posted 10 June 2003
Newsletter No. 5, May 2003
We are fortunate in this issue in having two articles written by close
relatives of their subjects: Randol Schoenberg on his grandfather Eric
Zeisl and Michael Freyhan on his father, Hans; an article, by André
Laks on his father, Szymon, is in preparation for the next issue. The
work of the IFSM to date has naturally concentrated on composers; Michael
Freyhan's article points to the contribution to the musical life of their
adoptive countries made by the other musicians who fled from Nazis persecution.
In that spirit I have also included here my obituary of the Austrian musicologist
Georg Knepler, which was published (in a much shorter form) in The Independent
this spring. Another piece written for The Independent, an interview with
Vladimir Ashkenazy heralding his series of concerts of music by Prokofiev
and Shostakovich written under Stalin, is directly relevant to the interests
of the IFSM and, at the risk of over-stuffing this newsletter with writing
by its editor, I have likewise reproduced it here, since many readers
will not have seen it when it first appeared. This article was written
to introduce the concert series presented in the South Bank Centre, London;
since the series was presented also in New York and Prague, it has an
In the News section you will find Michael Haas' introduction to quasi
una fantasia: Jews and the Music Metropolis Vienna, the exhibition of
which he is Music Curator; since the subject will be of particular interest
to our German-speaking readers, we have included the German version of
the press release.
This newsletter now reaches over 600 musicologists, conductors, festival
directors, critics, musicians and writers all around the world. If you
no longer wish to receive it - roughly quarterly - please let us know
and we will remove your name from the list. By the same token, if you
know someone who may like to receive it, please let us have their details.
The Suppressed Music e-mail discussion group has now been now up and running
for several months. To subscribe, unsubscribe, or change your subscription
settings, visit http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/suppressed-music.html.
Please introduce yourself when you first post to the list.
I renew my plea for contributions to this e-newsletter: information on
forthcoming events, reviews of those past, and of CDs, books and other
publications, profiles of like-minded organisations, requests for information,
and so on. One constant source of surprise and satisfaction is the repeated
discovery of unsuspected institutions and organisations likewise dedicated
to the rehabilitation of music written in conditions of oppression. One
such is Musica Judaica, run by pianist-conductor Francesco Lotoro, and
dedicated to the performance and recording of all the music written in
imprisonment during the Second World War - in the internment camps run
by the British government as well as the better-known examples such as
Terezín. And the British pianist Jacqueline Cole has founded the
Viktor Ullmann and Pavel Haas Foundations, the ambitious aims of which
she announces in this Newsletter. Interest in this repertoire seems to
be growing exponentially.
1. Eric Zeisl- a centenary to be marked by Randol Schoenberg
The year 2005 marks the centenary of the birth of my maternal grandfather,
the Austrian-American composer Eric Zeisl (Vienna, 1905-Los Angeles, 1959).
The music of my other grandfather, Arnold Schoenberg, is certainly well
known to you. But you may have not yet heard of Zeisl, which is something
that I hope to correct. At the bottom of this text is some biographical
information that can also be obtained from the Eric Zeisl Web Site at
There are a large number of published and unpublished works by Zeisl
that are available from my family and the Eric Zeisl Archive at UCLA (http://www.library.ucla.edu/libraries/music/mlsc/zeisl/).
I would particularly recommend his Requiem Ebraico (1944-45) for orchestra,
baritone, soprano, alto and chorus, dedicated to the memory of his father
and the countless other victims of the Jewish tragedy in Europe. This
work, a setting of the 92nd psalm, has always been among Zeisl's most
performed compositions and was released on CD by Decca in 1999 as part
of the acclaimed "Entartete Musik" series. As always with Zeisl,
the reviews were universally glowing, and have led to a number of performances
and renewed interest in Zeisl's unjustly forgotten music.
Both Schoenberg and Stravinsky were said to have praised the Requiem
Ebraico when it was premiered on radio in Los Angeles. At the Canadian
premiere in 1947 the reviewer for the Toronto Globe and Mail wrote: 'This
is one of the most gripping pieces of elegiac composition in the history
of music', continuing that 'it is great music, rather [than] a social
document . [. . . it reduces] all one's reactions to a single emotion
about as deep as the heart can bear'. A more recent review in Fanfare
called the work 'very deeply moving [. . . ] a surge of intense, unemphatic,
even melancholy optimism arising from a profound sadness. It is less than
20 minutes in length but it contains centuries of feeling: Zeisl achieves
a kind of timelessness by blending ancient Jewish cantilena with an understated
I know how many of this type of solicitations concert-planners receive
and how difficult it is to programme little-known works. Zeisl's music
has always been well received by audiences, performers and other composers.
What he has lacked is a conductor or orchestra to champion his works,
and that is probably why his music is so little heard. I am hoping that
during his upcoming centennial celebration we can rectify this situation.
The Jewish Museum of Vienna is also planning a large exhibition on Zeisl
in 2005 and we expect that there will be a number of musical events surrounding
Please let me know if you might be interested in programming the Requiem
Ebraico" or some other work during the 2005 centennial. I would be
very happy to send you a CD or score for your perusal. I am committed
to preserving my maternal grandfather's legacy and hope that you will
be at least intrigued enough to explore his music for yourself. In my
experience, just listening to Zeisl1s music has been enough to convince
even the most skeptical audience. I hope that you will also give his music
a chance to convince you too.
In Armseelchen: The Life and Music of Eric Zeisl (Greenwood Press 1984)
Professor Malcolm Cole, writes as follows:
'Eric Zeisl was born in Vienna on 18 May 1905. From childhood, he demonstrated
an unshakable resolve to compose. Against strong family resistance, he
entered the Vienna State Academy at age fourteen. Two years later his
first publication, a set of songs, appeared. Despite acclaim as one of
Austria1s brightest young compositional lights, Zeisl eventually fell
victim to Europe's gathering political storm. In November 1938, he fled
Vienna for Paris and temporary refuge, but it was only upon reaching America
in September, 1939 that he found permanent sanctuary. Against formidable
odds, he achieved recognition in his adopted land, with praise for his
work coming from fellow composers Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Darius Milhaud,
Igor Stravinsky, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Alexandre Tansman, Hanns Eisler,
Ernst Toch, and Alma Mahler-Werfel, among others. Then, on 18 February
1959, at the age of 53 and at the height of his creative powers, Eric
Zeisl suffered a heart attack after teaching an evening class at Los Angeles
City College. He died that night'.
Zeisl's music is richly tonal, but with a modern sensibility. Professor
Cole describes his style as 'notable for expressive melody, rich harmonies,
strong dance-derived rhythms, and imaginative scoring'. He was perhaps
the youngest of the once successful emigré composers who were forced
to abandon their careers and flee Europe. Zeisl was hurt more than most
because his reputation had not yet been secured. He won an Austrian state
prize in 1934 (for a Requiem Mass), but because he was a Jew he could
not secure a publishing contract since his works would have by that time
been banned in Germany, the primary market (he was just 29 years old).
Despite this disadvantage, the Viennese publishers Universal Edition and
Ludwig Doblinger published Zeisl's orchestral works and songs in the 1930s.
The Anschluss in March 1938 abruptly ended hopes of any future central
European publications or performances including the planned premieres
of Zeisl's comic opera Leonce and Lena (after Büchner) by Radio Prague
and at Vienna's Schönbrunn Schlosstheater. After narrowly escaping
capture during the 'Kristallnacht; pogrom of 9 November 1938, Zeisl and
his wife fled from Vienna, settling first in Paris, where Zeisl began
his lasting friendship with Darius Milhaud. Upon his arrival in New York
at the end of 1939, Zeisl obtained a number of prominent radio broadcast
performances (and received an unused recommendation from Hanns Eisler
for study with Arnold Schoenberg), but he was soon lured to Hollywood,
where he suffered from being a late-comer to the movies. He worked on
a number of well-known films, but never received a screen credit. He soon
abandoned film music and returned to serious composition. He was composer-in-residence
at the Brandeis-Bardin Institute and at the Huntington Hartford Foundation.
At Los Angeles City College, his students included Oscar-winning film
composer Jerry Goldsmith and ragtime composer Robin Frost. The composers
Leon Levitch and Julie Mandel also studied with Zeisl. In Hollywood, Zeisl
composed a piano concerto, cello concerto (for Gregor Piatigorski), four
ballets, numerous choral and chamber works, and half of an unfinished
opera, before being felled by the heart attack after teaching the composition
theory class (later taught by Ernst Krenek) at Los Angeles City College
on 18 February 1959.
E. Randol Schoenberg
Burris & Schoenberg, LLP
12121 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90025-1168
Tel: (310) 442-5559
Fax: (310) 442-0353
2. Hans Walter Freyhan (b Berlin, 8 December 1909; d Bedford, 7 July
1996) by Michael Freyhan
Hans Walter Freyhan grew up in Berlin in a flourishing artistic environment.
His diary records the rich concert life of Berlin between the Wars. His
father, a lawyer by profession, was prominent as a theatre critic, writer
and lecturer, specialising in Greek, Latin, German, English, French and
Italian texts. His mother never pursued a profession but was passionate
Hans Freyhan studied musicology at Freiburg University under Wilibald
Gurlitt; he also attended philosophy lectures given by Martin Heidegger.
Under the Nazis, with employment opportunities restricted to Jewish circles,
he developed an interest in synagogue music. An invitation to take up
a teaching post at a Jewish school in Brighton enabled him to come to
England with his family early in 1939. The following year he was interned
on the Isle of Man, in accordance with government policy towards refugees
from Hitler. He used the time to contribute to the cultural life of the
camp as a lecturer and pianist. On his release the family moved to Bedford,
which became his home for the rest of his life. He taught in several schools
in Bedford as well as in nearby St Neots and Huntingdon. For a few years
in the 1950s he was Head of the Music Department of Huddersfield Technical
College (now the University of Huddersfield).
His most enduring legacy is as a writer on music. Admired for the elegant
style of his native German, he quickly became equally comfortable writing
in English, and for half-a-century he contributed book reviews mostly
to the refugee press and wrote programme notes for the annual Self-Aid
concerts in the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, as well as for Bedford Musical
Society concerts. He reviewed concerts for The Bedfordshire Times, regarding
the encouragement of music as important in the life of the town. After
his death the Hans Freyhan Trust was set up, giving financial support
to young singers in Bedfordshire Youth Opera. He was proud of the achievements
of young British musicians and on different occasions accompanied both
the National Youth Orchestra (of which his two sons had been members)
and the Bedfordshire Youth Orchestra on tour in Germany and Austria. The
appearance of his son with a British orchestra at the Berlin Philharmonie
was a moving moment for him, a kind of closure on the terrible events
of his youth and the Nazis' attempt to destroy him and his family.
He was fired by a life-long passion for music, which made him a compelling
teacher and lecturer. His roots were in the German tradition, but his
knowledge of music was wide-ranging, extending from the Renaissance to
the twentieth century. In England he came to love the music of Vaughan
Williams and to appreciate Sibelius. An advocate of Stravinsky and Hindemith
in his youth, he struggled to stay in touch with the avant-garde, a battle
which in his later years he confessed to have lost.
He was a religious man, Jewish by conviction but respectful of those
whose faith differed from his own. It was, I think, a factor in his love
for the music of Bach. He thought long and hard about the issues surrounding
those musicians whom he revered but who had failed to make a firm stand
against anti-Semitism - Richard Strauss, Furtwängler and, above all,
Wagner, a self-declared anti-Semite long before the Nazi era. His solution
was to separate the music from the man, and for him the music predominated.
He would often point out that Wagner himself did not possess the nobility
of character he had created in Hans Sachs. But Wagner's music was to him
almost literally life-giving: after a spell in hospital some years before
he died, his first act on returning home was to listen to the whole of
Die Meistersinger. It was his cure.
His dedication to music was shared by his wife Kate, active in Bedford
as a teacher and choir director. Their two sons, who were brought up in
a household where listening to music was as much a part of life as eating
and sleeping, have both become professional musicians. Hans Freyhan's
well-used library of books and music reflects his tastes: a Bach cantata
collection, orchestral and chamber music miniature scores, vocal scores
of operas, piano music, arrangements for four hands, books on musical
history, musicology, music theory and teaching, biographies of individual
composers, musical periodicals (including The Musical Times, dating back
to 1946), an extensive record library of LPs and pre-war 78s, as well
as German literature and books on twentieth-century history and politics.
His hobby was re-reading his collection of Baedekers, decades out-of-date,
whose texts and maps he knew by heart (especially advice on how to avoid
bed-bugs in roadside inns). Travelling in the Alps was a passion second
only to music and he could accurately tell you the height of any mountain
and which valleys led to it. He suffered from poor eyesight but somehow
managed to see every detail of the mountains.
He was completely focused on living a life filled with what was most
meaningful to him. He was deeply loyal to his friends and never bore grudges.
As his son I am touched that, seven years after his death, I am still
contacted from time to time by strangers who had known him or been taught
by him, and want to share their gratitude and warm memories.
3. GEORG KNEPLER by Martin Anderson
This is a fuller version of the obituary which appeared in The Independent
on 21 April 2003.
Some of the Hitlerflüchtlinge who took refuge in Britain from the
Nazis' murderous enthusiasms changed their adoptive country for ever:
Hans Keller, Karl Popper, Ernst Gombrich and hundreds more, documented
last year in Daniel Snowman's The Hitler Emigrés: The Cultural
Impact on Britain of Refugees from Nazism. Yet the welcome of the British
musical establishment was grudging and often suspicious, so it's small
wonder that with the cessation of hostilities some were happy to return
to the war-shattered Continent. The committed Communists, moreover, partly
with an eye on former Nazis still in positions of influence in West Germany,
felt a duty to reinforce the institutions being erected in the eastern
part of the country. One such was the musicologist Georg Knepler.
Knepler was born in Vienna and grew up in a modest but cultured family:
his father, Paul Knepler (a bookseller who later wrote the librettos for
Lehár's operettas Paganini and Giuditta), would take his son along
to the subscription concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic. But young Georg,
who was used to playing chamber music at home, found the experience distant,
impersonal; he far preferred to go to hear Mozart at the Staatsoper -
and his sense of the theatrical, of the importance of direct communication,
stayed with him all his life. His undergraduate musical training shaped
him as an all-rounder: theory with Guido Adler, piano with Eduard Steuermann
and conducting with the composer Hans Gál, who later also fled
Knepler first made his name as the accompanist, for almost three years
(1928-31), of the Viennese satirist Karl Kraus, playing behind a screen
as Kraus recited Offenbach operettas, garlanded with contemporary commentary.
