Donnerstag, 31. Januar 2019

André Heller - Bitter und Süß - André Heooer in Israel (1978)

André Heller, born in 1947 in Vienna, is one of the most successful multimedia artists in the world. His realisations include garden artworks, chambers of wonder, prose publications and processions, as well as revitalising the art of circus and varieté; his recordings as singer and songwriter have sold in the millions. Large-scale flying and floating sculptures, the Luna Luna avant-garde amusement park, moving pictures, pyrotechnic spectaculars and mazes, theatre pieces and shows directed for stages ranging from Broadway to Vienna’s venerable Burg theatre, from India to China and all the way to South America and Africa have drawn crowds of audiences. André Heller lives in Vienna, Morocco, Lombardy and on his frequent travels.

"Bitter und Süß" was recorded live in Israel, 23-28. November 1975.


A1 Wenn I Amal Stirb 2:05
A2 A Musi, A Musi 2:05
A3 Bitter Und Süß 4:00
A4 Das Marine Museum 6:15
A5 Glasscherbentanz 3:45
B1 Im Paradeisgartl 4:34
B2 Wienerlied 1:39
B3 Und Dann Bin I Ka Liliputaner Mehr 3:02
B4 Windrad 2:23
B5 Kumm Ma Mit Kane Ausreden Mehr 2:15
C1 Alt Wiener Tänze 6:32
C2 A Olta Weana Fiaker 3:55
C3 Waast Es Eh 3:12
C4 Damals 2:25
D1 Lärm Vor Dem Hause 2:29
D2 A Gedicht Fia D Moni 2:06
D3 Engel-Lied 3:08
D4 Jetzt Fahr'n Wir Nach Jerusalem 4:02

(320 kbps, cover art included)

André Heller - Stimmenhören (1983)

André Heller was born in 1947 in Vienna. As a poet songwriter, his work spans across a period of more than 15 years selecting diverse topics and writing for a German-speaking audience. He has worked with not only international names such as Ástor Piazzolla, Dino Saluzzi, and Freddie Hubbard, but also with Austrian artists such as Toni Stricker, Wolfgang Ambros, and Helmut Qualtinger. Heller's own poetry has been set to music. He has also sung texts by other authors. For instance, "Catherine", from 1970, was set to one of the first hits of Heller. The text came from the then still largely unknown Reinhard Mey, and the music from the Austro-Canadian Jack Grunsky.

With Werner Schneyder, he created Viennese German songs that are translated from Jacques Brel, such as "Franz" (after the Brel title "Jef"). In 1976, he published a fairy tale called, Märchen für ein Wiener Kind (English version as "A Fairy Tale for a Viennese Child"), which is part of the children's book Update on Rumpelstiltskin and other Fairy Tales by 43 Authors, which is compiled by Hans-Joachim Gelberg, illustrated by Willi Glasauer, and published by Beltz & Gelberg. Using intimate memories of traumatic childhood experiences, and insights into his life, as well as his Catholic-Jewish origin, he created songs with the title "Angstlied" (Verwunschen, 1980).

Titles like "Miruna, die Riesin von Göteborg" (Verwunschen, 1980) are, in turn, influenced by the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. "Das Lied vom idealen Park" (Narrenlieder 1985), or, as a duet with Wolfgang Ambros, he also introduced the Bob Dylan cover, "Für immer jung" (Stimmenhören, 1983), are now titles that are part of the Austro-pop cannon. In 1983, he appeared on Stimmenhören with the song "Erhebet euch Geliebte", a song at the time of the peace movement in the early 1980s. Since the early 1980s, he turned increasingly to large public productions, installations and performances, until 1982, where his concert career came to close.

In 1985, the album, Narrenlieder, was released. Between 1967 and 1985, he published a total of fourteen LPs, twelve of those were gold records, and earned him seven times platinum. In 1991, he wrote, looking back on this period:
"I started in 1967, to put my poems together using my voice on record and in recitals before millions of people. This was following the example of Bob Dylan's first meaningful and self-published poetry [...] 1982 was certainly the zenith of that career, where I had to stop my concerts. I realized at this point, it was spoiled for me, because at 8pm, I had to act gifted in front of a few thousand listeners, just because they had paid for admission." – Heller in the liner notes of Kritische Gesamtausgabe published in 1991.
However, on his 60th birthday, Heller gave a concert in April 2007 at the Viennese Radiokulturhaus, after twenty-five years of absence from the stage in a recital entitled, Konzert für mich (Concert for me).

In 2006, thanks to the initiative of Chris Gelbmann, he released his last album called, Ruf und Echo. The 3-CD compendium is the first release in the past 20 years, containing new songs, and interpretations of old hits by artists like Brian Eno, Xavier Naidoo, Thomas D, and The Walkabouts.


