World premiere: May 10, 2010, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA, at Music of Remembrance's Holocaust Memorial Day Concert.
This Holocaust oratorio by award-winning composer Lori Laitman and poet/librettist David Mason tells the astonishing story of the boys at Terezín and their clandestine journal Vedem, of which, about 800 pages remain. (Petr Ginz became Vedem’s only editor-in-chief at 14; at fifteen he died at Auschwitz.) The incomparable Northwest Boychoir, along with tenor Ross Hauck and mezzo-soprano Angela Niederloh, join us to unveil this extraordinary work on May 10, 2010. Says Laitman:
When Mina Miller suggested the story of Vedem to me, I was touched by the courage of these boys and the beauty of their art. I asked poet David Mason, with whom I had collaborated on my opera The Scarlet Letter, to create a libretto—the result was a brilliant poetic verse drama entwined with six of the original Vedem poems. This libretto allowed me to capture not only the tragic aspects of the boys’ lives, but also their humanity—their little worries, their spirited response to adversity, their yearnings, and their humor—with an equal range of musical responses to the text. For the [Northwest] Boychoir, I fashioned melodies appropriate for children to sing (listen for the Vedem tune). Leitmotifs unify the score and underpin the dramatic action, and the more vocally intricate sections are reserved for the soloists. The theme from Dvorak’s Humoresque serves as a counterpoint to “Love in The Floodgates,” inspired by survivor Emil Kopel enduring a death march in Buchenwald by replaying this tune in his head. The instrumental interlude introduced in the first section, “The Transports,” reappears in various guises, ultimately merging with the voices, who intone the names of the dead. Vedem was composed between May 2009 and January 2010.
Laitman's choice of choral and solo settings will allow us to present the work with soloists only, without chorale, in our Sparks of Glory outreach series.