He recalled these presentations half a century later in his book Karl
Kraus liest Offenbach ('Karl Kraus reads Offenbach'; 1984). From 1929,
too, he was active as répétiteur and conductor at the Volksoper
and Stadtheater in Vienna, working also in Wiesbaden (1930-31) and Mannheim
(1933). In Wiesbaden, where he was employed by Karl Rankl (later also
a refugee in Britain and post-War conductor of the Royal Opera House),
he helped prepare the premiere of Hanns Eisler's oratorio Die Massnahme
('Taking Measure'), which had a Communist text by Brecht.
In 1931 he gained his PhD from the University of Vienna (one of his teachers,
Egon Wellesz, was yet another Hitlerflüchtling and later professor
at Oxford) with a thesis on Brahms, and then headed off to Berlin, to
work in the theatre with Brecht, his wife Helene Weigel, and Eisler. With
Hitler's seizure of power in 1933, Knepler - as Jew and Communist, he
was doubly in danger - returned to Vienna. There he joined the outlawed
Communist Party, which earned him a few weeks in prison when he was caught
distributing copies of its newspaper, The Red Flag.
Welcome in neither country, and seeing the writing on the wall (he recalled
a prophetic headline in The Red Flag: 'Hitler Means War'), in 1934 Knepler
and his first wife began their British exile, followed soon by his parents.
To begin with, he conducted a number of amateur choirs and involved himself
in workers' music groups, and then, when the Anschluss triggered a wave
of Austrian immigration he helped run the musical activities of the Austrian
Centre, a self-help social club based first in Westbourne Terrace. For
its 'Laterndl', a small theatre which presented plays, cabaret and other
such events, he co-ordinated the music, wrote some of his own, organised
At the outbreak of war, with the BBC presenting no operatic performances,
Knepler and the composer Ernst Schoen decided to organise their own opera
group. First with piano, and then with Knepler conducting the BBC Symphony
Orchestra, they performed contemporary works, among them Stravinsky's
Renard and scenes from Janácek's From the House of the Dead, events
that were broadcast by the BBC. They ventured back in time, too, with
Purcell's Dido and Aeneas and Dibdin's The Ephesian Matron, Donizetti,
Mozart, Nikolai. Knepler and his father also presented anti-Nazi propaganda
broadcasts for the BBC.
Knepler was one of the first to return to the world he had left before
the War: in February 1946 he was back in Vienna, working as a cultural
advisor to the Communist Party. In 1949 he was asked by the East German
government to come to Berlin to set up the Deutsche Hochschule für
Musik - all the other music schools were in the western zone - and he
now settled there permanently. He held on to his Austrian citizenship,
though: his initial contract of employment, for a year only, was regularly
renewed, but grudgingly so because of behind-the-scenes political interventions,
and he never knew when he might have to return to Austria. When the Deutsche
Hochschule first opened its doors in 1950, Knepler became its first director
and ran the institution for ten years (it was renamed the Hanns Eisler
Hochschule für Musik in 1964); Eisler and Rudolf Wagner-Régeny
were among his teaching staff.
Knepler was an active participant in the factional world of East German
cultural politics: he fell out - briefly - with Brecht and Eisler, railed
against Schoenberg and serial music, and described jazz as the 'unculture
of the Wall Street gangsters'. But he had the courage to resist the Party
line when Eisler's 1953 opera libretto Doktor Faustus came under attack
(it turned Goethe on his head and portrayed Faust as a turncoart against
the peasant revolt): it was described as 'alien to the people' and 'showing
little joy in the future'. Knepler stood up for his colleague (as did
Felsenstein and Brecht), thereby earning himself the suspicion of the
Stasi, the secret police. He also protested against the growing centralisation
of the East German state, which he felt was becoming isolated both from
Party members and the people in general.
In 1959 he took up a professorship at the Humboldt University and taught
there until 1971, retiring punctually on his 65th birthday, as the state
required. German academic life can be stiffly formal, but Knepler was
an exception to the rule: he particularly enjoyed his relations with students;
his teaching manner was relaxed, never hectoring; and he took an active
interest in what younger composers were doing.
Knepler was a fluent writer, eschewing the 'Schachteldeutsch' that produces
sentences like DNA helixes. His two-volume Musikgeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts
('History of Nineteenth-Century Music'), published in 1961, was received
warmly and translated into a number of languages. In his Geschichte als
Weg zum Musikverständnis ('History as a Path to Understanding Music';
1971) Knepler treated the history of music as a social phenomenon, bringing
communications theory, semiotics, linguistics, bio-acoustics and other
disciplines into his analytical arsenal. His best-known book, Wolfgang
Amadé Mozart, written in his mid-eighties, became an international
bestseller (the English edition appeared from CUP in 1994).
Although Knepler's eyes had begun to give him trouble, his mind remained
acute right to the end, holding his socialist ground in arguments over
China, Iraq, globalisation, US policy in the Middle East, and other questions
of the day. But just as Krushchev's exposure of Stalin's crimes in 1956
had forced him and his colleagues back to re-examine the tenets of their
beliefs and somehow separate Stalinism from Marxist-Leninism, so the collapse
of the Communist system - and with it his ideological world - demonstrated
his intellectual resilience: even in his mid-eighties, he struggled to
make sense of the new order. Shortly before he died, he had sent an inner
circle of friends the first three chapters of his next book, a discussion
of ideology and power, and was looking forward to their comments.
Georg Knepler, musicologist; born Vienna, 21 December 1906; married (1)
1935 Käte Förster, marriage dissolved, (2) 1947 Florence Wiles,
1 s; died Berlin, 14 January 2003.
4. 'Music to die for': Ashkenazy on Prokofiev and Shostakovich
by Martin Anderson
Published in The Independent, 7 February 2003
"Papa, what if they hang you for this?" - as the titles of
music festivals go, this one's hardly calculated to drive in the punters.
But it does make explicit the basic condition under which Shostakovich,
Prokofiev and their contemporaries had to work in Stalin's Russia - constant
fear of arrest, torture, deportation and death, fear trickling through
everything you did, poisoning all but the most basic of human relationships.
The festival - a series of nine concerts and various other events - runs
from 7 to 23 March on London's South Bank, commemorating the fiftieth
anniversary of Prokofiev's death, on 5 March 1953, the same day as his
chief tormentor, Josif Vissarionovich Djugashvili, a.k.a. Stalin. The
artistic director of the festival is Vladimir Ashkenazy, long a vocal
opponent of the intellectual laziness of those western intellectuals who
discuss the music of Shostakovich and Prokofiev without taking into account
the ghastly society in which they had to live. His imaginative programming
juxtaposes the "official" works the two composers were obliged
to write with their more personal statements, underlining the differences
in their creative response to permanent repression.
The "papa" of that title is Shostakovich himself; the question
was whispered by his son Maxim during a rehearsal for the premiere of
the Eleventh Symphony in 1957. The Soviet Union had invaded Hungary the
year before; Shostakovich's not-so-cryptic response in his new symphony
was to use anti-Czarist revolutionary slogans whose unsung texts make
his protest almost explicit: "Shame on you, tyrants", "Threaten
us with prison and chains". Shostakovich was a brave man in a society
where not even compliant conformity was a safe option: in music and deed
he often took risks that were almost suicidal. Prokofiev, by contrast,
sought refuge in the ironical detachment that had always been a part of
his musical language. He couldn't avoid being caught up in the political
machinery, of course, but he kept it at an emotional distance.
Stalin was hot on film music and so, of course, his composers had to do
his bidding. Prokofiev's most memorable contribution to the genre came
in the form of two monumental scores to Eisenstein epics: Alexander Nevsky,
which is being screened to the accompaniment of the full orchestral score
on 11 March, and Ivan the Terrible, excerpts from which will be heard
in concert on 20 March. Shostakovich's film scores are less well known;
of the three dozen or so he wrote, extracts from two - The Fall of Berlin
and The Unforgettable Year 1919 (both, coincidentally, just released on
a new Marco Polo CD) - will also be performed in the 20 March concert.
Ashkenazy won't discuss the works themselves ("What can you say?
I hhhate describing music"). But he has first-hand experience of
the unfeeling cruelty with which the Soviet authorities controlled musical
life and empathises with the painful but inevitable compromises that were
required of its composers: "Shostakovich managed to express the tragedy
of the situation in his music, although he did write a few things in order
to survive. His Fall of Berlin  was a survival thing: that was the
first time he glorified Stalin. It seems he might have been told: 'You
know, they're preparing something really awful for you' - and why should
he want to go to the Gulag? Imagine, had he been exiled, how many pieces
we would have lost - there would have been no Tenth Symphony, no First
Violin Concerto, many of the string quartets
. What is the point?
Better write the glorification of Stalin, which was almost a ritual in
our country; we could not refuse to do that. And everybody knew it had
to be done, so what is the big deal? And in the Eighth and Tenth Symphonies,
the First Violin Concerto [to be heard on 16 March] and all those other
works he indicts the Soviet system to such a degree that there's no mistake
Unlike Prokofiev, Shostakovich outlived the worst days of Stalinist terror.
And just as he had danced his dangerous pas de deux with Stalin, he "managed"
his relationship with the later Soviet authorities rather skilfully, too:
as well as producing the odd composition, he would read out the speeches
they wanted, sign the articles - he chose the battles that were worth
losing so he'd be left to get on with his music. Ashkenazy immediately
objects to my choice of word: "It wasn't 'skilful' - 'skilful' is
deliberately being clever in doing this and that. I think he couldn't
help writing what he had to write to express himself. That's not being
skilful. It was stronger than he was; he had to do it".
Would it be fair, then, to describe Shostakovich as a dissident ante
diem? "I do not like to use the word 'dissident' in relation to Shostakovich.
'Dissidence' means something else - those people in Russia who were called
'dissidents' in the West were those who decided to expose the Soviet system's
hypocrisy publicly and weren't afraid of doing so, the people who demonstrated,
who openly said what they thought; they were sent to camps, sent out of
the country, etc. I still don't understand why they were called 'dissidents':
they were not dissenting, they were exposing. Shostakovich never said
anything publicly because he didn't need to - it was all in his music.
Had he joined those so-called 'dissidents', he would have been prevented
from composing and having his works performed. Shostakovich was a person
of tremendous integrity and his conscience dictated to him that he has
to express the pain and suffering of his country, his people - and his
Prokofiev's behaviour provides a strong contrast with Shostakovich's
tacit public-spiritedness: the centre of his interest seems to have been
Prokofiev - not through especial vanity or arrogance but, as for many
other composers, because his music was the most important thing in his
life. Ashkenazy won't condemn him for it. "As a character there are
many contradictory reports about him, and I'm not in a position to pronounce
on that." But he confesses his puzzlement: "One would have thought
that an artist of that magnitude wouldn't be afraid to reflect what he
saw around himself. To me it is incomprehensible that he didn't do it.
In fact, some people might wonder about the integrity of the individual".
That suggests he sees Prokofiev's habitual recourse to irony in such
terrible times as some kind of moral shortcoming. But he insists he will
not judge. "Who am I to comment on the synthesis of this mysterious
process, with components that, of course, include the gift, the character,
and a myriad other ingredients? There is a finished product, and that's
all we have. I am not a composer, and we don't really know how a composer's
mentality and character get interwoven in the tortuous activity of distilling
ideas into the final composition. We comment so much on the music that
we hear, but we have no idea how it came to be born. You can judge the
result up to a point, but perhaps only the composer knows what he was
trying to say. And here is Prokofiev's style, his face - he couldn't help
it Even when the intention was to communicate points bordering on the
tragic and dramatic - as in the suite 1941 - even then his music can sound
ironic and flippant. And I can't imagine that he wanted it to sound like
that, when Soviet soldiers were dying by the thousands on the front. Yet
there won't be many people who would deny that in his masterpiece, the
ballet Romeo and Juliet, Prokofiev's identification with the tragic end
of the protagonist is anything but complete and universal. I wonder what
role our genes play in the enigmatic activity of being a great composer."
Quasi una fantasia: Jews and the Music Metropolis Vienna
Jewish Museum in Vienna
Michael Haas writes:
When Guido Adler, the father of musicology was presented by his friend
Gustav Mahler with the autograph of 'Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen'
(I am lost to the world), it was inscribed with the dedication, "to
my good friend Guido Adler, whom I hope is never lost to me". The
autograph has recently resurfaced at an auction at Sotheby's. The present
owner, son of a Viennese lawyer maintains that his father received it
as payment from Adler when the latter had no funds shortly before his
death in Nazi Vienna in 1942. Born in 1855, he had witnessed the granting
of full civil rights to Austrian Jews in 1867, gone on to teach most of
musical Vienna, and finally fall victim to the tidal wave of anti-Semitism
which ultimately destroyed Vienna's cultural significance
it, its pre-eminence in music.
The Jewish Museum of Vienna is mounting an exhibition called quasi una
fantasia: Jews and the Music Metropolis Vienna. 'Quasi una fantasia' is
the delusion that Jews lived under, thinking themselves full Austrian
citizens. Leon Botstein has written that music was the quickest means
to assimilation. Jewish families had respect for education and achievement
as well as a fanatical love of the arts. Although only 10% of the population
was Jewish, they made up over 30% of the students in all of Vienna's music
institutions. Brahms's circle of friends, supporters and colleagues were
largely Jewish. Jewish publishers supported the latest and most important
composers; Jewish agents and promoters fed with a healthy diet of international
concerts not imagined with the fall of the Empire, and the loss of true
world significance after 1919. The entire structure of musical Vienna
was overwhelmingly Jewish in its patronage, its dissemination and its
talent. It transcended classical music and opera and generated decades
of operetta, Schlager and caberet which exceeded the successes today of
even a Lloyd Webber.
