A choral programme charting the fate of Jewish composers (and their music) fleeing threats of persecution ('Being Human' festival, 2016)
A Performing the Jewish Archive event.
Germany to Australia; Russia to South Africa and Finland; Austria to Britain. These are just some of the journeys taken by Jewish composers in the years immediately preceding the Second World War. Journeys of hope for a new start in a foreign land; journeys of fear for the future and the consequences of staying at home.
Drawing on the work of researchers from the international project Performing the Jewish Archive, this performance charted the fate of four musicians (and their music) who fled the impending horrors of the Nazi regime. With perhaps one exception, their names are largely unfamiliar – Werner Baer, Froim Spektor, Simon Parmet, Hans Gál – but their considerable achievements belie their near posthumous anonymity.
From synagogue music to secular part-songs; concert anthems to Yiddish folksongs. These composers’ music was suppressed or assumed lost after the Holocaust for a variety of complex reasons, many of them (prejudice, discrimination, anti-Semitism) uncomfortably familiar to us today. In many cases the music received its modern-day premier, furthering our understanding of the journeys undertaken by émigré composers and the personalities behind the music.
Werner Baer (1914-1992), V’kidashtem et sh’nat hachamishim
Josef Gottbeter (1877-1942), Ono Adonoj
Hans Gal (1890–1987), Drei Gesänge , op 37
i. 'Der römische Brunnen'
ii. 'Am Abend'
Josef Gottbeter, Moh oschiw
Simon Parmet, 1897-1969), Ten Yiddish Folksongs (Third collection, Helsinki, 1930)
i. 'Shteyt zikh a sheyn meydele'
ii. 'In mizrakh zayt'
iii. 'Iz gekumen der feter Nosn'
iv. 'Vozhe vilstu?'
v. 'Hob ikh a por oksn'
vi. 'Yome, Yome'
vii. 'Unter di kleyninke beymelakh'
viii. 'Makht der khosidl bimbam'
ix. 'Di bayke'
x. 'A retenes'
Josef Gottbeter, Mogen owos
Simon Parmet, Eyli, Eyli