Our Will to Live: The Terezín Music Critiques of Viktor Ullmann
Concert reviews, posters and ephemera from a Nazi concentration camp--a tribute to the defiant spirit of the creative will
There are moments of excruciating beauty, there are heartrending stories, all reminding us that if we lose our humanity, we are nothing."
-- Yo-Yo Ma
In Terezín, a Nazi camp where 33,000 people died, imprisoned musicians and artists created a remarkable cultural community that persevered against all odds. Our Will to Live brings us into this astonishing world. It presents the first full translation of concert critiques written by accomplished musician, scholar--and Terezín prisoner--Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944). Ullmann describes Terezín performances by ensembles, youth choirs and solo artists including luminaries of European cabaret and opera, plus works by a generation of promising composers silenced too soon: Gideon Klein, Pavel Haas, Hans Krása and others.Paired with Ullmann's critiques are more than 250 rarely seen concert posters, programs, portraits and scenes rendered by imprisoned artists; these are from a trove of hidden artworks recovered after liberation. Our Will to Live also offers an original collection of vintage and modern recordings performed by Terezín survivors and contemporary masters. Essays and annotations by scholar Mark Ludwig set the historical context, introduce the artists and deepen what we know of this extraordinary chapter in World War II history. Terezín survivors helped guide this project, the result of more than 30 years of research and writing. Shortly after Ullmann authored his final concert critique, Terezín's cultural community was decimated: nearly all the artists were murdered in Auschwitz. Mark Ludwig is a Fulbright scholar of Terezín, a member of the Pamatník Terezín Advisory Board and director of the Terezin Music Foundation. He produces recordings, concerts and Holocaust and genocide education programs worldwide. Ludwig is a violist emeritus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, adjunct professor of Holocaust music at Boston College and editor of the poetry anthology Liberation (2015).
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