Friday, April 5, 2013

The Holocaust Cantata

Yom HaShoah Observance: This year's Yom HaShoah observance will be The Holocaust Cantata by Donald McCullough, presented by Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico.

Yom HaShoah

Congregation Beit Tikva
Santa Fe
Saturday April 6 
7:00 pm

Congregation Albert
Sunday April 7
2:00 pm

It is well-known that during the Holocaust inmates wrote music while incarcerated in concentration camps. Much of it has since been recorded.

At Theresienstadt, for instance - the infamous “Paradise Ghetto” - the Nazis organized an orchestra made up of young musicians who had studied under such luminaries as Leos Janacek and Arnold Schoenberg.

Most of these musicians, among them such promising students as Gideon Klein and Viktor Ullmann, perished during the Holocaust, leaving behind but a few pieces, composed under duress and co-opted by the Nazis for their own propaganda purposes.

What might they have eventually accomplished had they survived? Such classical music -- beautiful as it is -- was the product of formally trained musicians. What about the music of the common man -- music embraced by the whole community and passed secretly by aural transmission -- music that carried with it powerful words revealing different aspects of camp life, or expressing the inmates’ innermost feelings, of mourning, or resistance, or patriotism?

Was there other Holocaust music, akin to the spirituals that sprang from slavery in America, that spoke with the same startling immediacy to express the agony of the victims of the Nazi regime?


Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico is New Mexico’s first resident professional choral ensemble, now in its 6th season! Several of its singers have grown up here, been educated here and elsewhere in the country, and internationally, and have returned to this beautiful part of the world to make music together.


Sponsored by Congregation Beit Tikva, Congregation Albert, the Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico, and the Jewish Federation of New Mexico.

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