Der Mikado1:43
Wie mei Herzschlag3:25
Tulios Lied4:17
Die Hundertjährige4:04
Zehn Brider6:13
Für immer jung3:54
Der erste Reif in Rimini4:17
Mir Träumte4:20
Erhebt euch Geliebte4:16

André Heller - Stimmenhören (1983)
(ca. 180 kbps, cover art included)

Country Joe & The Fish - Electric Music for the Mind and Body

Their full-length debut is their most joyous and cohesive statement and one of the most important and enduring documents of the psychedelic era, the band's swirl of distorted guitar and organ at its most inventive.
In contrast to Jefferson Airplane, who were at their best working within conventional song structures, and the Grateful Dead, who hadn't quite yet figured out how to transpose their music to the recording studio, Country Joe & the Fish delivered a fully formed, uncompromising, and yet utterly accessible -- in fact, often delightfully witty -- body of psychedelic music the first time out. Ranging in mood from good-timey to downright apocalyptic, it embraced all of the facets of the band's music, which were startling in their diversity: soaring guitar and keyboard excursions ("Flying High," "Section 43," "Bass Strings," "The Masked Marauder"), the group's folk roots ("Sad and Lonely Times"), McDonald's personal ode to Grace Slick ("Grace"), and their in-your-face politics ("Superbird").

Hardly any band since the Beatles had ever come up with such a perfect and perfectly bold introduction to who and what they were, and the results -- given the prodigious talents and wide-ranging orientation of this group -- might've scared off most major record labels. Additionally, this is one of the best-performed records of its period, most of it so bracing and exciting that one gets some of the intensity of a live performance.

Flying High2:37
Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine4:18
Death Sound4:21
Porpoise Mouth2:47
Section 437:23
Super Bird2:01
Sad And Lonely Times2:21
Bass Strings4:58
The Masked Marauder3:07

Country Joe & The Fish - Electric Music for the Mind and Body        
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Mittwoch, 30. Januar 2019

Neil Young - Anthology 1967 - 1993

Some artists make it seem utterly courageous to follow their own muse. Neil Young makes it seem like there's no other choice. For the last 45 years, Young has glanced at his options, shrugged for a moment, and lit off for the place that seemed right. Young has always kept his fans guessing, turning an array of stylistic corners -  country twang here, poignant picking there, and a whole lot of blaring guitar rock everywhere between. It doesn't matter if the songs are personal confessions, allusive tales, or bouncy throwaways - since the mid-1960s Young has filled each with immediacy and passion, two hallmarks of a career that has been utterly influential and wildly fun to follow. He's like your weird old uncle - if your uncle were a rock & roll genius.

"Anthology" is a great collection of outtakes, B-sides, edits and rare recordings...


Disc 1 - 1967-1974:
1. Mr. Soul
2. Down To The Wire
3. If I Could Have Her Tonight
4. I've Been Waiting For You
5. Here We Are In The Years
6. What Did You Do To My Life
7. Mr. Soul
8. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
9. Cinnamon Girl
10. Down By The River
11. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
12. Everybody's Alone
13. Dance Dance Dance
14. On The Way Home
15. Wonderin'
16. Sugar Mountain
17. Birds
18. I Believe In You
19. Out On The Weekend
20. War Song
21. Last Trip To Tulsa
22. Bad Fog Of Loneliness
23. Traces
24. Human Highway
25. Pushed It Over The End
26. Walk On

Disc 2 - 1975-1982:
1. Campaigner
2. White Line
3. Pocahontas
4. Like A Hurricane
5. Stringman
6. Too Far Gone
7. Sedan Delivery
8. Powderfinger
9. Hold Back The Tears
10. Look Out For My Love
11. Hey Babe
12. Worried Man Blues
13. My My Hey Hey
14. Home On The Range
15. Southern Pacific
16. Opera Star
17. Surfer Joe And Moe The Sleaze
18. Berlin

Disc 3 - 1982-1989:
1. If You Got Love
2. Sample And Hold
3. Mr. Soul
4. Sample And Hold
5. Do You Wanna Dance
6. Silver And Gold
7. Time Off For Good Behaviour
8. Leaving' The Top Forty Behind
9. Interstate
10. Grey Riders
11. Nothing Is Perfect
12. Weight Of The World
13. Inca Queen
14. Too Lonely
15. Ten Men Workin'
16. I'm Goin'
17. This Note's For You
18. Boxcar

Disc 4 - 1989-1993:
1. Cocaine Eyes
2. Heavy Love
3. Don't Cry
4. Rockin' In The World
5. Razor Love
6. Born To Run
7. White Line
8. Love To Burn
9. The Days That Used To Be
10. Love And Only Love
11. Mansion On The Hill
12. Don't Spook The Horse
13. Over And Over
14. Arc

There must be two more discs with recordings from 1994 to 1999 - sadly they are not on my hard-drive...

