Spiritual Resistance

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Bridge Records' Spiritual Resistance: Music from Theresienstadt features eminent Austrian baritone Wolfgang Holzmair and pianist Russell Ryan in a powerful program of music that survives from composers interned at the Theresienstadt aka, Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Located within a walled fortress in the northwest of what is now the Czech Republic, Theresienstadt was presented as a model camp to the outside world, an ideal Jewish resettlement where culture was allowed to flourish and living conditions were not hard on inmates. If anyone in governments outside of the Axis was fooled by this obvious sham, it has not been mentioned in the literature ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Bridge Records' Spiritual Resistance: Music from Theresienstadt features eminent Austrian baritone Wolfgang Holzmair and pianist Russell Ryan in a powerful program of music that survives from composers interned at the Theresienstadt aka, Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Located within a walled fortress in the northwest of what is now the Czech Republic, Theresienstadt was presented as a model camp to the outside world, an ideal Jewish resettlement where culture was allowed to flourish and living conditions were not hard on inmates. If anyone in governments outside of the Axis was fooled by this obvious sham, it has not been mentioned in the literature attending to Theresienstadt; however, the unexpected positive benefit of the cultural initiative taken by the S.S. is that the artifacts -- paintings, poetry, musical compositions, and even one fragmentary film -- have survived to tell the story, even if the people did not. Of the 144,000 persons who entered the gates at Theresienstadt, less than 20,000 survived, although the ones who died there mostly succumbed to the harsh conditions inside; the vast majority was sent elsewhere for extermination, usually Auschwitz. Of the figures represented here, composer and bass singer Karel Berman was the lone survivor. Although he composed only two sets of pieces in his entire, long life, Berman is a central figure here; he was the singer who gave the first performances of many of these songs within the camp, and the seven individual piano pieces within his suite titled variably, but indentified here as "Reminiscences," are scattered throughout the program. Berman's own song cycle is not included, but vocal works of Pavel Haas, Hans Krása, Gideon Klein, Viktor Ullmann, and the little-known Zikmund Schul -- who has only 10 extant works to his credit -- are included, along with Holzmair's moving recitation of a poem by inmate Ilse Weber, "I Wander Through Theresienstadt." Liberally illustrated with images created by Theresienstadt inmates, the booklet also contains English versions of the German and Czech texts alongside the originals. Holzmair and Ryan are obviously strongly devoted to this project and Holzmair does an admirable job of projecting the pain and frustration found in this wealth of song without going over the top with it. The sense of tragedy in this program is almost too much to take as it is; it rivetingly conveys the atmosphere of a day-after-day existence surrounded by filth, squalor, hard labor, pestilence, and death, though filtered often through a faint ray of hope. Perhaps Spiritual Resistance: Music from Theresienstadt is not the best choice if a listener is battling severe depression, but that's not meant to take away from what is a very serious, accomplished, and noble effort on the part of Holzmair and Ryan, and Spiritual Resistance: Music from Theresienstadt is a very good single-disc survey for those who are interested in learning what Theresienstadt and its artist colony was all about.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/9/2009
  • Label: Bridge
  • UPC: 090404928024
  • Catalog Number: 9280
  • Sales rank: 300,331

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Songs (4) on Chinese Poetry - Pavel Haas & Bedrich Fritta (14:07)
  2. 2 1938-1945 Reminiscences, suite for piano solo: 2. Family Home - Karel Berman & Bedrich Fritta (3:01)
  3. 3 Lieder (5) Op.4 - Hans Krása & Bedrich Fritta (4:57)
  4. 4 1938-1945 Reminiscences, suite for piano solo: 3. March 15th, 1939 - Occupation - Karel Berman & Bedrich Fritta (4:58)
  5. 5 Der Mensch und sein Tag, song cycle for voice & piano, Op. 47 - Viktor Ullmann & Hans Adler (14:19)
  6. 6 1938-1945 Reminiscences, suite for piano solo: 4. Factory - Karel Berman & Bedrich Fritta (1:14)
  7. 7 Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt - Ilse Weber & Bedrich Fritta (0:59)
  8. 8 What Never Was, song for voice & piano - Zikmund Schul & Bedrich Fritta (1:32)
  9. 9 Der müde Soldat, for voice & piano (Chinesische Lieder No. 2) - Viktor Ullmann & Bedrich Fritta (3:25)
  10. 10 1938-1945 Reminiscences, suite for piano solo: 5. Corpse Factory - Karel Berman & Bedrich Fritta (2:32)
  11. 11 Trois Chansons Pour Voix Elevee et Piano, Op 1 - Gideon Klein & Bedrich Fritta (10:05)
  12. 12 1938-1945 Reminiscences, suite for piano solo: 6. Typhus in the Kauffering Concentration Camp - Karel Berman & Bedrich Fritta (1:25)
  13. 13 Lieder (3), for baritone & piano, Op. 37 - Viktor Ullmann & Bedrich Fritta (6:30)
  14. 14 1938-1945 Reminiscences, suite for piano solo: 8. New Life - Karel Berman & Bedrich Fritta (3:49)
  15. 15 Lullaby - Gideon Klein & Bedrich Fritta (1:56)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Wolfgang Holzmair Primary Artist
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