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Music in Theresienstadt-Terezin 1941-1945

A weekend exploring music by composers incarcerated in the Theresienstadt ghetto and concentration camp in Czechoslovakia between 1941 and 1945, with chamber concerts; films; talks; and an exhibition of children's drawings.

Smetana: The Bartered Bride (arr. D Matthews)
Hans Krasa: Brundibar Suite (arr. Petr Pokorny)
Viktor Ullmann: Piano Sonata No.6 Op.49
Hans Krasa: 3 Songs for baritone, clarinet, viola & cello
Josef Suk: Meditations on the old Bohemian Chorale Saint Wenceslas
Schulhoff: Duo for violin & cello
Pavel Haas: 4 Songs to Chinese Poetry (arr. for voice & ensemble by Jan van Wlijmen) (UK premiere)

Nash Ensemble/Lionel Friend
with Wolfgang Holzmair (baritone)

Wigmore Hall Sunday 20 June at 7.30pm

This concert concluded a weekend of events commemorating the artistic triumphs in Terezin during the Nazi horrors. Most of the composers and musicians who kept up their arts in the ghetto were in due course transported to Auschwitz and murdered there.

Most poignant and affecting of all perhaps was the exhibition of children's pictures downstairs, with their ages and dates of death appended.

Of the music heard the best was, we thought, Schulhoff's Duo (1925), a worthy addition to the slender violin/cello duo repertoire. If an enterprising duo was to persuade a concert management to allow them to play it with, say, the Kodaly and Ravel duos, they could have a great programme and might be able to share the usual fee for a string quartet or chamber group (Gould & Higham please consider?!)...

The programme as a whole reflected the musical activity in Terezin, where such as Smetana's Bartered Bride music featured. But the arrangements heard at Wigmore Hall of its Overture, and of Krasa's Brundibar music and Haas' songs were somehow so elaborated by the arrangers and polished in the Nash Ensemble's performance as to distance them from the scene upon which we were gathered to reflect.

Hear this concert on BBC R3 5 July. I look forward to adding a link to a review of the whole weekend in due course.

Peter Grahame Woolf

For an overview of the weekend, see Anne Ozorio's