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Entartete Musik - Waxman: The Song Of Terezin / Foster

Release Date: 02/09/1999 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 460211   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Franz WaxmanEric Zeisl
Performer:  Della JonesMichael KrausDeborah Riedel
Conductor:  Lawrence Foster
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony OrchestraBerlin Radio Symphony ChorusBerlin Radio Children's Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 57 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The booklet accompanying this CD is illustrated by a stark photograph of the crematorium at Terezin in 1945. Of the 15,000 children who were interned there only 100 survived. In 1964 when Franz Waxman was invited to compose a work ‘involving children’ for the Cincinnati May Festival he decided to set some of the poems that had been found by rescue workers after the liberation of the concentration camp. Some of these are anonymous, but some have the children’s names and even ages attached.

The texts themselves are very touching, really beautiful, with the sort of direct imagery and use of language that only the young have access to. Waxman has set eight poems, some for choir, some for a mezzo-soprano soloist. Although the music
Read more is in his style familiar from many large-scale Hollywood film scores, with strong influences drawn from the post-Schoenberg school, Waxman has matched the clarity of the children’s verses with urgent yearning precision. The first song ends with the words ‘I’d like to fly up but I don’t know how’ and each poem in its way carries something of the same message – the desire for release from the nightmare of reality. The final poem, written by Eva Pickova, then aged 12, describes the children dying of typhus and ends with the cry ‘We want a better world! We want to live, we want light! Do not forget us!’ The Entartete Musik project has, in the last six years, revealed such a wealth of diverse and beautiful music, that it is almost unbearable to think that it might not continue. The message that Waxman has so brilliantly conveyed in these children’s voices, ‘Do not forget us!’, could be taken as the theme for the whole enterprise.

Like Waxman, Eric Zeisl had a career in Hollywood, as well as one composing for the concert hall. His setting of the 92nd Psalm, composed in 1944, is more conventional in mood and style, aimed at a wider public, but none the worse for that. Lawrence Foster, who studied with Waxman, conducts the Children’s Choir and the Symphony Orchestra of Berlin Radio. There is no answer to the question that one asks each time one confronts the history of the Holocaust, but this music brings a very special sense of release, and that is the greatest possible tribute to the spirit of bravery expressed in the poems written by these children as they faced death and destruction.

-- Patrick O'Connor, Gramophone [3/1999]
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Works on This Recording

The Song of Terezin by Franz Waxman
Performer:  Della Jones (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Lawrence Foster
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Chorus,  Berlin Radio Children's Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1965; USA 
Date of Recording: 02/1997 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 39 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Language: German 
Requiem ebraico by Eric Zeisl
Performer:  Michael Kraus (Bass Baritone), Della Jones (Mezzo Soprano), Deborah Riedel (Soprano)
Conductor:  Lawrence Foster
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Berlin Radio Symphony Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944-1945; USA 
Date of Recording: 02/1997 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin, Germany 
Length: 17 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: Hebrew 

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