Email by Daniel Marston firstname.lastname@example.org
This is to inform you that tommorrow, Monday the 30th of September, 2002, the manuscripts of the musical compositions created by Victor Ullmann (1.1.1898 - 18.10.1944, Auschwitz) during his more than two year incarceration in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, are being brought from the Goetheanum to be placed in the archives of the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel. These compositions, 25 works including the one-act opera, "Der Kaiser von Atlantis", which has been Ullmann's main "calling card", having been performed literally all over the world since its world-premiere in Amsterdam, 1975, came to the Goetheanum 17 years ago from London, where Ullmann's good friend, Dr. H.G.Adler, to whom they had found their way after the end of the 2nd world war.
In these 17 years, many people, musicians and scholars, have found their way to the Goetheanum to study these amazing documents. However, mainly because the financial means of the Goetheanum have been very limited, the infrastructure for the showing of the manuscripts has always been rather unsatisfactory. The documents themselves have been maintained as well as any fragile documents of such importance can be managed (kept in a safe under proper humidity conditions, etc.), contrary to claims often made in the past (co-workers of the Sacher Foundation themselves had studied them here at the Goetheanum and found the maintenance conditions perfectly correct). But the possibility of studying the documents in special rooms with the proper lighting, quiet, etc. was not always possible to guarantee. With the transfer of these documents to the Sacher Foundation in Basel as a kind of indefinite loan (the documents belong to the Goetheanum), they will be kept in the best possible condition and with the best possible accessibility that one can imagine. They will have the complete musical estates of Bartok, Stravinsky, etc. as neighbors! - and Marcus Gerhardts, cellist, the person from the anthroposophical side most connected with and knowledgeable concerning the Ullmann documents, will automatically be contacted whenever there is a request to study them. It is also very pleasing to know that the co-workers of the Sacher Foundation are quite excited to be able to harbor this legacy for us. They have said literally, this is a pearl for their "collection."
Now the next step would be to arouse enough enthusiasm to be able to get adequate finances for the creation of a Musical Section at the Goetheanum worthy of the name and the deed! - and then the documents would find their way back to Dornach, where they ideally belong. Nevertheless, for the meantime this is an honor for both sides, and a step into a very desirable cooperation between "Dornach" and established institutions in the big wide "non-anthroposophical" world.
Review from the “Musical Opinion”, May 2002,
by Dr. Malcolm Miller
Jacqueline Cole at St James’s Church, 13 May 2002
Almost sixty years after its composition in the
harrowing conditions of the Terezin Concentration Camp, the masterly Seventh
Piano Sonata by Schönberg’s Czech pupil Viktor Ullmann at last received
a stirring UK Premiere by the young British pianist Jacqueline Cole, a
former student at the Yehudi Menuhin School. The recital, at a well-filled
St James's Church in Piccadilly on 13 May, formed part of a stimulating
series titled Beethoven and Suppressed Composers, presented by the Beethoven
Piano Society of Europe, supported by the Jewish Music Institute’s Millennial
Awards, with funds from the National Lottery. Each recital includes a major
piano work by Beethoven coupled with music by a modern European composer
who suffered or who perished as a direct result of Nazi or Soviet oppression.
Viktor Ullmann’s best known work is the satirical opera Der Kaiser von Atlantis, composed in the Terezin Concentration Camp, used by the Nazis as a kind of showcase to where, along with colleagues Hans Krasa, Pavel Haas and Gidon Klein, a vibrantly creative musical life was maintained under almost inhuman conditions from 1942 until their deportation to Auschwitz in 1944. Revived in the 1980s it was one of the first works to bring public attention to this treasure-trove of forgotten masterpieces that testified both to creative genius and the indomitability of the human spirit.
Ullmann’s last three Piano Sonatas were composed in Terezin, the Seventh Sonata being completed just a few weeks before his tragic end. Dedicated to his three children, it is cast on a large canvas, in five contrasting movements, its most compelling moments infused with Scriabinesque colour and a Janá?ek–like momentum. The expressive heart is a moving Adagio. Here Jacqueline Cole richly projected the sinewy harmonies that echo the style of Ullmann’s teacher, the great Viennese progressive Arnold Schönberg. There are also hints of Kurt Weill in the spiky rhythms of the bittersweet Alla Marzia and Scherzo, shot through with ironic waltz fragments.The climax is a poignant yet ultimately triumphal Variations and Fugue on a Hebrew Theme, in which the biting dissonance in myriad textural guises is guided by strong tonal directionality, a powerful affirmation of Ullmann’s artistry as of his Jewish identity. Jacqueline Cole, whose teachers included Yalta Menuhin and both Yvonne Loriod and Olivier Messiaen, impelled Ullmann’s vision with dramatic intensity and virtuosity. Her artistry can be heard again on 25 September at St Johns, Smith Square, in a programme which includes Ullmann’s Seventh Sonata and two Serbian works receiving their World Premieres.
Jacqueline Cole is also a painter whose Exhibition entitled Every Bush is Burning is being shown throughout September in the Footstool Gallery in the St John’s, Smith Square’s Crypt. The Series continues at St James’s Church in Piccadilly on 17 July with Ian Fountain, the Winner of the Rubinstein Competition, who includes Berthold Goldschmidt’s 1934 Variations on a Palestine Shepherd’s Song.
Review from the "Musical Opinion", January – February 2003 by David
Jacqueline Cole at St John’s Smith Square, 25 September 2002
“ Jacqueline Cole’s piano recital at St John’s Smith Square, on 25 September
was a revealing one, not only in her chosen repertoire, featuring suppressed
composers, but of her own tremendous resources of musicianship and artistry.
Her programme began with the world premier of Svetislav Bozic’s Byzantine Moziac, nine sketches dedicated to the jubilee celebrations of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Great Britain. As approachable as the music was, I found it overly long, its sentiments, as varied as they were, driven by stylistic devices more akin to writing from the early 20th century than the beginning of the 21st. If this was pastiche, then it was very good, though, if anything, it confirmed Cole as a consummate performer. I found Pavel Haas’s 1935 Suite Opus 13 much more interesting. Cole’s stunning pianism sculpted the work with great finesse.
Beethoven’s Sonata Opus 10 was attacked with a precision that amounted to great style, Cole’s fluid technique bringing beautiful results from the dissonance of the second movement’s suspended chords and freshness and vigour to the whole.
Viktor Ullmann’s Seventh Sonata was a poignant conclusion to the recital. Written in the dreadful circumstances of the Terezin concentration camp, its sense of musical autobiography served to remind us that the creative ability to transcend such an abject state is a strong force within the human condition. Cole’s powerful insight drew us into this cauldron of horror, its introspective depth ultimately triumphing over adversity.”
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