Neil Young - Anthology 1967 - 1993 - CD 1 & 2
Neil Young - Anthology 1967 - 1993 - CD 3 & 4

(192 kbps, cover art inlcuded)

Franz Josef Degenhardt - Mutter Mathilde (1972)

Learned and versatile, German poet, novelist, folksinger, and noted attorney Franz Josef Degenhardt was born December 3, 1931. He began releasing records in the early '60s and hasn't let up, with some 50 album titles in his personal discography, the most recent appearing in 2006. Degenhardt was also an accomplished novelist, with a half dozen largely autobiographical novels to his name. He died died 14 November 2011 in Quickborn, Germany.       

From the early 1960s onward, in addition to practicing law, Degenhardt was also performing and releasing recordings. He is perhaps most famous for his song (and the album of the same name) "Spiel nicht mit den Schmuddelkindern" ("Don't Play With the Grubby Children," 1965), but has released close to 50 albums, starting with "Zwischen Null Uhr Null und Mitternacht" ("Between 00:00 and Midnight," 1963), renamed "Rumpelstilzchen" ("Rumpelstiltskin"). In 1968 Degenhardt was involved in trials of members of the German student movement, principally defending social democrats and communists. At the same time, he was - in his capacity as a singer-songwriter - one of the major voices of the 1968 student movement. On his 1977 album "Wildledermantelmann" he criticized many of his former comrades from that era for what he saw as their betrayal of socialist ideals and shift towards a social-liberal orientation. The album's title (roughly, "man with velour coat") mocks the style of clothing they had supposedly adopted.        

"Mutter Mathilde", released in 1972, includes the great "Befragung eines Kriegsdienstverweigerers", a song for Angela Davis and one dedicated Sacco and Vanzetti.


Angela Davis4:51
Bodo, genannt der Rote6:22
Sacco und Vanzetti3:12
Befragung eine Kriegsdienstverweigerers4:00
Natascha Speckenbach5:19
Auf der Hochzeit2:03
Mutter Mathilde5:57
Ja, dieses Deutschland meine ich3:45

Franz Josef Degenhardt - Mutter Mathilde (1972)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

VA - KZ Musik - Encyclopedia of Music Composed in Concentration Camps (1933 - 1945) - CD 6

"The sixth CD is a wild potpourri, demonstrating that an astounding range of music--liturgical, classical, popular; choral, vocal, instrumental--can be deeply moving. It opens with Pinkhof's Jewish liturgical songs for a cappella male choir. Two long Hebraic chants by Bischofswerder, intoned by solo male voice (Paolo Candido), are surpassingly haunting, as is Zrzavý's V'lirushalaim for baritone and string quartet. Note that both sides imprisoned foreigners during World War II: Bischofswerder, a German rabbi who moved to London in 1933, was interned as an "enemy alien" in England and later in Australia. Hilsley's Fantasia is for a plaintive oboe and string quartet, his Dance Pieces for oboe and viola. Kropiński's instrumental music is somber; Bez Titulu a slow, sad tango. The remaining tracks are sentimental, often bittersweet ballads. (...)

Volume 6 (68 minutes) is an assemblage of vocal works along with a few short instrumental items. There are short, solemn liturgical texts set for a cappella male choir and solo male voice by Josef Pinkhof (1906-45) and Boaz Bischofswerder (d 1956); more characteristic songs and short piano solos and pianoand- violin duos by composers already represented in earlier volumes (Ullmann, Kropinski, Peskarova); and a conventionally tonal and bizarrely sweet 7-minute setting--presumably sardonic?--of a brutal text, warbled out by a childlike female voice with four-square piano accompaniment and given the cruel title Auschwitz Lied. This is credited to one Camilla Mohaupt, though the name is uncertain and there are no birth or death dates. The Kropinski numbers (my favorite things on this volume) exhibit that composer's pleasing way with traditionally harmonized, Slavic-inflected melodies such as his `Bez Titulu'. The universal appeal of this idiom is underscored by the popularity of George Gershwin's "blue" music--more Eastern European than African- American in origin--as well as such popular songs as the catchy, at once cynical and nostalgic `Those Were the Days', made worldfamous in a 1968 English language adaptation released on the Beatles' label, but actually written by a Russian song-writer, Boris Fomin, in the early 1900s. Indeed, `Bez Titulu' and `Those Were the Days' bear a strong enough resemblance to suggest Kropinski was familiar with the earlier song; at any rate he certainly knew the style. In sharp contrast are two pieces by William Hilsley (1911-2003), an English composer who had emigrated to the Netherlands before he was apprehended by the Third Reich and held in an internment camp for British citizens. His Fantasia on a Provencal Christmas Carol for oboe and string quartet and Three Dances for oboe and viola are fresh, sprightly, modal, pastoral, and pensive, very much in a Vaughan Williams vein and seemingly out of place among the darkened weltschmerz of so many downtrodden Eastern European Jews and fiery Communist martyrs. How innocent and undamaged Hilsley's music seems by comparison." -- American Record Guide, Mark L Lehman, November-December 2009