This will be the first major retrospective of Vienna's Jewish musical
heritage. It is important to note that the exhibition will not exclusively
highlight Jewish composers and musicians after 1938. As Nazi propagandists
doctored the birth certificate of Johann Strauss the elder in order to
hide his Jewish heritage, so they also banned a number of composers they
thought polluted by Jewish thought: Krenek, Webern, Berg, Haba, Hauer
and many more. Countless Viennese left out of solidarity with their Jewish
colleagues or spouses: Karl Rankl, Elisabeth Schumann, Ralph Benatzky,
Robert Stolz, The Busch quartet, Lotte Lehmann and Lotte Lenya.
The story of false hopes of assimilation is told through the narrative
of Guido Adler, 'protected' by his former student Erich Schenk, the 'Aryan'
who was placed in charge of Adler's school of musicology. After Adler's
death, Schenk arranged to have his daughter - who had nursed him through
his last difficult years - sent to the camps, where she was murdered,
in order to acquire his former professor's priceless library. Schenk went
on to dominate music in Vienna long after the War, notoriously telling
Gösta Neuwirth that he would "not be allowed to write a dissertation
on a Jew in my class", when Neuwirth tried to write the first post-War
retrospective on the life and work of Franz Schreker. Schenk went on to
keep former Viennese academics away from Vienna's university, such as
the obvious successor to Adler, Egon Wellesz.
Quasi una fantasia tells the whole sorry and disastrous tale of Vienna's
musical self-mutilation through to the years of Nazi supporters Karajan
and Böhm conducting the Vienna Philharmonic while at the same time
swooning at the feet of Leonard Bernstein and Lorin Maazel.
Christian Immler and Prof Erik Levi performed a programme of Lieder,
sponsored by the JMI at the press launch of the exhibition on 13 May.
It runs until November, and has an audio guide and catalogue with two
CDs which I have prepared.
Dr Karl Weinberger has found the subject of Vienna's Jewish musical past
so compelling that he has engaged me as music curator for a further series
of exhibitions focused on specific composers, to be mounted over the next
5 years. These will include Continental Britons, Egon Wellesz and Hans
Gál, followed by Franz Schreker and his composition Class in 2004.
2005: "Hollywood -- ein sonniges blaues Grab" Erich Zeisl and
Austrian composers in Californian exile
2006: Korngold and Krenek in Vienna
2007: The lost Viennese Moderns: Ernst Toch and Max Brand.
The legacy of Schenk and a municipal structure which for years operated
on a nod and a wink from the right person has meant that even Gustav Mahler
had to wait until 1966 for his first complete, post-War symphonic cycle.
Bernstein, an American Jew, is responsible for what the Viennese now claim
as their 'own' Mahler performance tradition. This ambivalent post-War,
head-in-the-sand psychosis has now ended with the realisation of both
Vienna's greatest gift to the outside world, and its own loss and murderous
betrayal of a group of its most talented, patriotic and energetic citizens:
Jews and non-Jews. All will be examined in quasi una fantasia and the
museum's subsequent exhibitions and concerts
Press Release from the Jewish Museum, Vienna
Ausstellungsprojekte des Musikkurators Michael Haas erarbeitet für
das Jüdische Museum Wien
Es ist charakteristisch für den "Widerstand gegen die Moderne"
in Wien, dass es nach dem Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs 22 Jahre dauerte,
bis es zur Aufführung sämtlicher Symphonien Gustav Mahlers kam.
Die Auseinandersetzung mit der Wiener Moderne in der Musik war aber international
schon so weit gediehen, dass die Vogel-Strauß-Politik der Wiener
Musikinstitutionen und des Wiener Musikpublikums ebenso wenig wie fadenscheinige
Argumente (wie z.B. "verfolgte Kunst muss nicht gleich gute Kunst
sein", oder "wenn sie wirklich wichtig wären, hätte
man diese Komponisten längst entdeckt") den Durchbruch nicht
mehr weiter verhindern konnten.
Gustav Mahler hat sich allen Widerständen zum Trotz durchgesetzt,
und seit den Auftritten Leonard Bernsteins als Dirigent in den 1970er
Jahren kann man sogar von einer "Wiener Mahler-Tradition" sprechen.
Durch ihre Sogkraft können auch die verschütteten Schätze
der von den Nationalsozialisten als "entartet" verfolgten, verbannten
und zum Teil ermordeten Musiker entdeckt werden.
Das Jüdische Museum Wien bereitet für die kommenden Jahre -
in Kooperation mit anderen Kulturinstitutionen - eine Serie von Ausstellungen
und Begleitveranstaltungen vor, die eine Begegnung und Auseinandersetzung
mit den wichtigsten und interessantesten Komponisten aus der Epoche der
Wiener Moderne ermöglichen wird. Ausgehend von Anregungen aus London
wollen wir uns unter dem Titel "Continental Britons" mit den
aus Wien stammenden Exilkomponisten Hans Gál und Egon Wellesz beschäftigen.
Beide hatten mit ihren Aufführungen durch bedeutende Orchester, Dirigenten
und Solisten in Deutschland vor 1933 großen Erfolg. Beide waren
Schüler von Guido Adler in Wien, beide wurden angesehene Hochschullehrer
und haben als solche wesentlich zur Musikgeschichte und ihrer Erforschung
beigetragen. Beide wurden nach ihrer Flucht aus Österreich an britische
Als Komponisten waren Wellesz und Gál trotz vieler Gemeinsamkeiten
in ihrem Lebenslauf vollkommen unterschiedlich, und es spricht für
die Bandbreite des musikalischen Spektrums in Wien, dass sie sich in verschiedene
Stilrichtungen entwickeln konnten. Egon Wellesz war Mitglied des Schönbergkreises,
ohne von ihm dominiert zu werden. Aus der ersten Schönbergklasse
war er zunächst der Erfolgreiche und ebnete durch seinen Einsatz
den Weg für die Mitschüler Berg und Webern. Hans Gál
wiederum stand voll in der Wiener Brahmstradition und pries sich - im
Gegensatz zu Wellesz - glücklich, diese Tradition weiter pflegen
zu können. Mit großen Erfolgen wie "Die Heilige Ente"
und "Das Lied der Nacht", zwei Opern, die im deutschen Repertoire
bis 1933 blieben, war ihm auch die Unterstützung von Wilhelm Furtwängler
und Richard Strauss sicher. Im Jahr der Machtergreifung der Nazis war
seine Oper "Die beiden Klaas" mit Fritz Busch vom Spielplan
in Dresden abgesetzt worden. Ebenso erging es den beabsichtigten Aufführungen
der Wellesz-Oper "Die Bakchanntinen" unter Clemens Krauss in
München, die 1932 in Wien äußerst erfolgreich war.
Danach folgte das Exil in Großbritannien, das durch eine Reihe von
Schicksalsschlägen geprägt war: Gál fand keine Arbeit,
verlor Verwandte - vor allem seine Kinder - durch den Holocaust und durch
Selbstmord. Er selbst wurde interniert und musste unvorstellbare Schwierigkeiten
meistern. Wellesz ging unmittelbar nach einer Aufführung in Amsterdam
mit Bruno Walter im Konzertgebouw nach Oxford, wo er bis in die frühen
60er Jahren unterrichtete. Seine Familie ist ihm später nachgefolgt.
Bei Kriegsausbruch wurde er interniert, unvorbereitet für ihn ein
hartes Los, von dem er allerdings nach einigen Monaten durch Intervention
von Ralph Vaughan Williams befreit wurde. Jedoch in diesen schlimmsten
Jahren konnte Wellesz nicht komponieren, während Gál komponieren
musste, um nicht seinen Verstand zu verlieren.
In der Nachkriegszeit lassen sich unterschiedliche Wege erkennen: Wellesz
komponierte neun Sinfonien, ein Violinkonzert, einen großen Orchestersatz
und unzählige Chorwerke. Er entwickelte sich in seiner Tonsprache
kompromisslos weiter. Gál hingegen schrieb relativ wenig, hauptsächlich
Kammermusik und Werke nur für sich selbst und seine Freunde. Er merkte,
dass er in einer für ihn fremden Sprachumgebung nur schwer komponieren
Mit der parallelen Darstellung von zwei oder auch mehreren Persönlichkeiten
kann die Vielfalt der Wiener Musikszene besser zur Geltung kommen. Deshalb
beabsichtigt das Jüdische Museum Wien die Fortsetzung dieses Ausstellungskonzepts
als Serie von Präsentationen, von denen jedes Jahr eine im Palais
Eskeles gezeigt werden soll:
2004 - "Franz Schreker und seine Kompositionsklasse",
2005 - "Hollywood, ein blaues, sonniges Grab". Eric Zeisl und
andere Wiener Musiker im kalifornischen Exil,
2006 - Erich Wolfgang Korngold und Ernst Krenek in Wien und
2007 - "Das andere Wien-modern" Max Brand und Ernst Toch.
Im Gegensatz zu Mahler stehen die meisten der genannten Komponisten längst
nicht mehr auf ausländischen Konzertprogrammen. Wellesz erlebt eine
Renaissance mit der Aufführung seiner Oper 'Die Bakchanntinen' bei
den diesjährigen Salzburger Festspielen, und seine dritte Sinfonie
wurde kürzlich in London aufgeführt.
Durch das Engagement von Michael Haas, einem in Wien ausgebildeten Musiker,
der sich als Produzent der Decca-CD-Serie "Entartete Musik"
einen Namen machen konnte, als Musikkurator des Museums und ausgehend
von den Erfahrungen mit der heurigen Musikausstellung "quasi una
fantasia. Juden und die Musikstadt Wien" will das Jüdische Museum
nun gezielter mit diesen personenbezogenen Präsentationen dem Wiener
Publikum eine intensive Auseinandersetzung mit den weniger bekannten Größen
des durch die Gewaltakte der Nationalsozialisten verschütteten Wiener
Musiklebens bieten und damit die dem Land abhanden gekommenen Kulturträger
wieder ins Bewusstsein rufen.
Paul Wittgenstein Archive on sale at Sotheby's
Martin Anderson writes:
On 22 May 2003 a remarkable sale is taking place at Sotheby's in London.
The best-known - and most expensive - item is the autograph manuscript
of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which is expected to sell at £2-3
million (not very much, I'd say, given its cultural significance). There
is much material directly related to the concerns of the IFSM, including
material by Schoenberg, Prokofiev, Weigl, Korngold and others. All 214
lots can be examined online at www.sothebys.com;
click on the 'auction calendar', scroll down to 22 May, and you will find
full details, often illustrated, and annotated informedly.
The biggest single item seems to be the archive of the pianist Paul Wittgenstein,
lot 214, a collection of extraordinary richness. The details of lot 214
on the Sotherby's website contain an excellent (anonymous) essay on Wittgenstein,
which I have taken the liberty of reproducing here.
This is a highly important archive relating to the life and work of Paul
Wittgenstein (1887-1961), the pianist who commissioned many outstanding
works for the piano left hand and who was a significant figure in the
musical life of Austria and the United States of America in the middle
years of the twentieth century. Its importance as a source for music by
Ravel, Richard Strauss, Prokofiev, Britten and especially Franz Schmidt,
can hardly be over-estimated. It is a virtually unknown and untapped archive
of research material: it reveals a great deal about Wittgenstein's working
methods, how he treated his commissions, how he performed the works, how
he recomposed sections to his liking and how he always sought to expand
the range of music for piano left hand. This archive documents the evolution
of some of the great piano concertos and concertante works of the twentieth
century, by Ravel, Strauss, Prokofiev and Britten, in particular. It contains
early versions of these works, many of which differ from the texts that
have been handed down to us.
It sheds light on all sorts of other issues: the nature of musical patronage
in modern times, on composer and commissioner, on his taste and indeed
on the wider activities of Wittgenstein and his important and interesting
family. There is much to be uncovered here: this description can only
give a general account of some of the material and of the great riches
within. One aspect shines through: the bravery, the indomitable spirit
and sheer stubbornness of Paul Wittgenstein who, through his indefatigable
energy and persistence, carved out his own quite distinctive niche in
the history of twentieth-century music and is responsible for some of
its great masterpieces.
Paul was the seventh of the eight children of Karl Wittgenstein, the industrialist
and steel manufacturer, one of the richest and most dynamic businessmen
in the Habsburg empire. The family was a cultural powerhouse of creativity,
commissioning works of art or creating them themselves. There was hardly
an artist or composer in Vienna with whom the Wittgensteins were not acquainted.
They were great patrons of music and art and an intellectual force to
be reckoned with. Yet, despite the wealth and art, there were great internal
tensions. Karl was a self-made man and he expected great things of his
five sons, three of whom succumbed early on, committing suicide in their
twenties. Only Ludwig, the great philosopher and Paul lived to full maturity
and both made a lasting impression on the world, though in quite different
All of the Wittgenstein children were musical. Within the family, Paul's
considerable talents were often taken for granted, and he was not regarded
as anything special in comparison with other siblings. Yet he was the
only member of the family to make a successful career as a musician. His
training, befitting a Wittgenstein, was superb, studying with Malvine
Brée and Theodore Leschetizky, himself a pupil of Czerny. Much
of the music owned by Wittgenstein from his student years survives in
the archive, together with his notes. Clearly, he was schooled as a virtuoso
in the Liszt tradition, a style of performance that did not find favour
within his family, who regarded him as too flashy and lacking in taste.
He made his debut in 1913, at the comparatively late age of 26, and was
all set for a career as a concert virtuoso. Then, disaster struck. At
the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Wittgenstein was wounded
while serving on the Russian Front and lost his right arm. He was captured
and imprisoned for nearly two years, before being repatriated in 1916.
From then on he re-created himself as a one-armed pianist, re-learning
and re-forming his technique with a single-mindedness which would surely
have impressed his hard-driven father, had he still been living. So successful
was the transformation that he was able to cope with pianistic difficulties
which would have challenged performers with two hands.
But it was not just his own technique and career Wittgenstein had to remake:
he had to create a repertory. Before Wittgenstein, very few musicians
had written music for one hand: there are some small works by Brahms,
Saint-Saëns and Scriabin, but little of consequence. Wittgenstein
at first created a repertoire by himself, adapting works by earlier composers,
including several Lieder ohne Worte by Mendelssohn, arias by Mozart and
even an operatic paraphrase by Liszt. Wittgenstein's work on these and
on other projects is evident in the many manuscripts in the archive.
