An investigation of solo song settings of specific poetry written by children incarcerated in the Terezin concentration camp from 1942-1944 / by Leesa Michelle Levy.
After WWII, Hana Volavková, director of the Prague Jewish Museum, collected the artwork and poetry created by children incarcerated in the Terezin concentration camp north of Prague from 1941-1945, most of whom perished in Auschwitz. Many Czech Jewish intellectuals, artists, dramatists and musicians, such as Freida Dicker-Brandeis and Petr Kien, had been sent to Terezin. At the camp, a clandestine school for the education of children ages 5-14 was set up with the assistance of Jewish elders and administrators such as Jakub Edelstein and Gonda Redlich. In 1959, Volavková presented a collection of the children's artwork and poetry, which was published by Artia for Schocken Books in 1978 with an expanded edition in 1993 published with assistance from the U.S. Holocaust Museum. The text, I Never Saw Another Butterfly: Children's Drawings and Poems from Terezin Concentration Camp, 1942-1944, has provided a catalyst for English-speaking art song composers with emotional ties to the Holocaust.Contemporary composers whose song cycles or oratorios use this poetry include: Ellwood Den (I Never Saw Another Butterfly); Srul Irving Glick (I Never Saw Another Butterfly); Gershon Kingsley (Three Songs from the Ghetto); Larry Zimmerman ( Windsongs); Lori Laitman (I Never Saw Another Butterfly); Ruth Lomon (Songs of Remembrance); Gayther Myers ( To the Child-Poets of Terezin); Ludek Drizhal (Two Voices from Terezin); and Ruth Fazal (Oratorio Terezin). An investigation of the most frequently set poems from Volavkovás collection by these composers revealed: The Butterfly by Pavel Friedmann (six settings, all are analyzed); The Garden by Franta Bass (four settings, two are analyzed); On a Sunny Evening anonymous (four settings, three are analyzed); To Olga by Alena Synková (three settings, two are analyzed); Birdsong anonymous (three settings, all are analyzed); and Terezin by Mif (three settings, one is analyzed). The analyses of these art song settings reveals a predilection for the combination of medium to high voice with reed instruments. Piano is used by four of the composers, orchestra by two and other instrumental combinations with voice by four. Compositional techniques range from folk-like homophonic verse to highly dissonant, motivically structured, polyphonic textures in sectionalized form.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:20:00
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