"In 1982, Dr. Francesco Lotoro visited Auschwitz and was amazed to find in its archives, a treasure trove of music written by prisoners. Ever since, Professor Lotoro has dedicated his life and career to finding, authenticating, transcribing, and cataloguing this precious legacy.
Traveling all over the world in search of this lost music, Professor Lotoro has found over 4,000 pieces of music — from astonishingly beautiful chamber music to avant-garde jazz to bawdy vaudevillian songs—and he estimates that 1,500 pieces are still waiting to be discovered.
These pieces were scribbled in notebooks, diaries, and even on toilet paper. Many of the finds originated in Terezin in the Czech Republic. Terezin was a concentration camp used by the Third Reich as propaganda to hide their plans for extermination., where music was allowed. Orchestras and bands were created and allowed to perform.
Thus far, Lotoro’s discoveries have resulted in a collection of over 4,000 manuscripts, around 13,000 microfiches, as well as numerous letters, drawings, and photographs. Professor Lotoro converted to Judaism and believes it is his Mitzvah to preserve this cultural heritage. He knows that he must move quickly or the music of that generation will be lost.
As a concert pianist, Professor Lotoro studied at The Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary. Subsequently, he studied with Tamas Vasary and Aldo Ciccolini. In 1995, Lotoro founded the Orchestra Musica Judaica. His discography includes over 40 CDs, including 24 of Concentrationary music with KZ Musik.
In 2007 Dahlan and Honora Foah met Francesco Lotoro and inspired by his work, created a concert of some of the works he had discovered. The concert evolved into the Creativity in Captivity project dedicated to supporting Dr. Lotoro’s work."


Josef Pinkhof Bergen-Belsen
1. Lecho Adonoi, male choir
2. Scharchoret, male choir
3. Wajhie, male choir
4. Gadlu, male choir & male singer

Boaz Bischofswerder (? – 1956) Hay/Tatura
5. El Male Rachamim, male singer
6. Lehu Nerann’no, male singer
7. Mi Addir, baritone & piano

David Grünfeld – Zikmund Schul Terezin
8. Uv’tzeil Knofecho, baritone & piano

Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944) Terezin
2 Lieder der Tröstung
9. Tote wollen nicht verweilen, baritone & piano
10. Erwachen zu Weihnachten, baritone & piano

Vilem Zrzawy – Zikmund Schul Terezin
11. V'lirushalaim, baritone & strings quartet

William Hilsley Oflag XVIII C/Oflag VIII A
12. Fantasy on Provencal Christmas Carol, hautbois & strings quartet
13-15. 3 Dance Pieces, hautbois & viola

Hermann Gürtler Bolzano, Italy
16. Rigaudon, piano

Jozef Kropiński (1913-1970) Buchenwald
17. Bez titułu, piano
18. Poem (after Poem Z. Fibich’s 5th Symphony), piano
19. Tęsknota, piano
20. Pieśń bez słów, violin & piano
21. Dlaczego?, violin & piano

Ludmila Peškařová (1890-1987) Ravensbrück
22. Černe vlajky, female singer & piano
23. Modlitba za vlast, female singer & piano
24. Hradčany krásné, female singer & piano
25. Kdybych měla aero, female singer & piano
26. Slunce vzchází a zapadá, female singer & piano

Jadwiga Leszczynska Auschwitz
27. Frauenlager, female singer & piano

Camilla Mohaupt Bergen-Belsen
28. Auschwitz Lied, female singer & piano

VA - KZ Musik - Encyclopedia of Music Composed in Concentration Camps (1933 - 1945) - CD 6

(256 kbps, cover art included)

Dienstag, 29. Januar 2019

Zupfgeigenhansel – Eintritt frei (Pläne,1980)

The album "Eintritt frei" was recorded live on Sept. 24/25, 1980, at the tavern "Zur lieben Hand" in Owingen, Lake of Constance. Side A contains some medieval songs, side B Jiddisch songs. Of course Conny Plank has done an excellent job again, the sound quality is as good as a studio recording.

The booklet contains notes and chords

for the guitar, lyrics, infos about the songs' history, translation from Jiddisch to German and more photographs.

Zupfgeigenhansel was a German folk duo, one of the most successful groups to emerge on the German folk scene in the 1970s. It consisted of Erich Schmeckenbecher and Thomas Friz. The group was named after the collection of folk songs of the same name, which was published in 1909.

The group started playing in folk-clubs, mainly in southern Germany, in 1974. They then started appearing on the radio programme Liederladen of the Südwestfunk broadcasting station. They released their first album, Volkslieder I for the Pläne record company in 1976, and later in the year their second album, Volkslieder II. In 1978 they received the award of "Artists of the Year" in one of the categories of the German Phonoakademie. They disbanded in 1985.