Unlike Admiral Nelson, who also had to teach himself to write after losing
his right arm, Paul Wittgenstein was never evidently exceptionally fluent
at writing with his left hand. His interventions on music paper are large
and dramatic: the ungainly, tottering and uneven lettering and florid,
chaotic musical notation embody Wittgenstein's struggles. His determination
to write down his thoughts, to test the fingering of a passage, or to
create a personal and meaningful form of musical expression are at once
impressive and moving.
A piano performer in the late-nineteenth-century tradition needed to have
a few concertos in his repertoire and these were beyond Wittgenstein's
own limited composing abilities. Harnessing his considerable financial
inheritance and independence with his unremitting and almost ruthless
determination, Wittgenstein commissioned a concerto repertory from a number
of contemporary composers, creating, at the same time, a new form of patronage.
In former centuries, a patron might commission a musician to produce musical
works for his court. In only a few cases, such as with Frederick the Great,
would the maecenas expect to play the music himself. But rarely would
the commissioner have expected to have sole rights to the music and never
that his own career as a performer should depend on it. This had perhaps
unenvisaged consequences for composer, work and performer.
Wittgenstein commissioned more than twenty pieces of orchestral and chamber
music from a variety of composers of different nationalities from the
1920s to the 1940s. The archive contains manuscripts or performing materials
for almost all of these compositions. In 1938, the political situation
required Wittgenstein to leave Vienna to live in New York. He left, taking
his musical library with him and resumed his concert career and his commissioning
activities in the United States.
The terms of Wittgenstein's beneficence were generous, but he was demanding.
He held exclusive rights over performance for at least ten years; and
in a number of cases, he published the music under his own auspices, also
retaining the rights. At the end of concerts, the manuscript parts and
conductors' score were collected and returned to Wittgenstein, whose exclusivity
in most cases precluded performance by anyone else. This means that the
surviving conductor's scores must contain valuable performance information,
possibly in the hands as such great interpreters as Bruno Walter and Franz
Schalk. This is an invaluable and almost unique resource.
Even a successful and well-established composer such as Richard Strauss
agreed to such terms. This gave Wittgenstein great control over a work,
particularly if he did not like the finished result. He was by nature
conservative, although perhaps not so much as his philosopher brother
who once said that even in Brahms 'I can begin to hear the sound of machinery'.
Many of the composers he chose were certainly not avant garde, but held
modernist sensibilities. This led to disputes and disagreements with the
result that some major pieces such as Prokofiev's Fourth Piano Concerto
were neither performed nor published in the composer's lifetime, to the
detriment of the work and author. Richard Strauss's two works, the Parergon
zur Symphonia Domestica and the Panathenäenzug were first published
in Wittgenstein's edition. With the performer's exclusive rights to performance
and publication, this did not allow these two interesting pieces to enter
the repertoire. Ravel, whose Piano Concerto for the left hand is the one
supreme masterpiece in the collection, seems not to have allowed himself
to be constrained by Wittgenstein's publishing requirement (Durand in
Paris printed the score), and nor was he so much inhibited by the exclusivity
of performance. However, this did not stop Wittgenstein from having Ravel's
delicate and extraordinary orchestral score arranged for military band
in a wartime performance in Philadelphia in 1943, the composer no doubt
spinning in his grave.
The survival of so many performing versions of Wittgenstein's commissions
in the archive allows the opportunity to compare the progress of different
compositions during their early years in the concert repertory and the
changes wrought by Wittgenstein. This is especially so with the composer
who really flourished under Wittgenstein's patronage, the Austrian Franz
Schmidt. A cellist and pupil of Bruckner and Leschetizky, a composer of
Romantic sensibility and finely crafted, if expansive, music, Schmidt
was only peripherally influenced by the more advanced developments of
his contemporaries. The archive contains autograph material for six major
compositions, including the Piano Concerto, three chamber quintets and
a set of concertante variations on a theme of Beethoven. This is a substantial
proportion of Schmidt's output and demonstrates the importance of Wittgenstein
on his career as a composer. The pianist clearly stipulated what he wanted
from Schmidt and was pleased with the results. For example, the long piano
cadenza in the Quintet with strings was added later and at the pianist's
behest. To judge by the number of manuscripts, the piano concerto reached
its final form through several versions and many vicissitudes. The 'Tokkata''
contains many revisions and rewrites by Wittgenstein.
Schmidt was held up to Britten and others by Wittgenstein as a model composer.
The Englishman did not have much sympathy with Schmidt's music when Wittgenstein
sent him his scores. It is interesting how many cadenzas the pianist wished
to be inserted in Britten's Diversions in an effort to transform the composer's
original sharply-observed quasi neo-Classical variations into a more Romantic
vehicle (See Lot 43). With Richard Strauss, Wittgenstein was on surer
ground, but it is interesting to see how free was the pianist with Strauss's
music. The scores and the instrumental parts here contain many changes
and alterations made by Wittgenstein and his conductors, involving altered
piano parts and figuration, changes to the scoring,and sometimes quite
radical excisions and revisions. Wittgenstein's changes were not on the
whole incorporated in the texts that have come down to us. These manuscripts
are therefore highly important documents in the Receptionsgeschichte of
a number of eminent works.
There is a strange irony in Wittgenstein's approach towards the younger
composers, especially Prokofiev and Britten (though the older Ravel did
not escape censure). By the 1930s, these composers had all moved away
from the Romantic gestures which Wittgenstein loved. Neo-classical conciseness,
almost the antithesis of Romanticism, pervades their scores. If Wittgenstein
had hoped for a romantic concerto, he came to the wrong composers. He
disdained the Prokofiev, played the Ravel many times, as can be judged
also from the many copies of this work in the collection and the large
number of instrumental parts, though professed to dislike it and seldom
performed the Britten. Korngold was a composer who was more sympathetic,
and his vast piano concerto exists in several different versions, often
heavily annotated by Wittgenstein.
The large collection of instrumental parts for all these works are of
great interest and importance. Not only are they marked up with all the
alterations Wittgenstein and his conductors felt necessary, they also
contain the details of interpretation of great conductors, such as Schalk
and Bruno Walter, to name but two, who directed the premieres and early
performances. Even more interesting are the comments of the musicians
added at the end of many of the instrumental parts. These provide details
of the earliest performances, the places and dates and sometimes comments
as to who was there.
While the richness of the manuscript sources is perhaps the main highlight
of the collection, it is not the sole reason for its importance. There
is an immense resource of biographical material in the large number of
concert programmes and photographs which amplify aspects and events in
Wittgenstein's life. The thousands of pages of his own musical writings,
some of which were used in his School for the Left Hand (1957) and the
painstaking notes painfully produced by his left hand are testimony to
his hard work and determination. As is his library, showing the development
of his musical education and his hard work and his love for the classics
and byways of Romantic music which he so much admired. Flindell reports
the young Paul playing piano duets with Richard Strauss. The archive contains
the music and arrangements of music by Spohr which both pianists loved
so much (E. F. Flindell,"Paul Wittgenstein (1887-1961): Patron and
Pianist'', The Music Review, xxxii (1971), 10).
Paul Wittgenstein was an extraordinary man and artist; a product of the
tough and demanding Wittgenstein family; a man born with the proverbial
silver spoon in his mouth; one who triumphed over an adversity which would
have laid many low; and who by turns inspired, cajoled, infuriated and
charmed composers into producing fine works and some indisputably great
ones, adding more fame and lustre to the Wittgenstein escutcheon.
Music in Dresden under the Nazis
Agata Schindler writes:
Dresdner Musikerschicksale und nationalsozialistische Judenverfolgung
1933-1945, Dresden, 1999
(File entry: 'Undesirable': Jewish Dresden musicians persecuted by the
Nazis in the years 1933-1945, Dresden, 1999)
When, in 1995, I first started to take an interest in this episode of
Dresden's musical history, there were no publications dealing with the
topic. It was necessary first of all to assess the Nazi literature of
the period. That initial research provided me with the names of some one
hundred composers, musicians, musical theorists and journalist of Jewish
origin, who had some connection with Dresden's musical life. All the more
surprising, therefore, were my subsequent findings that at least nine
of the musicians who were born or worked in Dresden died in the Holocaust,
three others managed to survive the concentration camps, and two avoided
persecution by going into hiding. The remainder saved their lives by fleeing
the country and becoming exiles in Czechoslovakia, Sweden, Palestine,
China, Japan, USA and other countries of the American continent. Those
musicians who did not join the first wave of exiles created within Dresden's
Jewish community - as in other German towns - the Dresden Union of Jewish
Culture (Jüdischer Kulturbund Dresden). The German press of those
days made no mention of its existence.
In summer 2003 I will published a new book: Dresdner Liste - Musikstadt
Dresden in Nationsozialistische Judenverfolgung 1933-1945 in Wort und
Bild. Ein Beitrag Zur Dresdner Musikgeschichte. It contains:
o biographies of 15 personalities (for example, Paul Aron, Richard Engländer,
Arthur Chitz, Henry Meyer, Szymon Goldberg and Francis Koene)
o 70 events of the Dresden Union of Jewish Culture
o 150 short biographies of musicians from Dresden
o 250 documents and photographs
2 September 2003 in the synagogue in Dresden
3 September 2003 in Kamenz (in the framework of the the music festival
Music, Power and Politics
Annie Janeiro Randall writes:
Forthcoming from Routledge in 2004: Music, Power, and Politics: Sounds
of Suppression, Resistance, and Subversion, edited by Annie Janeiro Randall
(Bucknell University, Dept. of Music, Lewisburg, PA, USA). The volume
is made up of fourteen essays by authors from seven different countries,
including an introduction and essay by the editor. Each chapter examines
the hegemonic or counter-hegemonic operations of music in a specific socio-historical
context: colonial South Africa, post-colonial Barbados, Nazi Germany,
Fascist Italy, present-day Mexico, post-war Serbia-Montenegro, Punk-era
Britain, USA in the 1950s, pre-unification East Germany, China ca. 1945,
present-day Korea, present-day Iran, and Columbia in the 1950s. Authors
are Grant Olwage (South Africa), Sharon Meredith (UK), Britta Sweers (Germany),
Ruth Hellier (UK), Jelena Jovanovic (Serbia-Herzegovina), Bennett Hogg
(UK), Michael Eldridge (USA), Helen Reddington (UK), Hon-Lun Yang (Hong
Kong, PRC), Robert Templeman (USA), Laudan Nooshin (Iran), Edward Larkey
(USA), Keith Howard (UK), and Annie Janeiro Randall (USA).
Music composed in concentration camps of Europe, Asia and North-Africa
during the Second World War
Musik in den Konzentrationslagern Europas, Asiens und Nordafrikas während
des Zweiten Weltkrieges komponiert
La produzione musicale nei campi di concentramento d'Europa, Asia e Nord
Africa durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale
From the notes:
'Musica Judaica is undoubtedly the most complete, richest record which
includes the whole musical cycle composed from 1933 (when camps such as
Dachau and Börgermoor were opened) to 1945 in all death and prisoner-of-war
camps. It is the result of a 10-year, huge historical and musicological
work by the Italian pianist Francesco Lotoro. Musica Judaica represents
a real dictionary within the musical literature produced in all camps,
both of the Axis and Allied countries, during WWII.'
The first CD in the ambitious Musica Judaica series of sixteen has recently
been released, on Symposium 1SCL0701:
Gideon Klein (1919-45)
Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944)
Piano Sonata No. 5, Op. 45, No. 6, Op. 49, and No. 7
The second disc is in preparation and will contain:
Der Mensch und Sein Tag, Op. 47, BT/pf; 3 Lieder nach C. F. Meyer, BT/pf;
2 Chinesische Lieder, BT/pf; Wendla im Garten, BT/pf; Chansons des enfants
Pavel Haas (1899-1944)
4 Chinese Songs, BT/pf
Rudolf Karel (1880-1945)
Pìsen Svobody, Op.41a, BT/pf; Zena-Moje Stestì, Op. 41b,
BT/pf; Pankràc March, Op. 42a, pf; Pankràc Polka, Op. 42b,
vl/pf; Pankràc Valzer, Op.42c, pf; Prisoners' March, pf
Robert Dauber (1922-45)
FYI, Francesco Lotoro made a recording of such material in 1994, for the
Cultura e Musica label (CMCD006), featuring the Tema con variazioni of
Rudolf Karel (who died in Terezín in March 1945), the Suite, Op.
13, of Pavel Haas, Piano Sonata (1943) of Gideon Klein, and the Sixth
Sonata of Viktor Ullmann.
Karla Hartl of The Kaprálová Society writes:
Two works composed by Viteùslava Kaprálová have
been recently published in Prague:
Prelude de Noël (1939). Chamber orchestra
Orchestral score. 16 pages.
Publisher: Czech Radio Publishing House | Prague, December 2002
Catalogue No. R022
Publisher's price (score): 220 Kc (Czech currency)
Parts available for hire from the publisher.
To order both the score and parts, send your email to: vaclav.rysl[at]rozhlas.cz
Skladby z detstvi | Childhood compositions (1924-28).
Piano score. 16 pages.
Publisher: Amos Editio | Prague, April 2003
Catalogue No. AM 0040
Foreword and editorial notes in Czech | English | German.
Publisher's price: 110 KC (Czech currency)
To order, email the publisher at vnemec[at]amos.cz
Gottfried von Einem named 'Righteous among the Nations'
The Gottfried von Einem site (www.einem.org)
gives the following information:
In December 2002, Gottfried von Einem was named a "Righteous among
the Nations" receiving the highest honor that the State of Israel
gives to non-Jews.
With an announcement on 12/4/2002 from the Embassy of the State of Israel,
the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Organization Yad Vashem posthumously honored
Gottfried von Einem with the title "Righteous among the Nations".
Those so honored belong to a group who, from February 1943 until the end
of the war, contributed to helping Konrad Latte survive the period of
his persecution. In so doing, these helpers risked their own lives, as
well as those of their families. During a ceremony on Friday, December
6th, 2002 at 11:00 AM in the Church of the Justice Department's Tegel
Correctional Facility on 39 Seidel Street in Berlin, the Envoy of the
State of Israel, Mordechay Lewy, discussed the effect of the honorees
and presented their relatives Yad Vashem medals and certificates.
