Live Music: Hope From Despair

Jeffrey Kahane, with Christopher Taylor on piano, delves three generations back into his family history to the holocaust, and brings us music from that time that was nearly lost in the horrors of World War II. Kurt Weill wrote his Symphony No. 2 in exile, Viktor Ullman composed his piano concerto in the concentration camp at Theresienstadt before being killed in the Auschwitz gas chambers. Vladyslaw Szpilman’s miraculous survival story was told in the movie The Pianist, after which he recomposed his Concertino for Piano and Orchestra from memory. None of these works are bleak, as one might fear. It would be closer to say they acknowledge the darkness, but defy it. All of it sounds like music that should be common in concert halls, but is instead just emerging from the fog of war.

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