01. Wenn alle Brünnlein fließen 05:25
02. Die Bauern von St. Pölten 02:41
03. Der Revoluzzer 02:44
04. Andre, die das Land so sehr nicht liebten 03:25
05. Victor Jara 06:15
06. Di mame 03:19
07. Mojschele 05:17
08. Di mesinke 02:39
09. Dire-gelt 02:36
10. Tsen brider 07:43
Total time: 41:57

Thomas Friz: vocals, guitars
Erich Schmeckenbecher: vocals, mandolin, guitars, accordeon
Lutz Berger: violin
Bruno Brandenberger: bass
Conny Plank: sound, recording, mix

Zupfgeigenhansel – Eintritt frei (Pläne,1980)
(ca. 278 kbps, cover art included)

Banda Bassotti - Bella Ciao (EP, 1993)

Banda Bassotti is an Italian ska-punk band formed in 1987 in Rome. Their songs are generally political in nature, focusing on Communist and anti-Fascist issues. Many are about Ireland and Latin America, as well. The band was inspired by The Clash and The Specials. The band was very politically active from the very beginning, attending protests and sympathizing with anti-Fascist movements in Italy. Their name derives from the Italian version of the Disney characters "The Beagle Boys".

All Are Equal For The Law4:51
Bella Ciao2:16
La Ballata Della Sanguisuga6:16
Zio Paperone3:10

Banda Bassotti - Bella Ciao (EP, 1993)
(192 kbps, cover art included)

Television Personalities - Camping In France (1991)

Britain's Television Personalities enjoyed one of the new wave era's longest, most erratic, and most far-reaching careers. Over the course of a musical evolution that led them from wide-eyed shambling pop to the outer reaches of psychedelia and back, they directly influenced virtually every major pop uprising of the period, with artists as diverse as feedback virtuosos the Jesus and Mary Chain, twee pop titans the Pastels, and lo-fi kingpins Pavement readily acknowledging Television Personalities' inspiration.             

"Camping In France" is a quite good sounding (semi)-boot from December 1985. With Jowe Head of Swell Maps on guitar and backing vocals, a bit messy and shobby but in the end it's just great, great fun.


1Kings And Country
2Three Wishes
3Stop And Smell The Roses
4La Grande Illusion
5Silly Girl
6A Picture Of Dorian Gray
7Jackanory Stories
8David Hockney's Diaries
9Painter Man
10Back To Vietnam
11If I Could Write Poetry
12Geoffrey Ingram
13Salvador Dali's Garden Party
14Never Understand Me (Here We Go 'Round The Mary Chain)

                                                    Bonus Tracks:
15Happy All The Time
16Girl On The Motorcycle
17Just Call Me Jack

Television Personalities - Camping In France (1991)
(320 kbps, cover art included)

Montag, 28. Januar 2019

KZ Musik - Encyclopedia Of Music Composed In Concentration Camps (1933 - 1945) - CD 4

Since 1991 the Italian pianist Francesco Lotoro has traveled the globe to seek out and bring to light symphonies, songs, sonatas, operas, lullabies and even jazz riffs that were composed and often performed in Nazi-era concentration camps.

“This music is part of the cultural heritage of humanity,” Lotoro, 48, told JTA after a concert in Trani, a port town in southern Italy, that featured surprisingly lively cabaret songs composed in the camps at Westerbork in the Netherlands and Terezin (Theresienstadt) near Prague.

The concert formed part of Lech Lecha, a week long Jewish culture festival in early September that took place in Trani and nine other towns in the Apulia region, the heel of Italy’s boot.

“When I started seeking out this music, my interest was based on curiosity, on passion,” said Lotoro, who was the festival’s artistic director. “I felt that someone had to do it -- and that someone was myself. Today it has become a mission.”

Lotoro has collected original scores, copies and even old recordings of some 4,000 pieces of what he calls “concentrationary music” -- music written in the concentration camps, death camps, labor camps, POW camps and other internment centers set up between 1933, when Dachau was established, and the end of World War II.

In the 1990s he formed an orchestra to perform the pieces, and in 2001 began recording the compositions. A selection was released earlier this year in a 24-CD boxed set called "KZ Musik," or “The Encyclopedia of Concentrationary Music.” (KZ is the German abbreviation for concentration camp.) Some of the pieces have long been known, including music by several prominent composers who were interned in Terezin. The Nazis used Terezin, a ghetto concentration and transit camp, as a propaganda tool, allowing cultural life to develop.

Other musical pieces, however, had been long lost or totally forgotten until Lotoro deciphered, transcribed and arranged them.

Many compositions had been jotted down in notebooks or scribbled in letters or on scraps of paper. In the Pankrac prison in Prague, the Czech composer Rudolf Karel scrawled music on sheets of toilet paper.

