Track of the Month: Rosh hashanah • SEPTEMBER 2020
"By no means did we sit weeping on the banks of the waters of Babylon. Our will to create was commensurate with our will to live." — Viktor Ullmann, Terezín composer
You're listening to "Eliahu HaNavi," "Elijah the Prophet," arranged by Viktor Ullmann in Terezín in 1943. It is performed by The Longy Chamber Singers directed by Lorna Cooke DeVaron in a Kristallnacht Memorial Concert that was part of the Brandeis University exhibition and concert series titled "Silenced Voices: Music Banned by the Nazis," directed and produced by TMF Executive Director Mark Ludwig.
You can hear more music by Viktor Ullmann here, and also as part of our 2020 Virtual Gala Concert with Garrick Ohlsson and Madeleine Albright.
Ullmann was a renowned pianist and composer. He studied with Schönberg in Vienna and with Zemlinsky in Prague, and he worked as a conductor in Zurich. He fled Germany in 1933 and returned to Prague, where he worked as a music teacher and critic and studied at the Prague Conservatory. On September 8, 1942, he was deported to Terezín. At that time his list of works had reached 41 opus numbers including three piano sonatas, song cycles, operas, and the piano concerto Op. 25, which he finished in 1939, nine months after the Nazis entered Prague.
In Terezín, Ullmann was a major force as a composer, pianist, and mentor. He also organized a chamber music series, The Studio for Neue Musik, showcasing music of twentieth-century masters, such as Schönberg, Zemlinsky, and Haba, alongside works of his imprisoned colleagues. On October 16, 1944, Ullmann was deported to Auschwitz; he was killed in the gas chambers there on October 18.