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Forbidden Music - Klein, Krasa, Schulhoff / Hope, Dukes

Release Date: 09/02/2003 
Label:  Nimbus   Catalog #: 5702   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gideon KleinHans KrásaErwin Schulhoff
Performer:  Daniel HopePhilip DukesPaul Watkins
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Profiles of three Czech composers, each of whom was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp: this is the somber premise of "Forbidden Music", an album helmed by the fantastic young English violinist Daniel Hope. Two of these three composers, Gideon Klein and Hans Krása, were imprisoned at Terezín (Theresienstadt); the third, Ervín Schulhoff, was interned not far away. As Hope writes in his introduction, all three wrote music that is "powerful, unsentimental, and uncompromising." It's a poignant joy to hear this trio of composers given their due by three passionate and intelligent interpreters.

Gideon Klein was 21 years old and already a
Read more precocious talent when he entered Terezín. A noted pianist, he was about to enroll at London's Royal Academy of Music when he was taken away. That same year, he penned his Duo for Violin and Cello, which stands as two movements: a spiky Allegro con fuoco and a richly colored, unfinished Lento. The most affecting of Klein's pieces, however, is his String Trio, completed nine days before he was moved to Auschwitz. (He died the next year at Fürstengrube, very shortly before the war's end). This three-movement work, built upon Moravian folk themes, is a powerful example of his talent, both in terms of harmonic sophistication (from a largely self-taught composer) and its keen sense of rhythmic dynamism.

Until his internment at Terezín in 1942, Hans Krása led quite a charmed life: his wealthy parents gave him an Amati violin while he was still a child; he was mentored by Alexander Zemlinsky as a student; and he became an assistant conductor in Prague under George Szell. The vamps of his Tanec (Dance) demonstrate both his cool-eyed worldliness and his idiomatic understanding of jazz rhythms--and it's a world away from the elegiac Passacaglia e Fuga for string trio (written in 1944, two months before he was moved to Auschwitz and gassed upon arrival). Krása begins with a sweet waltz, handsomely articulated by Hope, which is shortly transmogrified into a ghostly and then increasingly distorted version of itself. It's a truly chilling work, one that defies the sensibilities of Krása's most famous piece associated with Terezín, the children's opera Brundibár (which the Nazis used as showpiece propaganda).

The third composer showcased here is Ervín Schulhoff, who was interned not at Terezín, but at the nearby Wulzburg camp. The two works of his included here provide a greater context for the other music on this collection. 1925's brilliantly colored Duo for Violin and Cello, which was dedicated to Janácek, is replete with Czech and other folk undertones--particularly in the wild and technically demanding second-movement Zingaresca. Similarly, his 1922 Sonata for Solo Violin, masterfully played by Hope, winds its way through a panoply of moods, from a sizzling Allegro con fuoco to an elegant Andante cantabile. To end (and, in a way, consecrate) this disc, Hope includes his own arrangement of Ravel's Kaddish for solo violin. "Kaddish" is the Jewish prayer for the dead, and although brief, Hope's plangent eloquence speaks worlds about lives lost and mourned.

Although in many ways this is Hope's endeavor, his partners match him in technical mastery and emotional depth. The sound also is first-rate, the presence so realistic that you feel as if you're sitting next to the musicians. This album is an important project, and it receives the love and care that it deserves. [Editor's note: for an excellent recording of Krása's Brundibar, look for the version on Channel Classics, conducted by Joža Karas; for the most authoritative account of the Terezín story, read the book Music in Terezín 1941-1945 by Joža Karas, published by Pendragon Press.] [4/20/2004]
--Anastasia Tsioulcas, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello by Gideon Klein
Performer:  Daniel Hope (Violin), Philip Dukes (Viola), Paul Watkins (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; Theresienstadt, Czec 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 11 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Duo for Violin and Cello by Gideon Klein
Performer:  Paul Watkins (Cello), Daniel Hope (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 8 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Passacaglia and Fugue for String Trio by Hans Krása
Performer:  Paul Watkins (Cello), Daniel Hope (Violin), Philip Dukes (Viola)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 9 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Tanec by Hans Krása
Performer:  Daniel Hope (Violin), Paul Watkins (Cello), Philip Dukes (Viola)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Germany 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Kaddish by Gideon Klein
Performer:  Paul Watkins (Cello), Philip Dukes (Viola), Daniel Hope (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Theresienstadt, Czec 
Date of Recording: 04/12/2002 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Sonata for Violin solo by Erwin Schulhoff
Performer:  Daniel Hope (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927 
Date of Recording: 04/12/2002 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 11 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Duo for Violin and Cello by Erwin Schulhoff
Performer:  Paul Watkins (Cello), Daniel Hope (Violin)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; Prague, Czech Republ 
Date of Recording: 09/2001 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 16 Minutes 46 Secs. 

Sound Samples

String Trio: Allegro
String Trio: Lento
String Trio: Molto Vivace
Duo: Moderato
Duo: Zingaresca. Allegro Giocoso
Duo: Andantino
Duo: Moderato
Passacaglia & Fuga: Passacaglia -Sehr Ruhig
Passacaglia & Fuga: Fuga - Allegro Molto
Sonata For Solo Violin: Allegro Con Fuoco
Sonata For Solo Violin: Andante Cantabile
Sonata For Solo Violin: Scherzo. Allergetto Grazioso
Sonata For Solo Violin: Finale. Allgro Risoluto
Tanec. String Trio: Presto
Duo For Violin & Violoncello: Allegro Con Fuoco
Duo For Violin & Violoncello: Lento

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