“People continued to create despite being in those places,” Lotoro said. “These composers felt that the camp was probably the last place they would be alive, and so they made a will, a testament.

“They had nothing material to leave,” he said, “only their heart, only their mind, only the music. And so they left the music to future generations. It is a great testament of the heart.”

Jews who were killed in the Shoah wrote most of the music that Lotoro has collected. But his collection also includes pieces by Quakers, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma (Gypsies), political prisoners, homosexuals and others held in camps and prisons as far afield as Asia. He also has music written by German officers and troops in POW camps run by Allied powers and even American GIs held captive by the Japanese.

“Everybody made music, wrote music,” Lotoro said. “Because, you know, music is a social phenomenon. You can be a musician as an amateur, because you have a good ear, you can improvise, you can play the harmonica. Of course there are the great composers and musicians. But music is all of this, from amateur to professional.”

Lotoro, who lives in the town of Barletta, near Trani, and teaches at a music conservatory, believes he is descended from Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity centuries ago. He was drawn to Judaism as a teenager; he and his wife formally converted in 2004.

But Lotoro said this was not the reason he began his search for the lost concentration camp music.

“Of course as a Jew, I now feel that this is a mitzvah; it is something I have to do,” he said. “But I think that if I had not become Jewish I would anyway have done this.”

His first foray to seek out music came long before his conversion. It was a 1991 trip to Terezin, where imprisoned composers such as Viktor Ullmann and Gideon Klein -- both killed at Auschwitz -- had written works, such as Ullmann’s opera “The Emperor of Atlantis,” that already had become part of the international musical repertoire.

“I started there because I thought it would be easier,” Lotoro recalled. “But from Terezin I went on to research other former camps in the region, and at the end of three weeks I had to buy another suitcase to bring home all the material I found.”

Since then he has scoured antiquarian bookshops, catalogs, archives, libraries, museums, private collections and other holdings in more than a dozen countries for traces of lost music. Along the way he has amassed a trove of 13,000 items: scores, notebooks, papers, diaries, microfilms, photocopies, photographs, recordings and other material that he continues to sift through, catalog and sometimes reconstruct. He hopes to load all the pieces he has found onto a digital database for posterity.

As part of his research, Lotoro has consulted with scholars who specialize in the music of the Holocaust, and also has interviewed some of the few surviving musicians as well as relatives of those who perished. But he has carried out most of the work on his own.

“It is yet another testament to Italian creativity -- the ability to address such global issues from a relatively ‘remote’ place, and as a single-handed initiative,” Francesco Spagnolo, an Italian musicologist who is the curator at the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in Berkeley, Calif., told JTA.

Much of Lotoro’s work also has been self-financed. Although he has received some grants over the years, he told JTA that he had gone into debt and even taken out a second mortgage on his home to cover costs.

Still, Lotoro said, he must continue. “I cannot stop because if I stop, all the research stops automatically,” he said. “And how many works are still out there that I haven’t found? How many works am I missing? How many will I be able to save?”      



Hugo Löwenthal (1879 - 1943) - Terezin

1. Traditionelle Weisen für Pesach, Schwuos und Sukkot
2. Lieder für die Schawuoth Feiertage

Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944) - Terezin

 3. Seeräuber-Ballade (a fragment), violin
 4. Schnitterlied
 5. Säerspruch
 6. Die Schweizer
 7. Wanderer erwacht in der Herberge
 8. Der müde Soldat
 9. Wendla im Garten
 10. Chansons des enfants françaises

Pavel Haas (1899-1944) - Terezin
4 Chinese Songs

11. Zaslech jsem divoké husy
12. V bambusovém hàji
13. Daleko mesic je domova
14. Probdenà noc

Rudolf Karel (1880-1945) - Terezin

15. Pìsen Svobody op.41a
16. Zena-Moje Stestì op.41b
17. Pankràc March op.42a
18. Pankràc Polka op.42b
19. Pankràc Valzer op.42c

Robert Dauber (1922-1945) - Terezin
21. Serenata

VA - KZ Musik - CD 4
(256 kbps, front cover included)

Theodore Bikel - Sings Yiddish Theatre And Folk Songs (1967)

A talented folksinger and actor, Theodore Bikel has carved out his place in the modern entertainment industry as a renaissance man. For over 50 years, Bikel has impacted film, the stage, and the arts, from his supporting role in The African Queen in 1951 to his appearance at the 1960 Newport Folk Festival to his appointment to the National Council for the Arts in 1977. Although he was born in Austria, he has lived in Israel, England, and the United States and speaks five languages. Bikel has recorded for Elektra, Columbia, and Reprise, published Folksongs & Footnotes, and served as a vice president of the American Jewish Congress.

