gál (Vienna, 1890Edinburgh, 1987)
www.jmi.org.uk/suppressedmusic the International Forum for Suppressed Music at the Jewish Music Institute (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London) was set up in 1999 to bring together all those working in the field of suppressed music, and return this music to the mainstream of cultural life
www.kapralova.org this website has been developed and maintained by The Kaprálová Society, an international music society based in Toronto, Canada, dedicated to promoting life and work of composer Vitìzslava Kaprálová (191540)
www.krenek.com the Ernst Krenek Institut was set up in 1997 to make known all the music of Ernst Krenek, which reflects the most diverse genres styles and trends in musical history of the twentieth century
www.musica-reanimata.de musica reanimata was founded in 1990 with the purpose of integrating the works of composers persecuted by the Nazi regime into present-day musical culture
www.orpheustrust.at dedicated to researching, documenting, and promoting the awareness of persecuted and exiled music and musicians, founded by Dr. Primavera Gruber in May 1996 with the aim of giving this music the recognition and appreciation it rightfully deserves.
www.terezinmusic.org the Terezín Chamber Music Foundation (Boston, USA)
sc.edu/isd/locations/ssh/special/fml/RelatedSitesMus.html useful index of related sites of interest to German exile studies, musicians and composers, compiled by Marje Schuetze-Coburn, Feuchtwanger Memorial Library, University of Southern California
www.siue.edu/~aho/musov/musov.html 'Music under Soviet Rule' deals with composers like Shostakovich, Weinberg, Prokofiev, Kancheli, etc., working under Communist repression
www.zamir.org/resources/holocaust.html Zamir Chorale: Holocaust music comprehensive Bibliography (alas no email addresses)
www.zeitmusik.de Dresdner Zentrum für Zeitgenössische Musik
http://members.tripod.de/emigration/zentrum.html Zentrum für musikalische Exilforschung der Folkwang Hochschule Essen
http://mitglied.lycos.de/mwiener/ullmann/index-e.html Viktor Ullmann Homepage, a website is designed to make available a comprehensive selection of information about life and music of the composer Viktor Ullmann
Please send us any web links that you think may be of interest to readers.
|The Jewish Music Institute is an independent Arts organisation based at SOAS, University of London. It is an international focus bringing the ancient yet contemporary musical culture of the Jews to the mainstream British cultural, academic and social life. Its programmes of education, performance and information highlight many aspects of Jewish music throughout the ages and across the globe for people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures.|