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Composers Of The Holocaust - Schulhoff, Et Al

Release Date: 04/11/2000 
Label:  Leonarda   Catalog #: 342   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Karel ŠvenkDavid BeigelmanMartin RosenbergTraditional,   ... 
Performer:  Mimi Stern-WolfeIsabelle GanzRobert AbelsonHumbert Lucarelli,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Downtown Chamber Singers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Although the fact that many composers were among the millions of Jews murdered by the Nazis in the 1930s and '40s is well-known, it's taken the efforts of a handful of committed musicians and concerned documentarians to bring their works--many of which are of exceptional quality--to the attention of the world. And even the music of more functional, worldly purpose--the cabaret songs, for instance--is important for what it tells us regarding the power of music to uplift and sustain people in the most dire of circumstances. I must say here that I once proposed an article on this subject to the editors of the New York Times magazine, and they arrogantly rejected it out of hand, proclaiming that "that story's been told before. No one cares Read more about it anymore." Well, when you read the liner notes to this CD and you give even a few minutes' thought to the courage and resolve of the composers and poets represented, you will be grateful that there are people who believe in preserving the efforts of such proudly defiant artists and their legions of relatively "ordinary" audiences.

One such advocate of the so-called "Holocaust" composers is Joza Karas, who spent his own money and devoted decades of his life to telling a fascinating story that no one else had told about the remarkable musical life in the concentration camp at Terezín in what is now the Czech Republic. His book, Music in Terezín 1941-1945 (Pendragon Press), remains the authoritative account of the lives and activities of dozens of performers and composers such as Karel Švenk, Gideon Klein, and Pavel Haas--all of whom are represented on this CD--and puts into vivid perspective the role of music in empowering the will and sustaining the spirit of thousands of defenseless, guiltless people with little hope of survival under the ruthless Nazi regime. His work, which includes the unearthing of many previously unknown scores, along with the concerted efforts of artistic director and pianist Mimi Stern-Wolfe and her colleagues, helped to bring this disc to fruition, and its interesting mix of cabaret songs and more formal works--the outstanding Sonata for Violin and Piano by Ervin Schulhoff and Pavel Haas' Suite for Oboe and Piano--makes for an eminently entertaining and thought-provoking program.

Performances by mezzo Isabelle Ganz, baritone Robert Paul Abelson, violinist Marshall Coid, and oboist Bert Lucarelli--not to mention the extraordinary efforts of director/pianist Stern-Wolfe--are nothing less than commendable, and although the sound is a bit too roomy and resonant, this is a very engaging and memorable recital that rewards the listener in a spiritual as well as musical context. If you're interested in more music from this time and place, check out the "Music from Theresienstadt" series from Channel Classics.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Terezín Hymn by Karel Švenk
Performer:  Mimi Stern-Wolfe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Downtown Chamber Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; Terezín, Czechoslova 
Gypsy Song by David Beigelman
Performer:  Mimi Stern-Wolfe (Piano), Isabelle Ganz (Mezzo Soprano), Robert Abelson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Lodz, Poland 
Notes: Arranger: Mimi Stern-Wolfe. 
Ten Brothers by Martin Rosenberg
Performer:  Robert Abelson (Baritone), Mimi Stern-Wolfe (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; Germany 
Notes: Arranger: Mordechai Sheinkman. 
The Quiet Night is Full of Stars by Traditional
Performer:  Isabelle Ganz (Mezzo Soprano), Mimi Stern-Wolfe (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Notes: Arranger: Mimi Stern-Wolfe. 
Never say that you are going on the last road by Dmitry Y. Pokrass
Performer:  Mimi Stern-Wolfe (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Downtown Chamber Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USSR 
Notes: Arranger: Mimi Stern-Wolfe. 
Wiegenlied by Gideon Klein
Performer:  Isabelle Ganz (Mezzo Soprano), Mimi Stern-Wolfe (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; Theresienstadt, Czec 
Notes: This work is based on a melody by Shalom Charitonov. 
Suite for Oboe and Piano, Op. 17 by Pavel Haas
Performer:  Humbert Lucarelli (Oboe), Mimi Stern-Wolfe (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; Czech Republic 
Yisrolik by Misha Veksler
Performer:  Mimi Stern-Wolfe (Piano), Robert Abelson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1942; Vilnius, Lithuania 
Notes: Arrangers: Mimi Stern-Wolfe; Lazar Weiner; Mordechai Sheinkman. 
Wiegala by Ilse Weber
Performer:  Mimi Stern-Wolfe (Piano), Isabelle Ganz (Mezzo Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Terezín, Czechoslova 
Notes: Arranger: Mimi Stern-Wolfe. 
S'brent "Our town is burning" by Mordecai Gebirtig
Performer:  Robert Abelson (Baritone), Mimi Stern-Wolfe (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; Poland 
Notes: Arranger: Lazar Weiner. 
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 2 by Erwin Schulhoff
Performer:  Mimi Stern-Wolfe (Piano), Marshall Coid (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927 
Ein Jüdisches Kind by Carlo Sigmund Taube
Performer:  Isabelle Ganz (Mezzo Soprano), Mimi Stern-Wolfe (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; Terezín, Czechoslova 

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