The Church of the Tegel Correctional Facility was chosen to host the event
as its former Reverend, Harald Poelchau, was also honored by Yad Vashem
in 1971. Among others, it was he who was the deciding factor in Konrad
Latte's survival. Gertie Siemsen, also an honoree, was at that time his
closest co-worker; furthermore, Willy Kranz, similarly honored, leased
the Berlin prison's cafeterias. The Yad Vashem memorial service was run
under the auspices of the Senate Committee for the Justice of Berlin.
Yad Vashem, the agency dedicated to the perpetuation of the remembrance
of the martyrs and heroes in Jerusalem is both a memorial organization
and simultaneously a center for research, which focuses on the fate of
European Jews during the Nazi era. Among the agency's principal tasks
is to commemorate and demonstrate its thanks to those people who, of their
own accord, tried to save Jews, despite the danger to their lives and
to those of their families. Yad Vashem does this with the title of honor
"Righteous among the Nations": the title comprises medals and
certificates, as well as a permanent inscription of the recipient's name
on the memorial wall in the "Garden of the Just" in Yad Vashem.
It is the higest honor that Israel confers on non-jews. Nearly 19,000
women and men from all parts of Europe have received the title; among
them are 400 Germans.
The Goldschmidt Centenary in Hamburg
Peter Petersen writes:
1. Memorial Plaque
On the day of Berthold Goldschmidt's hundredth birthday, 18 January 2003,
a memorial plaque with the following text (translated from the German)
Here, at Steinstraße 12,
was born, on 18 January 1903
the composer and conductor
After growing up in Hamburg, he began to study at the University here.
In 1922 he transferred to Berlin and the composition class Franz Schreker.
In 1926 his Passacaglia for Orchestra was awarded the Mendelssohn Prize.
His opera "Der gewaltige Hahnrei" was successfully staged in
Mannheim in 1932. In 1935 Goldschmidt fled to England. Here, as conductor,
he championed the music of Gustav Mahler. His second opera, "Beatrice
Cenci" received the prize of the Arts Council of Great Britain in
1951, but was not performed. Goldschmidt was forgotten but in his 80s
experienced a comeback and worldwide recognition. He celebrated his 90th
birthday as a guest of the Senate in his hometown, Hamburg.
Berthold Goldschmidt died in London on 17 October 1996.
Patriotische Gesellschaft von 1765
The plaque is on a building which replaced the original house around
1912, in a redesign of the Hamburg inner city. The initiative for a Goldschmidt
memorial plaque came from my Arbeitsgruppe Exilmusik, and was realised
in the framework of the memorial-plaque programme of the Patriotic Society
of 1765 in Hamburg.
First German Performance of the song 'Noble Little Soldier's Wife'
In the autumn of 1946 the BBC broadcast the English version of the play
Draussen vor der Tür - The Man Outside - by Wolfgang Borchert. For
it Goldschmidt had written the song 'Noble Little Soldier's Wife', for
male voice and xylophone, to act as a rehearsal song when the protagonist
Beckmann tried to get a position in a cabaret. In conjunction with end-of-semester
celebrations at the Musikwissenschaftliches Institut of the University
of Hamburg this brief composition was presented for the first time in
Germany on 6 February. The singer was Joachim Kuntzsch, and the xylophone
was played by Kammo Zimmermann.
The performance arose through the bi-lingual edition that I prepared for
publication by the Wolfgang-Bochert -Gesellschaft in 2002. The edition
of the music uses the English version set by Goldschmidt (in a translation
by David Porter); the German version sits below the English text. On this
occasion both versions were sung.
Berg's Passacaglia in Pittsburgh
In 1913 Alban Berg began the composition of an orchestral passacaglia,
writing the work out in short score until two bars into an eleventh variation,
at which point he broke off. The orchestration was undertaken by Christian
von Borries, and in this performance version the piece lasts around four
minutes. The US premiere was given by Mariss Jansons and the Pittsburgh
Symphony Orchestra on 28 February 2003.
Tansman in Utrecht
The first performance in many years of Alexandre Tansman's oratorio Isaie,
le Prophète (1949-50) was given on 21 December 2002 in Utrecht;
the Radio Symfoni Orkest was conducted by the Estonian Eri Klas. The work
was premiered in Paris in 1952 (the US premiere followed in 1955, in Los
Sandfort returns to Terezín
Paul Aron Sandfort writes:
The first performance of my work Nachschub, composed one-and-a-half years
ago for string quartet, flute and trumpet, was a great success at the
opening concert in Theresienstadt Kulturhaus on 8 May. The musicians of
the Teplitz Symphonic orchestra were playing while I recited the poem,
which I wrote from a dream I used to have a few years after my imprisonment
in the ghetto. The trumpet was replaced by the oboe which sounded very
well. The date is significant: 8 May was the day of the liberation of
the ghetto by the Russian army 58 years ago. The poem was a nightmare
from 1943 which I wrote in 1946-47; the music I composed in 2001-2. The
first violin was Martina Proskova, second violin Jiri Jung, viola Maria
Slavickova, violoncello Marek Vancl, oboe Vladimir Pristupa.
Nachschub is going to be played in Manchester next September when it
will be conducted by Stephen Threlfall, at Chetham's School of Music.
Goldschmidt Discovery Day
Sunday 18 May 2003
Berthold's Words and Music in Hampstead
JMI is supporting the Hampstead and Highgate Festival in presenting a
special day-long event in celebration of the centenary of Berthold Goldschmidt,
refugee composer, who spent the last half-century of his life in Hampstead.
The event on 18 May is at Jackson's Lane, Archway Road, N6 and consists
of a Seminar from 2.30 to 6.00pm on Goldschmidt and his music. These will
be discussed and illustrated, with archive recordings, by Bernard Keeffe,
Lewis Foreman, David Matthews, Daniel Snowman and others. There will be
an evening concert of Goldschmidt's chamber music and songs. You can book
for both events together at a special price of £15 (£12 concessions)
from 020 7794 0022. The website is
You can also go to the Boosey and Hawkes site (www.boosey.com)
to see all the performances of Goldschmidt's music scheduled for the centenary
Cabaret Workshop with Alexandra Yaron
Sunday 15 June 3.00-5.30pm at the LJCC, Hampstead, London
Candidates can work on 2 cabaret pieces of your choice with the international
Chanteuse Alexandra Yaron, who specializes in the performance of German
and French cabaret.
Songs can be presented in German, English or French and two copies of
the music should be provided. The workshop is free for all participants
and no auditions will be held. It will be expected that participants are
adequately familiar with their chosen songs.
Repertoire can include songs by Hanns Eisler, Kurt Weill, Mischa Spoliansky,
Friedrich Hollaender, Werner Richard-Heymann, Rudolph Nelson, Margueritte
Monnot, Michel Emer, and others. For further information or should you
wish to learn and/or prepare new songs please email Alexandra direct at
"Alex sings the songs from the Berlin's cabaret with a voice that
recalls the period with a command of style that transports instantly back
to a time and place, with more authenticity than almost any other singer
today." Michael Haas, Executive Producer, Decca Recording Series
"Entartete Musik", November 2000
For further details, please call the LJCC office on 020 7431 0345 or
email admin[at]ljcc.org.uk. Admission is free, but please register in advance.
'Entartete' Musik Cabaret
Saturday 24th May at 6.30pm and 9pm (£10/£7 concessions)
Sunday 25th May at 5pm (all tickets £5)
Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th June at 8pm (£10/£7 concessions)
So called 'Degenerate' music silenced by Hitler
Devised and directed by Jude Alderson
This evening of cabaret and song will celebrate the lyrics of biting
satire, the tongue in cheek eroticism and chutzpah of the performers and
composers who struggled in the shadow of the Third Reich. They will be
performing some Spoliansky songs, and Mischa Spoliansky's daughter will
attend on one of the evenings.
The Drill Hall, 2 Chenies Street, London WC1E 7EX, 020 7307 5060 www.drillhall.co.uk
'Entartete Musik' in America
The American orchestras are beginning to announce their 2003-4 seasons.
The Pavel Haas Study has been programmed by the Washinghton National and
Milwaukee Symphony Orchestras; Zemlinsky's Die Seejungfrau is being done
by the Los Angeles Phil, Buffalo Phil, Toronto Symphony and Grand Rapids
SO; the Lyric Symphony by the Philadelphia Orchestra and Leon Botstein's
American SO (together with the Schreker Schatzgräber Interlude),
while the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra is preparing an entire season of
music banned by the Nazis. What follows is their press announcement, not
yet available on the Orchestra's website
Next season, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's parallel focus will be
on the music of several composers persecuted as 'degenerate' or unsuitable
under the Nazi regime in the 1930s through the end of the Second World
War. The Chamber Orchestra will perform music of Kurt Weill, Hans Krasa,
Erwin Schulhoff, Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and others. The Saint Paul
Chamber Orchestra will present these composers' music, exploring the influences
of jazz, cabaret and romanticism in their works.
Programs will include the Chamber Symphony by Franz Schreker - one of
the most popular composers of operas in 1920s and 1930s; Kurt Weill's
jazz-influenced Symphony No. 2; and Brundibár by Hans Krasa, a
Czech composer who reconstructed this children's opera in the Nazi concentration
camp at Terezín (Theresienstadt) near Prague. Brundibar, a simple
story of the triumph of good over evil, was performed at least 55 times
at Terezín, and offered a rare ray of hope. Many who performed
Brundibár in the camp died in captivity. The Saint Paul Chamber
Orchestra will follow performances of Brundibar with Mozart's Requiem,
in tribute to those who died.
Music Director Andreas Delfs commented: 'For many years, I have been struck
by the artistic and musical dimensions of the Nazi horror. Revisiting
the inspired music of these composers, whose creative lives, along with
their fellow artists and writers, were for the most part crushed by the
Nazis, is an extraordinarily moving experience. Pairing these works with
those of Mozart is both compelling and intentional: we will contrast the
music of a generation of wonderful composers whose careers were prematurely
cut off or significantly altered, with that of music's greatest genius,
whose own creative life ended at an early age. In each case, we can't
help but wonder what might have been. This music is very important to
me, and I am looking forward to our performances at The Saint Paul Chamber
Orchestra during the 2003-04 season'.
Throughout the thirties in Nazi Germany, books were burned, and many literary,
music and art works were labeled as degenerate art. Many artists and philosophers
- living and dead, German or other - were persecuted during this time,
including Sigmund Freud, Thomas Mann, Ernest Hemingway, Karl Marx, Emile
Zola, H.G. Wells, Marcel Proust; and painters Max Beckman, Emil Nolde,
Oskar Kokoschka and many, many others. Even the music of Mendelssohn -
prominently featured in the 2003-04 season - was banned.
The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra will partner with the University of Minnesota
to present a series of events exploring the historical, social and artistic
contexts of the music, art and literature of the Nazi Period. The University
of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts departments participating in this
project will include the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, the
School of Music, the Center for Austrian Studies, the Center for German
and European Studies, the Center for Jewish Studies, and the European
'This is an important period to remember, not only in German and European
history,' said Dr. Stephen Feinstein, Director of Center for Holocaust
and Genocide Studies at the University of Minnesota. 'The idea of "degeneracy"
became an attack on those in the arts who possessed imagination and creativity.
The playing of this music is a reminder of the countless new compositions
that were lost because their composers were traumatized, exiled, or murdered.
It is also a statement of the importance of recognizing pluralism and
differences in democratic societies.'
Schul and Ullmann in Poland
Jacqueline Cole writes:
I will be giving the following piano recital in Cieszyn in honour of
Viktor Ullmann in the church of his baptism in 1898. St Mary Magdalene,
Dominikan Square, Cieszyn, Poland Saturday 19 July at 7.30pm (as part
of The New Horizons Film Festival) Partita No. 6 in E Minor J. S. Bach
Sonata in E (1918-20) John Ireland Fuge Zikmund Schul Sonata No. 7 Viktor
Ullmann Ballade No. 1 in G minor ChopinOpera
Hans Gál's Heilige Ente in Cologne
Kölner Oper is currently presenting Hans Gál's opera Die heilige
Ente in a reduced version: an 'orchestra' of string quintet, two pianos,
celesta, harp, lots of percussion, and a reduced duration from full evening
to one hour, since it is in their series for children. The performances
run on until 20 June:
May: 20, 22, 25, 26 May, 2, 4, 6, 11, 14, 16, 18, 20 June.
Carole Farley in Ginastera's banned Bomarzo at the Teatro Colón,
Jessica Lambert writes:
The American soprano Carole Farley starts rehearsals next week at Teatro
Colón, Buenos Aires' famed opera house, for the new production
of Alberto Ginastera's Bomarzo, which the military junta banned 25 years
ago, presumably because of 'excessive nudity, overt eroticism and violence'.
The premiere is scheduled for 13 June. Carole Farley, who sang the Metropolitan
Opera first production of Alban Berg's Lulu at age 22, is the only foreign
singer in the cast of Bomarzo. Her previous role at Teatro Colón
was in Kurt Weill's Mahagonny. This production was so successful that
when it was repeated the following season it had to be transferred to
the Luna Park in Buenos Aires, a covered stadium seating 10,000, with
all ten presentations sold out. Farley's new recording of songs by Ernesto
Lecuona, which includes several world premieres, is being released later
this year by the BIS label. In July Farley records songs by Kurt Weill
with the Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, also for BIS.
Weill in Australia
David Pountney announces two Austrian Weill premieres for 2004:
Schreker revivals, plus Korngold and Zemlinsky
The following Schreker opera productions are being revived next season:
Der ferne Klang (Berlin Staatsoper)
Die Gezeichneten (Stuttgart Opera)
Der Schatzgräber (Frankfurt Opera)
There's a new production of Korngold's Die tote Stadt at the Deutsche
Oper, Berlin (under Christian Thielemann) and Zemlinsky's Der Zwerg receives
a new production by Opera North, directed by David Pountney, with performances
in Leeds and a UK tour. Zemlinsky's Der Kreidekreis also receives a new
production at Zurich Opera (again produced by Poutney) in October.
