Erich Wolfgang Korngold | Theme And Variations
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco | Guitar Concerto No. 1
Pavel Haas | Study For Strings
Erwin Schulhoff | Piano Concerto No. 1
Erich Korngold is frequently associated with the creation of the symphonic film score.
Castelnuovo-Tedesco had many famous pupils, including John Williams and André Previn. The film "The Maestro" tells the story of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's life as a film composer in America.
By the 1930s, Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s works were banned from radio and public performance due to his Jewish heritage.
A 1944 Nazi propaganda film used a video-recording of Haas’ powerful and energetic Study of Strings to falsely depict the Terezín concentration camp as an idyllic haven for the arts.
In 1932, Schulhoff composed a libretto based on The Communist Manifesto. The piece was widely considered to be lost until discovered in the USSR in the 1960s.
Find inspiration from the next installment of our Harmony from Discord series, celebrating music that transcends oppression. Even in the darkest of times, music has a way of lifting the spirit!
Between Worlds celebrates music that transcended the oppression of the Holocaust, drawing a juxtaposition between works by two composers who fled Europe and immigrated to the U.S. and works by two composers who were lost to the camps. All four pieces are charming, energetic, and virtuosic despite the conditions under which they were written.
Join us as we pay homage to these incredible composers and shine a light on the beautiful music that they have left behind!
A Pre-Concert Lecture about the program will take place at 2:15PM in the Walton Theatre. Doors open at 2PM and seating is limited, so please plan accordingly.
Don’t miss this powerful, beautiful, and inspiring music from worlds apart!
LISTEN: 1995 Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin Recording of Korngold’s Theme and Variations
WATCH: Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Guitar Concerto Performed by Guitarist Thomas Viloteau
READ: The Orel Foundation’s Detailed Biography of Pavel Haas
WATCH: Pavel Haas’ Study for Strings Set to Photographs of His Life and Theresienstadt (Terezín) Concentration Camp
Please be advised that this video contains historical images that some may find disturbing.
WATCH: Daniel Bolshoy Performs Campanas del Alba by Eduardo Sainz de la Maza, 2011
WATCH: Jessica Choe Performs The Garden of Eden at Benaroya Hall
We begin with Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Theme and Variations. Born into a Jewish home in what is now Czechia, Korngold developed a respected opera composition career by the 1930s. In 1934, he began composing music for film, traveling to Hollywood, California and splitting his time between his film composition work and his opera career back home. Following the Anschluss, Korngold moved his family to the U.S. for safety, and he did not return to Europe until 1947. Composed in 1953, Korngold’s Theme and Variations is a captivating work, taking on his more theatrical Hollywood style.
Next, guitarist Daniel Bolshoy joins the orchestra for Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Guitar Concerto. One of the most prolific guitar composers of the twentieth century, Castelnuovo-Tedesco was born in Florence in 1895 where his family had settled following the expulsion of Jews from Spain in the fifteenth century. After the passing of the Italian Racial Laws in 1939, Castelnuovo-Tedesco fled Italy for the United States, landing a film composition job with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and becoming a U.S. citizen in 1946. Guitar Concerto No. 1, a soulful and virtuosic piece, was composed in 1939, just after Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s immigration to the U.S.
While Korngold and Castelnuovo-Tedesco fled Europe in the 1930s, Pavel Haas and Erwin Schulhoff were less fortunate. Born to a Jewish family in Moravia, Pavel Haas was a prolific composer by his early 20s, writing works for the stage and Czech cinema. In 1941, Haas was sent to the Terezín concentration camp, where he continued to compose music. There, Haas wrote Study For Strings. In October of 1944, Haas was transported to Auschwitz with fellow composers, including Viktor Ullmann, where he was executed.
Lastly, we close with Erwin Schulhoff’s Piano Concerto, featuring pianist Jessica Choe. Born to a Jewish-German family in Prague, Schulhoff began his musical studies at the age of 10. Schulhoff lived in Germany for many years following World War I, but, by the 1930s, his works were labeled as degenerate by the Nazi regime and were banned from performance. He returned to Prague and continued to perform under a pseudonym until 1941, when he was deported to the Wülzburg concentration camp and passed away from illness shortly after. Schulhoff’s Piano Concerto was composed in 1923 when Schulhoff was heavily influenced by the Dada school. As such, the Concerto echoes the cool, minimalist style of Debussy.