In light of the unspeakable atrocities that occurred in the various concentration camps, gulags, death camps, and forced labor camps during the Second World War, it is entirely remarkable that such an abundance and variety of music should emerge.
Many of these works, such as Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, have survived as part of the modern canon while others have all but fallen into oblivion. To prevent this, KZ Musik is releasing a spectacular series of discs featuring all of the known music composed in these camps. This disc, Volume 5, features the Eighth Symphony of Erwin Schulhoff in its original piano score version. While Schulhoff did not survive to complete the Finale, the disc also includes a version completed by Francesco Lotoro, who also performs. The piano's sound is not one of a marvelous, rich instrument, but that seems to be the point. Rather, the instrument sounds a bit distant, a bit tinny, and a bit sparse; these characteristics only enhance Schulhoff's rather bleak score and put listeners in mind of the circumstances surrounding its composition.
Lotoro continues the program with selections from Karel Berman's Terezín Suite. Although Berman was to continue working on this piece once he was liberated, this disc provides listeners with the original score composed while incarcerated. Both Berman's writing and Lotoro's playing are gripping and powerful. Combined with well-written liner notes that include a brief history of each composer's stay in the camps, this album - and indeed all of the volumes in the set - are must-haves.
VA - KZ Musik - CD 5 - Encyclopedia of Music Composed in Concentration Camps (1933 - 1945)
(320 kbps, small front cover included)