Ernst Hermann Meyer film-scores at the Imperial War Museum, London
The Imperial War Museum (Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ) is running a series
of films with scores by composers working in Britain during and after
the Second World War, among them Ernst Hermann Meyer (the others include
Bax, Parker, Rawsthorne, Walton and Vaughan Williams).
The IWM website (www.iwm.org.uk/lambeth/wotfilm1.htm)
offers the following information:
A Few Ounces a Day (1941) Animated film explaining the need for salvage,
Defeat TB (1942) The history and treatment of Tuberculosis, Work Party
(1942) Len Lye's film about a family of munitions workers at work and
at play. 22 mins 2-6, 9-13 June at 4.00pm; 14 June at 12.00noon and 3.00pm;
15 June at 11.00am
Filing the Gap (1942) A Halas and Batchelor cartoon for the 'Dig for Victory'
campaign, Subject for Discussion (1943). The need for openness in tackling
venereal disease, Dustbin Parade (1942) A Halas and Batchelor cartoon
to encourage household salvage. 25 mins.
16-20, 23-27 June at 4.00pm; 14 June at 2.00pm and 4.00pm; 15 June at
Full details of the entire season, which lasts from early May to late
July, can be found at the IWM website.
Schulhoff, Krenek, Weill et al. in Toronto
On 21 September 2002 the pianist Sherri Jones treated Toronto music-lovers
to an afternoon of music written by composers who were excluded from Germany's
cultural life during the Nazi period. Presented by Toronto's Music Gallery,
the recital offered works by Erwin Schulhoff, Ernst Krenek, Darius Milhaud,
Stefan Wolpe, Arnold Schoenberg, Paul Hindemith, Kurt Weill, and Alois
Haba. The programme ended with selections from George Gershwin's 1932
The Berlin-based American pianist Sherri Jones is no stranger to twentieth-century
music, especially music that has been unjustly neglected. She has concertized
widely in Europe and North America, presenting, for example, the world
premiere of Weill's "Intermezzo", the composer's only composition
for solo piano (Chemnitz, 1999). She has recently premiered works by Schulhoff
in Berlin, while her CD of that composer's "artistic jazz" (Wergo,
1995) has garnered international praise. Jones's editions of previously
unpublished works by both Schulhoff and Weill are due to appear next year
(from Schott and EAMC, respectively).
The selections chosen by Sherri Jones for her Toronto recital spanned
the gamut from the expanded tonality of Wolpe's early "Gesang, weil
ich etwas Teures verlassen muss" (aptly characterized in her programme
notes as an "expressionistic song without words") to Schoenberg's
twelve-tone "Klavierstücke", Op. 33 (one of the last works
he completed before fleeing Hitler's Germany) to the popular-music world
of Schulhoff's "Your Coquettish Smile" and "A Musical Flip"
(written pseudonymously for Prague radio in 1933). Not surprisingly, much
of the music performed reflected the seductive influence of syncopated
dance music on composers writing during the interwar period. That Jones
has a special affinity for this music was evident in her engaging performance
of selections from Schulhoff's "Suite dansante en jazz" (1931),
Wolpe's "Tango" (1927), and Weill's "Tango Ballad"
from "Kleine Dreigroschenmusik" (1929, transcribed by Jones).
Of particular interest to Toronto audiences were a number of Canadian
premieres. In addition to Haba's "Tango" (1927) and the two
Schulhoff radio pieces mentioned above, these included a number of rarely
performed - and entirely beguiling - youthful works: Schulhoff's "Neun
kleine Reigen," Op. 13 (1913), Krenek's "Kleine Suite,"
Op. 13a (1922), and selections from Hindemith's recently published character
pieces "In einer Nacht" (1919).
Joan A. Evans
(Joan A. Evans holds an adjunct position in the music department at Toronto's
York University. Her research deals largely with musical life in Nazi
Germany, with special emphasis on the fate of modern music. Her publications
on this theme include several articles on Stravinsky reception, as well
as an examination of new-music festivals after 1933 (forthcoming). She
is the author of Hans Rosbaud: A Bibliography (Greenwood Press, 1992).
Related publications include an article
documenting Rosbaud's contribution to Schoenberg reception. She is currently
at work on a volume devoted to Rosbaud's correspondence.)
Immler and Levi at quasi una fantasia in Vienna
On 13 May, at an oversubscribed VIP concert at the Jewish Museum in Vienna,
Christian Immler (baritone) and Erik Levi (piano), from London, presented
songs by Austrian composers who had sought refuge in Britain as well as
a Rückert setting by Mahler. This concert, sponsored by JMI and attended
by many other sponsors and cultural institutions of the City of Vienna
and the Vienna Festival Weeks (Wiener Festwochen) formed part of the opening
of the Official Festival Exhibition, quasi una fantasia: Die Juden und
die Musikstadt Wien ('quasi una fantasia: Jews and the Music Metropolis
Vienna') - the first retrospective to be offered on this subject since
1945. A spectacular hailstorm - and a demonstration of over 100,000 at
Heldenplatz protesting at pension reform - did not hinder the warm response
to the exhibition and to the performance from the invited guests.
As the exhibition featured posters of the first Festwochen in 1924, an
event organised by David Friedrich Bach, who would later come to the UK,
it was more than appropriate that this exhibition should be singled out
from the many other important events scheduled over the next month. It
is enormous, extending over the entire floor area of the Palais Eskelis,
the home of the Jewish Museum in the Doroteergasse, off of the Graben
in the very middle of the first district. The exhibition covers the Ringstrasse
and the many musical institutions, both secular and religious, that dominated
Viennese musical life from 1867, when the Jews were first accorded full
civil rights. From the Ringstrasse, one is invited into the 'salon' of
one of the many wealthy Jewish patrons who held regular musical evenings.
The guest book of Guido Adler is featured, with signatures on the same
page of Gustav Mahler and Eduard Hanslick, Paul Wittgenstein's piano and
furniture designed by Adolf Loos.
Further galleries are dedicated to operetta, light music, the avant-garde,
the mass musical immigration to Berlin from 1920 (quote from Anton Kuh:
'I would rather be in Berlin with Viennese than in Vienna with people
from Graz') and finally, the 'expulsion from paradise' in 1933, then 1938;
Vienna's musical anti-semitism and then post war, where it took a Jew
from New York, Leonard Bernstein, wearing Austrian national dress, conducting
Mahler for the Viennese to recognise their own lost musical traditions.
The cultural self-mutilation is best demonstrated by objects and letters
from, about and to people holding important positions until the 1970s
who were implicated in some of the most shocking crimes, and by extension,
even murder. These people who continued to dominate Vienna's musical post-War
institutions have meant that Austria is making the same journey that Germany
started ten years ago. This exhibition seems to have been one of the first
steps, though the work of the Orpheus Trust has been Olympian in the run-up
to quasi una fantasia.
Immler and Levi performed a programme of songs which underlined again
the enormous contribution of the Austrian diaspora to musical life in
the UK - a fact already apparent from a letter from Benjamin Britten to
Erwin Stein, the midwife to his entire body of works at Boosey & Hawkes.
With songs by Hans Gál, Egon Wellesz and Karl Rankl, Austria's
loss was revealed as Britain's gain. Mahler's Rückert song, 'Ich
bin der Welt abhanden gekommen', is central to the exhibition and was
performed twice: once at the grand opening and again at the subsequent
recital. A bonbon from the nineteenth century by Karl Goldmark was a reminder
of how long Jewish musical life had been a part of Vienna's musical life
before the insanity of 1938.
In spite of the meteorological and political problems outside, the recital
was deeply moving. The curator of the exhibition, Werner Hanak, was spotted
sobbing quietly during the performance the Mahler. Indeed, given the loss
of life, culture and the terrible self-destruction - which extended long
after 1945, when sympathisers (if not full members of the Nazi Party)
continued to dominate Vienna's musical life - it was almost impossible
not to be deeply moved by the profound melancholy and beauty of the programme.
It was meant to be a celebration of Jewish Vienna's musical life. The
superb performances of both artists could not alter the fact that it had
also to be a reminder of how much was lost and how far the city still
has to go to regain the musical centrality it once had.
Links to external reviews
'Music from the Russian Underground' reviewed in The New York Times:
Allan Kozinn, writing in The New York Times, surveys the output of the
Terezín composers and reviews some NY performances
Shostakovich, Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District
Baltimore, February 2003
In February I attended a performance of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk by the
Baltimore Opera Company, presented as part of the 'Vivat! St. Petersburg'
festival held in Baltimore to celebrate 300 years of Russian art, music
It was, in short, the most dreadful production of the opera I have ever
seen (and I have seen six different productions). This one was presented
in Baltimore's Lyric Opera House, a rather ugly and mundane theatre with
very poor climate-control (the balcony, where I sat, was stultifyingly
hot on 28 February, a cold day). The conductor, Christian Badea, led the
smallish Baltimore Opera Orchestra, drawn largely from the Baltimore Symphony,
in a credible rendition of the score which offered excellent playing,
particularly from the celli. Badea lingered on the Scene 5 orchestral
music which follows Katerina's pleading for Sergei to 'Kiss me so it hurts
my lips... Oh Seryozha!' and so sensitively underlined its near-quotation
of the Adagietto of Mahler's 5th Symphony. The reduced forces did not
have quite enough force, though, either for the major sex scene or the
Katerina was sung by Karen Huffstodt with a rather shrill tone, and her
acting (mostly, it seemed, in a huff) did not allow much sympathy. Vladimir
Vaneev's Boris, a role he has sung it before, was excellent, as was Nikita
Storojev's Chief of Police (Storojev has also sung the Old Convict under
Rostropovich). Sergei was sung fairly well by Leonid Zakhozhaev. Zinovy
was weakly presented by Garry Crice, as was the Shabby Peasant with little
glee or action by Pierre Lefebvre; and Tomas Tomasson's account of the
Priest was superficial.
The production hailed from Dresden, with direction by the (West) German
Uwe Eric Laufenberg, with assistant direction by the (East) German Heike
Jenor, scenic design by Christoph Schubiger (also German, one assumes),
and the lighting was designed by the American Benjamin Pearcy. The setting
was updated to sometime during the Soviet era, perhaps around the mid-1930s.
The set consisted of monolithic, even monotonous huge dark grey walls
with little variety: a singer would go through an opening in a giant wall
just to come through a door in the same wall - a cheap and simplistic
effect. Katerina's bedroom had a huge bed front stage - she sang her opening
aria as she rolled around on it - behind which was a huge picture window,
used only once to good effect, for the sex scene: when Sergei was naked
facing away from the audience, his ample proportions were reflected amply
well in it. It could have been used for the appearance of Boris' ghost;
instead, he merely strolled into the bedroom and around the bed.
In Scene 2, Aksinya was not rolled around in a barrel by Sergei as in
most productions. Here, her screams of 'Ay! Ay!' underlined that she was
being sexually penetrated by Sergei. The barrel was there, though, with
four others, rolled around on by youngsters, who at the end of the scene
all got up on a barrel and climbed on each other, forming a concentric
circle with the highest one pointing obliquely up, in imitation of Tatlin's
Monument to the Third International from 1919 (I don't know why). At the
beginning of the police scene, a spotlight illuminated the side balcony
to show our good old teacher and leader, Police Chief Joseph Stalin.
The opera was done with only one intermission (after Act II) - miserable
for those of us up in the hot balcony. Yet when the curtain went down
on Act III, there was an interminable pause as Act IV was set up. The
house lights were kept dark. When the curtain finally rose on Siberia,
this daft production had one of the beams of lights down on the stage
floor pointed at the audience with full, blinding, white brightness. And
it was not some quick gimmick: they dimmed only during Katerina's 'lake
and black waves' aria and then came right back up (and the 'lake' was
a 1.5-metre, misshapen piece of plastic on the floor). They made it impossible
to read the surtitles or tell who was singing if they were anywhere close
to the lights - and it must have been horribly hot on stage. Most of us
in the audience held up programmes or hands to shield our eyes from the
glare and try to see what was going on. So when Katerina murders Sonyetka,
we couldn't tell what was happening: screams were heard and two people
were gone (the programme notes indicated that 'Katerina attacks her and
the two women fall off the bridge'). There was no indication that Katerina
kills herself here, thus reducing any sympathy the audience might feel
for her. Perhaps the Dresden production was aiming for a Brechtian Verfremdungseffeckt
- although, of course, exactly the opposite is called for here: a Siberian
prison colony will hardly be a familiar setting, and without knowing more
of Katerina's despair, the audience is unable to understand her motivation;
her moral stature is thereby reduced.
Links to external reviews
Roderic Dunnett reviewed two Schreker operas in The Independent:
There was a preview in The New York Times of a recent production of Hans
Leone Sinigaglia, Variations on a Theme of Schubert
John Anderson (oboe), Gordon Back (piano)
ASV CD WHL 2100
Leone Sinigaglia is pretty much a forgotten name now. Born in Turin in
1868, he studied at the conservatory there and then in Vienna with Brahms'
friend Mandyczewski, before moving on to Prague to take lessons with Dvorák
(1900-1). He established a considerable reputation as a folklorist, and
many of his concert works are based on Italian folk material (the suites
Danze piedmontesi and Piedmont, for example). His death, in Turin in 1944,
was caused by a heart attack when the Germans came to arrest the Jewish
Sinigaglia for deportation to the camps; it almost certainly saved him
from a worse fate.
My interest in Sinigaglia was piqued when I came across the score of his
Violin Concerto in Donald Tovey's private collection in The Reid Library
of the University of Edinburgh. It looked, on a hurried read-through,
to be well crafted, perhaps a touch Brahmsian. But I had never heard a
note of his music. So when I noticed this set of Variations on a Theme
of Schubert on a 1996 ASV anthology of music for oboe and piano, I requested
a copy to write it up for the IFSM Newsletter. It's difficult to say whether
it tells us much about the rest of Sinigaglia's output. The theme is Schubert
Heidenröslein, and the nine-minute variations are indeed the work
of a fine craftsman, but he doesn't reveal much of his musical personality.
The hint of Brahms is still there, but it doesn't tell us what we might
expect from his Cello Sonata (1923), his Rhapsody for violin and orchestra
or his Serenade for string trio (1906); there's also, unsurprisingly,
a set of Varations on a Theme of Brahms for string quartet.