Bikel was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1924, but his family fled to Palestine in 1938, where they became British subjects. Bikel wanted to study language and become a teacher, so he worked at a communal farm to help pay expenses. Drawn to the theater, however, he left the farm in 1943 to study at the Hamimah Theater in Tel Aviv. Later, Bikel and four other actors formed the Tel Aviv Chamber Theater. In 1946, he left Israel to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. While in England, he also began to take a serious interest in folk music and learn the guitar. In 1947, Bikel's acting skills were noticed by Sir Laurence Olivier, leading to a part in the London production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

By the early '50s, Bikel began to play Russian officers and German sailors in English and American films and in 1955, he moved to New York City. The move also coincided with the beginning of a career in folk music. He signed with Elektra Records in the mid-'50s and recorded Israeli Folk Songs in 1955. He became a co-founder of the Newport Folk Festival and performed at the event in 1960. Bikel's repertoire proved uniquely eclectic, including songs from Russia, Eastern Europe, and Israel. He played hundreds of dates in United States, from the Rainbow & Stars in New York to The Boarding House in San Francisco, and traveled broadly, performing in New Zealand, Australia, and throughout Europe.
  Over the next 40 years, Bikel continued his dual career in film and folk music. He received parts in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming in 1966, See You in the Morning in 1989, and Shadow Conspiracy in 1997. He recorded Songs of the Earth for Elektra in 1967, A New Day on Reprise in 1970, and A Taste of Passover for Rounder in 1998. Bikel also involved himself in a number of political activities. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter appointed Bikel to the National Council for the Arts, a position he retained until 1982. He has also served with the Associated Actors and Artistes of America, Americans for the Arts, and the American Jewish Congress. In 1992, Bikel received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Hartford.

"Sings Yiddish Theatre & Folk Songs" was originally released in the '60s on Elektra. This also features the arrangements of master maestro Dov Seltzer.

1 A Chasene Tants
2 Doina
3 Beygelach
4 Di Grine Kuzine
5 A Pintale
6 Dire-Gelt
7 A Finf-Un-Tsvantsiger
8 Got Fun Avrohom
9 Kalt Vasser
10 Dem Milner's Treren
11 Machatonim
12 Shabes Shabes
13 Machateyneste Belz
14 Mayn Shtetele Belz
15 Yossel Der Klezmer
16 A Kleyn Melamedl

Theodore Bikel - Sings Yiddish Theatre And Folk Songs (1967)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

3. Festival des politischen Liedes (Eterna, 1972)

The third festival of political songs took place in Berlin between February,13th and February, 19th, 1972. Here are some recording from this festival, released on Eterna in the same year.


01 Lied Vom Vaterland [Oktober-Klub]
02 Har Ni Hört, Kamrater [Fria Proteatern]
03 Ballade Von Hans Dickhoff [Dieter Süverkrüp]
04 Kenen Joukoissa Seisot [Agit-Prop]
05 Fusil Contra Fusil [Silvio Rodríguez]
06 Loschadi W Okeanje [Sergej Nitkin]
07 Befria Södern [Fria Proteatern]
08 Por Vietnam [Quilapayún]
09 Lang Lebe Bangladesh [Bhupen Hazarika]
10 Camilo Torres [Basta]
11 Zigeunerlied [Kalaka]
12 Europavalsen [Agit-Prop]
13 Wem Soll Getraut Werden [Die Conrads]

3. Festival des politischen Liedes (Eterna, 1972)
(192 kbps, front & back cover included)

VA - KZ Musik - Encyclopedia Of Music Composed In Concentration Camps (1933 - 1945) - CD 2

Francesco Lotoro feels music from Shoah is part of 'cultural heritage of humanity'.

For more than a decade, Italian pianist Francesco Lotoro has been on a unique and important quest, uncovering, and bringing to the masses, music of all varieties, that was composed and even performed in concentration camps during the Holocaust.

“This music is part of the cultural heritage of humanity,” explains Lotoro. “When I started seeking out this music, my interest was based on curiosity, on passion. I felt that someone had to do it – and that someone was myself. Today it has become a mission.”
So far, Lotoro has collected more than 4,000 pieces of what he calls “concentrationary music”.

And, to ensure that the music was heard by as many people as possible, Lotoro put together an orchestra which played the various works before he began recording it.

Earlier this year, he released a 24-CD set called “KZ Musik”, also known as “The Encyclopedia of Concentrationary Music.”

“People continued to create despite being in those places,” marveled Lotoro. “These composers felt that the camp was probably the last place they would be alive, and so they made a will, a testament. They had nothing material to leave, only their heart, only their mind, only the music. And so they left the music to future generations. It is a great testament of the heart.”

Lotoro, who felt a kinship with Judaism since his teens and converted to Judaism in 2004, believes that his work is far from over.

“How many works are still out there that I haven’t found?” he asks. “How many works am I missing? How many will I be able to save?”



