Arnold Schoenberg – A Survivor from Warsaw op. 46 (1947)

 

Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951), A Survivor from Warsaw op. 46. From the Album Simon Rattle Edition: The Second Viennese School.

Franz Mazura: speaker / Men’s voices of the City of Brimingham Symphony chorus / City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Conductor: Simon Rattle.

Text:

I cannot remember everything. I must have been unconscious most of the time.

I remember only the grandiose moment when they all started to sing, as if prearranged, the old prayer they had neglected for so many years – the forgotten creed!

But I have no recollection how I got underground to live in the sewers of Warsaw for so long a time. The day began as usual: Reveille when it still was dark. “Get out!” Whether you slept or whether worries kept you awake the whole night. You had been separated from your children, from your wife, from your parents. You don’t know what happened to them… How could you sleep?

The trumpets again – “Get out! The sergeant will be furious!” They came out; some very slowly, the old ones, the sick ones; some with nervous agility. They fear the sergeant. They hurry as much as they can. In vain! Much too much noise, much too much commotion! And not fast enough! The Feldwebel shouts: “Achtung! Stilljestanden! Na wird’s mal! Oder soll ich mit dem Jewehrkolben nachhelfen? Na jut; wenn ihrs durchaus haben wollt!” (“Attention! Stand still! How about it, or should I help you along with the butt of my rifle? Oh well, if you really want to have it!”)

The sergeant and his subordinates hit (everyone): young or old, (strong or sick), quiet, guilty or innocent …

It was painful to hear them groaning and moaning.

I heard it though I had been hit very hard, so hard that I could not help falling down. We all on the (ground) who could not stand up were (then) beaten over the head…

I must have been unconscious. The next thing I heard was a soldier saying: “They are all dead!”

Whereupon the sergeant ordered to do away with us.

There I lay aside half conscious. It had become very still – fear and pain. Then I heard the sergeant shouting: „Abzählen!“ (“Count off!”)

They start slowly and irregularly: one, two, three, four – “Achtung!” The sergeant shouted again, “Rascher! Nochmals von vorn anfange! In einer Minute will ich wissen, wieviele ich zur Gaskammer abliefere! Abzählen!“ (“Faster! Once more, start from the beginning! In one minute I want to know how many I am going to send off to the gas chamber! Count off!”)

They began again, first slowly: one, two, three, four, became faster and faster, so fast that it finally sounded like a stampede of wild horses, and (all) of a sudden, in the middle of it, they began singing the Shema Yisroel. [source]

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Photo: Arnold Schoenberg, Rockingham Avenue, LA, 1947/48

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Thomas Adès: Tevot, Violin Concerto

British composer Thomas Adès (born 1971) is unusual in having so much of his music available on a supportive mainstream label. The four works here, all recorded live, demonstrate his exceptional range, from the swirling, grand ambitions of Tevot, played by its dedicatees, Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, to the louche and sexy suite from Powder Her Face, excellently captured by the National Youth Orchestra. The Three Studies from Couperin cast 18th-century music in a vivid new light and, in the violin concerto, Anthony Marwood is an ideal soloist: sensitive, wistful and powerfully melancholy.

Why Simon Rattle is fed up with Britain

So you think the mood in Britain is gloomy? The view from Berlin looks even more apocalyptic, it seems. “If I were not British,” says Britain’s most celebrated conductor, “I would say that this old country of ours is going through a kind of endgame.”

The remark is so startling that I stare open-mouthed at Sir Simon Rattle. Does he mean that Britain is finished? “Well, that cannot be true, can it?” he goes on. “And yet what I read about the country at the moment is totally depressing.”

Will he vote in the election? “Let’s put it this way: every time I read about what Wagner was like, I wonder why I am performing his music. And every time I read about what British politics is like, I wonder why I should vote. But I suppose I’d better get my act together and support someone on the day.”

The Tories? A vote for change? Rattle laughs, as if I’ve suggested that he conduct a Lloyd Webber medley at his next Berlin Philharmonic concert. “Look, how long have you known me? You can’t really imagine me voting Conservative, can you? If I knew myself who I was voting for I would tell you.

Read the full interview in The Times here.

Read another interview in Telegraph here.

DANCE SERIES I: RHYTHM IS IT!

RHYTHM IS IT! – The Dance Performance shows the first piece of the DANCE SERIES: the complete dance performance of LE SACRE DU PRINTEMPS with 250 young dancers, the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle in front an audience of 3000 at the Arena Berlin.

A Film by Thomas Grube and Enrique Sánchez Lansch

© 2005 BOOMTOWN MEDIA International