The rest of the CD features oboe showpieces by Ponchielli, Hüe, Paladihle
(no, I had never heard of him, either: French opera composer, 1844-1926),
Pasculli, Donizetti, Fauré, Schumann and Franck. John Anderson
(no relation) and Gordon Back play beautifully. But I do wish they had
been able to give us a better handle on Sinigaglia. Is there a substantial
creative personality waiting to be revealed in those more abstract scores?
I am no closer to an answer.
Shostakovich, Symphony No. 11, The Year 1905
London Symphony Orchestra/Mstislav Rostropovich.
LSO Live LSO0030
It amazes me how high Shostakovich's stock has risen in my lifetime.
Forty years ago, most western critics viewed him as a talent sucked dry
by the Soviets. Even during the Forties, a time of the composer's popular
success and perhaps in reaction against it, Virgil Thomson slammed the
Piano Quintet as a simulacrum of great music, aping the gestures but missing
the substance. Following Bartók's humourless lead, many writers
and composers began busily hammering nails into the coffin of the Seventh.
The Tenth represented a temporary spike in Shostakovich's reputation.
Believe it or not, very few could get their minds around the fact that
Shostakovich had indeed composed something so good. Most of them treated
it as a fluke. In Robert Simpson's influential book The Symphony: Elgar
to the Present Day, Robert Layton, in a burst of relative empathy, calls
the Eleventh 'a lowering of symphonic sights', compared to the Tenth and
wonders whether the Thirteenth (unheard at this point in the west) will
return to the level of the Tenth or continue the sad decline of the Eleventh
and Twelfth ('the same revolutionaries making the same speeches'). More
than a few compared the Eleventh to movie music, and they weren't handing
Some of this devaluation one can trace to different ideas of what a symphony
should do. Western European aesthetics from the '20s through the post-War
era has usually affirmed Stravinsky's stated position (actually, a crib
of Arthur Lourié): music means nothing other than itself. The notion
would have surprised Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler and even Schoenberg. I
wonder how much of this attitude, in the post-War years at any rate, comes
down to a relatively secure political situation in the west. One might
suffer existential Angst, but one wasn't thrown into jail or psychiatric
ward for it. Sometimes you can afford pure aesthetics. Shostakovich wasn't
really so lucky. The political mingled with the personal, especially since
the Stalinist authorities enthusiastically screened his work for signs
of political deviance. Yikes. If the threat of death or disappearance
in a gulag happened to me, you can bet I'd take it personally. However,
most now see that Shostakovich's symphonic works, no matter how evocative,
don't describe. They undoubtedly contain programmes, as a Mahler symphony
does (Shostakovich learned a lot from Mahler), but most of them work fine
as 'absolute' music. Furthermore, it's often very difficult to decide
what the programme is. The Eleventh, of course, carries the subtitle 'In
the Year 1905', when Tsarist troops massacred a crowd of peaceful demonstrators.
The Symphony contains several Revolutionary songs of the time as well
as Shostakovich's own settings of Revolutionary texts. Soviet officialdom
took the Symphony as praise. One can legitimately wonder, however, about
Shostakovich's attitude. After all, the programme in general talks of
a government violently oppressing its citizens. Is Shostakovich calling
for another revolution, this time against the Soviet tsars? Who knows?
Opinions abound and controversies have sprung up, particularly since the
publication of Volkov's Testimony. As far as I can tell, however, nobody's
settled anything yet.
I know very little about Soviet history, but I've nevertheless always
found Shostakovich's Eleventh a powerful, moving work. Indeed, it caused
me to re-evaluate the composer's symphonies, which, like those of Brahms,
used to lull me into a coma. I couldn't shake the sense of cheapness I
got from the composer's music, that he settled for easy outs and easy
ideas. I imagine Mahler's first audiences felt some of this toward those
symphonies. At any rate, Shostakovich's Eleventh served to wake me up
and to take a new listen. Perhaps it helped that the first performance
I heard was Stokowski's with the Houston Symphony, a landmark not only
in Stokowski's catalogue but also in the western appreciation of Shostakovich.
Stokowski took to the Eleventh, so full of dramatic extremes (tempi, dynamics,
and so on), like duck soup. People usually talk about Stokowski as a master
of orchestral colour - which, of course, he was - but that concern always
related to the emotional content of the music. Even when Stokowski changed
a composer's instrumentation (following the practice of many conductors
of his and the previous generation, he at times silently substituted his
own scoring - in Beethoven symphonies and, most notoriously, in Stravinsky's
Le Sacre, for example), he did so for reasons of heightening the emotional
impact. He viewed his efforts as helping the composer realise the music
behind the notes. Critics viewed this as ego - Stokowski had one - but
I tend to think of him as selfless, a servant of the composer, even when
I strongly disagree with or even raise my eyebrows at what he's done.
At any rate, Stokowski was very concerned about the colour and dynamic
range for recording sessions of his account of the Eleventh, even though
he didn't alter Shostakovich's instruments. Indeed, it was that very scoring
that aroused his special concern for the engineering. The pains he took
justify themselves many times over in a recording that remains a sonic
and interpretative benchmark for this piece (available on EMI 65206).
One might prefer Mravinsky (the recording from the '60s) or Jansons, for
example, but I'd bet the Stokowski would be right behind.
As for Rostropovich, this is one of his best recordings (conductor or
player) and right up there in exalted company. Compared to Stokowski,
he's a bit restrained (this is a live recording, by the way), but the
Symphony can bear and can benefit from that kind of approach. It consists
of four large movements - slow-fast-slow-fast - the first two over twenty
minutes apiece. The opening adagio, 'Palace Square', supposedly depicts
the petitioners waiting in the winter snow. As a piece of symphonic construction,
this movement alone gives the lie to the portrait of Shostakovich as shoddy
workman. I've always thought this movement one of Shostakovich's best.
Among other things, it pulls off the feat of 'waiting for something to
happen' without the losing the listener's attention. Although in no classical
form, it is, like Wagner's operas, genuinely symphonic and, what's more,
coherently arches over a great expanse with just five little ideas: two
revolutionary songs, an idea based on the melodic interval of a major
second, some spectral fanfares, and finally a motto, first heard on the
timpani, carried through the entire work. Even the songs get symphonic
treatment. Shostakovich breaks these up into their smaller constituents
and varies and recombines those. Furthermore, all these ideas carry over
into other movements, where in new guises they carry new meanings. This
is symphonic thinking of a very high order. As I say, I don't really need
the image of the crowd standing silently in the square, despite its power,
for the movement to do its emotional work on me. Shostakovich creates
a psychic drama, independent of a particular programme.
All the anticipation that the opening movement builds has to go somewhere.
The allegro second movement, '9 January', follows without a break - a
scurrying figure in the strings based on the motto. A new idea shows up
(based on one of Shostakovich's Ten Choral Poems on Revolutionary Texts)
for extended treatment. Unexpectedly, the opening of the entire Symphony
returns - calm before the storm - before a savage fugato based on the
timpani motto theme breaks out. The theme is rather constricted in its
range, and this emphasises a kind of mindless fury in the music. The rhythms
become mechanistic and brutal, heavy on the percussion. The fury dissipates,
and the movement ends with the 'Palace Square' music.
The third movement, a funereal 'In memoriam' adagio, opens with incredibly
soft, halting plucks on the lower strings which turn into something very
much like a passacaglia ground. The musically interesting thing about
it, however, is that the 'melody' line above it isn't really a set of
variations, but a long, tender melody - yet another Revolutionary song.
This transforms into a dead march, first for strings, then for low winds
and brass. The music builds to an insistent climax, where the opening
bass line comes to the fore. The opening passage returns, as (you would
think) a kind of benediction, but then Shostakovich startles you with
a call to arms, as the last movement ('Tocsin: Allegro non troppo') suddenly
bursts in. To me, it's too hysterical and mechanistically rhythmic to
be heroic, as the composer may have intended and certainly Party officials
inferred. But this is a feature, not a bug. Its insistence on brass fanfares
and the shape of its main theme remind me of the finale of Mahler's First.
Shostakovich, in his last works, became self-revelatory. We now know that
certain pieces, like the William Tell overture, were almost iconic for
him. I think that Mahler movement may have been one of those icons. After
all, the finale of Shostakovich's Fifth also evokes it. After the march
has spent itself, the 'Palace Square' music returns, accompanying a cor
anglais singing one of the earlier Revolutionary songs. This leads to
a trombone singing another, this time against angrily skirling winds and
hammering percussion. Here we arrive at genuinely heroic music, but the
Symphony doesn't end on triumphant note - no great blazing major chord
in the brass. It's loud, but it's bare and austere.
This progression strikes me as rather odd and unconventional. Something
far more interesting and more genuine goes on here than 'the heroic people's
Socialist struggle for the proletariat continues'. The interruption of
the first march, for example, seems a lament not simply for the events
of 1905, but for subsequent history, and the final passage a shaking of
the fist at the current regime. Indeed, if I thought of a programme at
all for this symphony, it would be an anti-Soviet one. Fortunately, music's
evocative power doesn't translate readily into portraiture and historical
thesis. The rhetoric of the movement, however, surprises and runs deeper
than what the opening leads you to expect.
Rostropovich does a fantastic job. He not only shows you the architecture
of the Symphony like nobody else's business, but he also delivers an emotional
wallop. This is a subtle reading of a work which - who knew? - repays
subtlety. Lines are shaped in amazing detail. The LSO matches him, responding
beautifully and sensitively to the turns of phrase and argument. Rostropovich,
of course, knew the composer -- which guarantees nothing, incidentally.
However, this performance seems to invoke the figure of Shostakovich himself.
And the account's wonderfully recorded, besides. The combination of sonics
and interpretation move this CD, as far as I'm concerned, to the front
of the line. It cuts in front of both Stokowski and Mravinsky.
Korngold on DVD
I would've thought that the first DVDs to come out associated with the
name Erich Wolfgang Korngold would have been of the great Errol Flynn
Warner Bros. films that he scored, but that was not the case (although
I hear that The Adventures of Robin Hood will come out this summer); no,
instead we have two ArtHaus DVDs (generally distributed by Naxos) devoted
to his life story and primarily his concert works.
In January Korngold's Die Tote Stadt was issued in the U.S. (ArtHaus DVD
100 343) taped from a live performance from Strasbourg conducted by Jan
Latham-Koenig. This performance had been available for online viewing
on the www.onlineclassics.com
site, but they appear to have shut their cyberdoors. Overall I find the
singing and orchestral playing mostly first-rate. Angela Denoke has a
lovely voice and is a sultry Marie/Marietta and tenor Torsten Kerl is
well suited in both timbre and stamina for the role of Paul. It is beautifully
filmed and the sets are interesting an imaginative, in a piece heavy with
atmosphere. I do find a few aspects of the staging, shall we say, over
the top. A few instances: the doll (instead of his dead wife's braid)
that Paul caresses and plays with; the adolescent Korngold doppelgänger
that slinks on stage to accompany Marietta's Lied on the piano; the skeleton
under the floorboards; Paul's suicide at the end; etc. Actually, writing
about these might just entice you to get the DVD! And get it you should;
aside from these directorial follies it is quite fine, even excellent
- and what a wonderful chance now to have this great, but still seldom
performed, opera available on DVD.
Just a few weeks ago Erich Wolgang Korngold: The Adventures of a Wunderkind:
A Portrait and Concert was released in the States (ArtHaus DVD 100 363)
and I think I'm even more excited by this one. The bulk of the disc is
a 90-minute documentary of Korngold by Barrie Gavin originally airing
on German TV about a year or so ago. The documentary is outstanding, with
a wealth of rare photographs and family home movies from the Korngold
estate, plus insightful interviews with family, film historians, conductor
Hugh Wolff, and Korngold experts Brendan Carroll and Bernd Rachold. There
are excerpts of music performances by Anne Sophie von Otter and Hugh Wolff
with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony. The DVD's bonus (in addition to not
over taxing my German-language abilities) are complete performances of
several movements from early piano pieces: one from his Don Quixote and
two from the remarkable Fairy Tales, Op. 3, performed by Alexander Frey,
as well as complete performances of the Violin Concerto, Op. 35 with Leonidas
Kavakos and the Cello Concerto, Op. 37 with Quirine Viersin, both with
Hugh Wolff. I was blown away by both concerto performances; Kavakos and
Viersin (to me unknown) are of the very highest calibre and in fact I
would count them among the very best recordings of those works. My only
complaint about these performances would be in the camera work, which
is dizzying in its concentration on close-ups. All in all, for anyone
interested at all in one of our last
great romantics, I think this DVD is a real must-have.
Received for Review
The following items have been received for review in this newsletter;
a listing here does not preclude a review in a subsequent issue
Gál, Music for Mandoline, Vol. 1: Capriccio für Zupforchester;
Sinfonietta No. 2, Op. 86, for mandoline orchestra; Suite for three mandolins,
Op. 59b; Lyrical Suite on Robert Browning's dramatic poem Pippa Passes
for soprano solo with flute, mandoline and string trio. Sandra Stahlheber
(mezzo soprano), Badische Zupforchester cond. Volker Gerland. Antes Edition
Gál, Music for Mandoline.,Vol. 2: Biedermeyertänze, Op. 66;
Sinfonietta No. 1, Op. 81, for mandoline orchestra; Divertimento for mandoline
and harp, Op. 80; Divertimento for two alto recorders and Guitar, Op.
68c. Various soloists, Badische Zupforchester cond. Volker Gerland. Antes
Edition BM-CD 31.9171
Gál, Violin Sonata, op. 17; Cello Sonata, Op. 89. Annette-Barbara
Vogel (violin), Fulbert Slenczka (cello), Réne Lecuona (piano).
Korngold, Tomorrow, Op. 33; Einfache Lieder, Op. 9; Prayer, Op. 32; Much
Ado about Nothing, Op. 11; Abschiedslieder, Op. 14. Gigi Mitchell-Velasco
(mezzo soprano), Stephen Gould (tenor), Bruckner Orchestra Linz cond.
Caspar Richter. ASV CD DCA 1131
Korngold, 12 Lieder, Op. 5; Einfache Lieder, Op. 9; Abschiedslieder, Op.
