Mike Vickers' Blog

Music under extreme adversity

Away from the politics – well not the usual politics.

Today at the Edinburgh Festival it was Sofie Von Otter and ‘friends’ as they now say at the Queens Hall.  One friend was Daniel Hope born in South Africa and brought up in Britain (I have to be careful at this time whether I say Britain or the UK).

Anyway the concert was superb.  All the music was written by Jews interned in Theresienstadt (Bohemia) .  None of them survived – all sent to the gas chambers at Auschwitz.  It’s amazing how their music survived – one lady, llse Weber,  buried hers in the ground – how much more didn’t survive.  Mixture of sad, traumatic, thoughtful and even a few comic songs.  A flourishing, outpouring of music under unbelievable adversity.  The only composer I had come across before was Pavel Haas – but what about Robert Dauber, Viktor Ullman, Karel Svenk, Martin Roman, Erwin Schulhoff, Carlo Sigmund Taube.

Von Otter sang well and could let it rip when the songs demanded but this was seldom.  But to me it was the violin of Hope that brought the tears to my eyes –Schulhoff’s Violin Sonata No2 and his Sonata for solo violin were stupendous.

A concert to remember.

It is a complete paradox to me how the Israeli government can wage such war against Gaza, after they suffered so much in WW2.  May be its just continued insecurity

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