14; 3 Lieder, Op. 18; 5 Lieder, Op. 38; Unvergänglichkeit, Op. 27;
3 Lieder, Op. 22; Reiselied;Vesper; Die Geniale; Nachts; Sonett für
Wien; Die Gansleber im Hause Duschnitz. Dietrich Heschel (baritone), Helmut
Deutsch (piano). Harmonia Mundi HMC 901780
Moyzes Symphonies Nos. 11 and 12, Opp. 79 and 83. Slovak Radio Symphony
Orchestra cond. Ladislav Slovák. Marco Polo 8.225093
Toch String Quartets Nos. 8 and 9, Opp. 18 and 26. Verdi Quartet. CPO
Weigl Symphony No. 5, Apocalyptic; Phantastisches Intermezzo. Rundfunks-Sinfonie
Orchester Berlin cond. Thomas Sanderling. BIS-CD-1077
Wellesz Symphonies Nos. 4, 6 and 7. Radio Symphonieorchester Wien cond.
Gottfried Rabl. CPO 999 808-2
Wolpe Piano Sonata No. 1, Stehende Musik; Adagio. Gesang, weil ich etwas
Teures verlassen muss. Tango. The Good Spirit of a Right Cause. Battle
Piece. Waltz for Merle. Zemach Suite. David Holzman (piano). Bridge 9116
Zemlinsky Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2. Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra cond.
Ludovít Rajter/Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Edgar Seipenbusch.
Czech Avant garde Piano Music, 1918-1938: Pavel Haas, Suite, Op. 13; Jaroslav
Jezùek, Bugatti-Step, Bagatelles, Equatorial Rag; Erwin Schulhoff,
Fünf Pittoresken, Op. 31; Frantisek E. Burian, Waltz; Leosù
Janácek, Kleinseiten-Palais; No title; Melody (c. 1923); Nur blindes
Schicksal?; Der goldene Ring; Ich erwarte Dich; Bohuslav Martinuû
Par T. S. F.; Instructive Duo for the Nervous Film en miniature; Tango;
Scherzo; Berceuse; Valse; Chanson; Carillon. Steffen Schleiermacher (piano).
Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG 613 1158-2
David Nice, Prokofiev: From Russia to the West, 1891-1935, Yale University
Press, New Haven and London, 2003
Daniel Snowman, The Hitler Emigrés: The Cultural Impact on Britain
of Refugees from Nazism, Chatto & Windus, London, 2002
Valeria Tsenova (ed.), 'Ex Oriente
': Ten Composers from the Former
USSR, Verlag Ernst Kuhn, Berlin, 2002V.
V. Partner Organisations
The Viktor Ullmann Foundation and Pavel Haas Foundations UK were
founded and established by the British concert pianist Jacqueline Cole
in 2002. The purpose of both these foundations is to honour, remember
and celebrate the artistic lives, courage, visionary integrity and genius
of two of the 20th century's most gifted composers, whose lives were tragically
and prematurely ended in Auschwitz, October 1944. The aim of these two
foundations is not to sanctify these silenced composers, but to recognise
and acknowledge their artistry, musicianship and common humanity. And
to bring them into the awareness and sphere of the international and musical
community of the 21st century. Theirs is a universal musical language,
and shadowed lesson of the whole world, such music, as the whole world
well understood, would afford the understanding. And if engaged with,
would enrich, benefit, and educate the whole world community. Their voice
is as relevant now, in the 21st century, as it was in the early part of
the 20th century. The work of the Viktor Ullmann Foundation and Pavel
Haas Foundation, in association with the Jewish Music Institute and the
International Forum for Suppressed Music is about listening to their voice.
i) Chamber Ensemble, Orchestral Repertoire, Remembrance Concerts
ii) Paul Aron Sandfort's 'NACHSCHUB'
iii) Commissioning of new works for Strange Passenger Festival - Sylvie
a) Ecumenical Dialogue
i) Viktor Ullmann Review 'Strange Passenger'
ii) Installation of Art Works
iii) Holocaust Studies
iv) Education initiatives in local communities through creative arts
a) Holocaust Education Awareness 21st Century
i) as above
d) Strange Passenger International Music and Arts Festival, Cieszyn, Poland
In association with Gaby Flatow, Director Hans Krasa Foundation, Terezin,
and Renata Karpinska, Education and Informations Officer, Cieszyn Town
Hall, Cieszyn, Poland, Ilona Ziok, Film Director 'KARUSSELL' - Jewish
Film Festival, Berlin, Dr Ingo Schultz, Programming Advisor, Germany,
Prof Dr David Bloch, Director Terezin Music Memorial Project, Israel
i) Solo Instrumental, concerto, orchestral, chamber music of Viktor Ullmann
and contemporaries (Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony Opus 9)
ii) Workshop/Masterclass with International Artists leading to Stage/Performance
focusing on the repertoire of VU and contemporaries
iii) Jazz, Swing (Coco Schumann and his Quartet)
iv) Jazz 'Brundibar' and Theresienstadt Jazz - Polish Jazz Musicians,
v) Ullmann's Piano Sonatas and Variations, Piano, Orchestra and Quartet
vii) Holocaust Art Installations - Survivors Art
viii) 'Swing under the Swastika' and Karussell - Film
ix) Silent Film (Kurt Gerron) with pianist
x) Roma Music
xi) 'Der Kaiser von Atlantis' - Polish premiere, hopefully to be performed
the church of St Mary Magdalene, Dominikan Square, Cieszyn, the place
of Viktor Ullmann's baptism according to church records - 27 January 1898
a) Strange Passenger - Viktor Ullmann Foundation Review in association
with JMI, SOAS and IFSM
"The title of this journal, taken from a collection of poems and
aphorisms penned by the composer Viktor Ullmann (Prague 1940) refers to
a passage from Ibsen's Peer Gynt where a passenger who thinks he is alone
is joined by another ("a small error, now corrected").
Ullmann, brilliant composer and consummate practical musician, was a philosophically-inclined
thinker, inspired by Arnold Schoenberg's radical innovations in early
20th century music, Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophical dictums and Ullmann's
internment in the Terezin concentration camp prior to his murder in an
Auschwitz gas chamber." Prof Dr David Bloch Terezin Music Memorial
The Aims of the Journal
i) To promote awareness of the works of the Prager German composer Viktor
Ullmann (1898-1944) and his contemporaries in an inclusive way within
the wider framework of the international and the historical musical community
ii) To engage in holocaust education awareness for the 21st century
iii) Holocaust Historiography
iv) To foster and nurture inter-faith and ecumenical dialogue between
peoples of different faiths, life perspectives and cultures
v) Art and 'human rights'
vi) A study of the psychology, phenomenon and inexplicable nature of 'what
is music?' in the context of the Holocaust of the Second World War
a) Viktor Ullmann Fellowship for Human Rights
i) grants to support further research into the psychological, spiritual
emotional effects of trauma, bereavement and loss on memory and it's
devastation collectively and individually
ii) education initiatives in local communities to nurture dialogue and
understanding between peoples of different cultures and racial backgrounds,
through the creative arts
In association with the TIM International Music Company AG, Hamburg
i) Complete Piano Sonatas 1-7 Viktor Ullmann Jacqueline Cole Piano
ii) Live Recordings of SPIMAF 2005
In association with Ilona Ziok of the Jewish Film Festival, Berlin &
Jakub Duszynski - GUTEK FILM - New Horizons Film Festival, Cieszyn
Honorary Advisor Roy Ackerman, Joint Head of Programmes, Diverse Productions
A film to be made of the Strange Passenger International Music and Arts
to be proposed to Channel 4 and made in association with Diverse Films,
a) Opera - Polish Premiere of Viktor Ullmann's 'Der Kaiser von Atlantis'
Strange Passenger International Music and Arts Festival, Cieszyn 2005
i) Commissioning of new works, and re- working/improvisation of Hirsh
Glick's - The Partisan Song as homage to the people of Poland, to be woven
as a 'theme' into the Strange Passenger Festival.
Viktor Ullmann was born in Teschen (Cieszyn) in 1898, and this will be
the place for the International Music and Arts Festival of the Viktor
Ullmann Foundation and Pavel Haas Foundations. Associates include Gaby
Flatow, Director of the Hans Krasa Foundation, Terezin; Ilona Ziok, Film
Director, The Jewish Film Festival, Berlin and Roy Ackerman of Diverse
Film Productions, London UK, and Renata Karpinska, Education and Information
Officer, Cieszyn Town Hall.
Strange Passenger International Music and Arts Festival (SPIMAF) will
commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day in Poland and be dedicated to the people
of Poland. It will be inaugurated to launch on 28 April, Holocaust Memorial
Day in Poland and Israel, and continue until 15 May 2005. One possible
venue will be the church of St Mary Magdalene, Dominikan Square, Cieszyn,
the church where Viktor Josef Israel Ullmann was baptised according to
church records on the 27 January 1898.
Jacqueline Cole, Artistic Director, April 2003
VI. Research Requests
Tanya Tintner writes:
Area of interest: the compositions of Georg Tintner (1917-1999), well-known
conductor. It is not generally known that he was a composer, and indeed
he wrote very little in later years, though this was not his intention.
A sizable quantity of his music from earlier years has been lost, though
I have found some in private and institutional hands in the last few years.
The most likely place still to find his pieces would be Vienna, his birthplace,
and these would likely be songs, piano works, and choral pieces. The latter
were written mostly for the Vienna Boys Choir from 1927 into the 1930s,
as he was a member of this choir 26-30, but they say they do not have
anything themselves. Much less likely is that music may be in the UK.
Should anyone (especially those researching in Vienna) encounter any of
his music I would be only too grateful to hear from you at gtintner[at]is.dal.ca.
I am of course happy to correspond with anyone interested in his music,
either academically or for the purposes of performance.
The Walter Braunfels website can be found at
and the Günther Raphael website is at www.guenter-raphael.de.
The Schreker Foundation website resides at
Margaret Moncrieff Kelly recalls her teacher, Hans Gál, in an article
on Music on the Web:
Russian Choral Music
The online edition of The Choral Journal features a fascinating article
on Russian liturgical life under Communism, 'Aesthetics and National Identity
in Russian Sacred Choral Music: A Past in Tradition and Present in Ruins'
by Olga Dolskaya-Ackerly:
Like Karl Amadeus Hartmann and other anti-Nazi composers who did not leave
Hitler's Germany, the artist Otto Dix (1891-1969) went into 'inner emigration'.
An article in The New York Times, heralding an exhibition of Dix's work
in Paris, discusses his motivation:
To mark the birthday of Otto Klemperer, on their 'On this Day' section
on 14 May, The New York Times republished Klemperer's obituary and an
assessment by Harold C. Schonberg. You can find them at
Edward Eisen has contributed an article on Israeli composers - many of
whom began their careers in Germany and Austria before being forced to
flee - to the 'Unknown Composers' page, at
The H-Russia site, at http://www2.h-net.msu.edu/~russia/,
offers a number of interesting reviews that can be read online, including
an extensive assessment by Michael Hickey of the second edition of Zvi
Gitelman's A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russian and the Soviet
Union, 1881 to the Present, and Marie Alice L'Heureux's review of Alla
Rosenfeld and Norton T. Dodge (eds.), Art of the Baltics: The Struggle
for Freedom of Artistic Expression under the Soviets, 1945-1991.
Karl Weigl and Other Composer Holdings at Yale
The Music Library of Yale University contains the archives of a number
of émigré composers, including those of Karl Weigl. The
full list of holdings can be found at
from where you can explore further.
Copland, Eisler et al. at the McCarthy Hearings
The US Freedom of Information Act means that the transcripts of the interrogations
of Aaron Copland, Hanns Eisler and other composers are now available on
the Web. Those who thought that government bullying of composers was limited
to Nazi Germany and the Communist eastern bloc will find much to ponder.
The list of transcripts now available is posted in a 'reading room' at
This Newsletter is published by the JMI International Forum for Suppressed
Newsletters Nos. 1-4 can be read on the JMI Website
on the Suppressed Music pages.
JMI International Forum for Suppressed Music
President Sir Simon Rattle
The International Forum for Suppressed Music (IFSM) was established in
September 1999, by the Jewish Music Institute, (JMI) at the School of
Oriental and African Studies, (SOAS) University of London, as a platform
to bring together all those working in the field of suppressed music.
Although its early focus is on composers who suffered under the Third
Reich, the IFSM is also platform for examining music under other totalitarian
Executive Committee and Editorial Board:
Michael Haas, Research Director (IFSM), Producer 'Entartete Musik' Series,
Martin Anderson, writer and publisher (Toccata Press)
Geraldine Auerbach MBE, Director, Jewish Music Institute, SOAS
Alexander Knapp, Joe Loss Lecturer in Jewish Music, SOAS, University of
Erik Levi, Senior Lecturer, Royal Holloway University of London, author
of Music in the Third Reich
Lloyd Moore, composer
Jutta Raab-Hansen, author of NS-verfolgter Musiker in England: Spuren
deutscher und österreichischer Flüchtlinge in der britischen
Betty Sagon Collick, Consultant, JMI
Brendan G. Carroll, International Korngold Society
Albrecht Dümling, Musica Reanimata and curator of the 'Entartete
Musik' exhibition, Berlin
Christopher Hailey, Franz Schreker Foundation, Los Angeles, and Schoenberg
Martin Schüssler, Rathaus Foundation, New York, Berlin
Leon Botstein, Lawrence Foster, Matthias Goerne, Barry Humphries, John
Mauceri, Gottfried Rabl
The International Forum for Suppressed Music has embarked on a number
of projects, among them, to record the oral testimony of composers and
musicians of the early part of the twentieth century in Central Europe,
their families and friends. It is preparing to receive the archives of
musicians of the period, establishing databases of the repertoire, developing
major enterprises in the study, reconstruction, performance and recording
of this music, and publishing new scholarship as well as material not
hitherto available in English. Many projects are lined up and awaiting
funding to set them in motion. The establishment of this Forum, and the
development of its work, is endeavouring to meet the needs of audiences,
musicians, promoters and scholars the world over.
This website will expand to contain archives and information received
and databases of repertoire as well as links to related sites.
International Forum for Suppressed Music
Jewish Music Institute
The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
tel: +44 (0)20 7898 4308 fax: +44 (0)20 7898 4309