 Die Weise von Liebe und Tod der Cornets Christoph Rilke (für Sprecher und Klavier)01. 1. Den 24. November 1663 (0:47)
02. 2. Reiten, reiten, reiten (2:33)
03. 3. Jemand erzählt von seiner Mutter (2:57)
04. 4. Ein Tag durch den Troß (1:31)
05. 5. Der von Langenau schreibt einen Brief (3:59)
06. 6. Rast! Gast sein einmal (2:14)
07. 7. Als Mahl beganns (1:24)
08. 8. Einer, der weiße Seide trägst (2:58)
09. 9. Die Turmstube ist dunkel (2:58)
10. 10. Ist das der Morgen? (1:41)
11. 11. Aber die Fahne ist nicht dabei (1:16)
12. 12. Er läuft um die Wette mit brennenden Gängen (1:25)
13. 13. Im nächsten Frühjahr (2:07)

3 Lieder nach Hölderlin (für Bariton und Klavier)
14. Nr. 1: Sonnenuntergang (1:38)
15. Nr. 2: Der Frühling (1:52)
16. Nr. 3: Abendphantasie (6:19)

Immer inmitten (für Mezzosopran und Klavier)
17. Nr. 1: Immer inmitten (2:41)
18. Nr. 2: Vor der Ewigkeit (3:50)

Brezulinka op. 53 (für Mezzosopran und Klavier)
19. Nr. 1: Beryozkele (3:57)
20. Nr. 2: Margaritkelech (2:05)
21. Nr. 3: A meydl in di worn (2:07)
22. Ein jüdisches Kind (für Sopran und Klavier) (1:53)
23. Ukolébavka (für Sopran und Klavier) (2:49)
24. Ade, Kamerad! (für Frauenstimme und Klavier) (1:38)
25. Ukolébavka (für Frauenstimme und Klavier) (1:15)
26. Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt (für Frauenstimme und Klavier) (2:14)
27. Emigrantenlied (für Frauenstimme und Klavier) (2:48)
28. Dobr# den (für Frauenstimme und Klavier) (0:37)
29. Kleines Wiegenlied (für Frauenstimme und Klavier) (1:28)
30. Und der Regen rinnt (für Frauenstimme und Klavier) (1:40)
31. Wiegala (für Frauenstimme und Klavier) (2:49)

VA - KZ Musik - CD 2
(256 kbps, front cover included)

A Yiddish Winterreise - A Holocaust Survivor´s Inner Journey Told Through Yiddish Song (Mark Glanville, Alexander Knapp)

 Yesterday was the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the passage of 73 years since the January 27, 1945, liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet soldiers. Auschwitz was a network of concentration camps built and operated in occupied Poland by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Auschwitz I and nearby Auschwitz II-Birkenau were the extermination camps where an estimated 1.1 million people—mostly Jews from across Europe, but also political opponents, prisoners of war, homosexuals, and Roma—were killed in gas chambers or by systematic starvation, forced labor, disease, or medical experiments. About 200,000 camp inmates survived the ordeal. Today, a number of heads of states and aging survivors will attend a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary at the site in Poland, now maintained as a museum and memorial.

A Yiddish Winterreise is a sequence of songs from the Yiddish repertoire devised by opera singer and cantor Mark Glanville, recreating the original, Schubertian journey in a Holocaust context. The singer reflects on the life and world he has just seen destroyed as he flees the Vilna ghetto. Minor-key or modal melodies may evoke a sense of sadness, yet a deep-hearted joy, even triumph, are often equally evident.

An unusual disc title deserves explanation, though this disc's somewhat clunky subtitle provides an answer of sorts. It is in essence `a sequence of songs from the Yiddish repertoire devised by opera singer and cantor Mark Glanville, recreating the original, Schubertian journey in a Holocaust context. The singer reflects on the life and world he has just seen destroyed as he flees the Vilna ghetto. Minor-key or modal melodies may evoke a sense of sadness, yet a deep-hearted joy, even triumph, are often equally evident.' [Naxos]
The arranger of many here, and excellent pianist, Alexander Knapp analyses the salient features of much of the music - its indebtedness to mid nineteenth century `German classical harmony' and its frequent adoption of the minor key, straightforward form and rhythm and the use of improvisatory passages. He has not sought to improve the original melodic lines but has responded to them in a personal way, whilst respecting their essence. What emerges therefore is a sequence of songs, the poets or writers of which range chronologically from Levi Yitzchok, who was born in 1740. Mordecai Gebirtig, Abraham Brudno and Moshe Nadir died between 1942 and 1944. Both Aklexander Olshanetsky and Janot S. Roskin however died in 1946. The disc opens with the sonorous declamation of the traditional Khosn bazingns (Singing for the Bridegroom) and then leads on to the journey proper where the poet's town is ablaze. Fear, anger, and injunctions to quench the flames are the mileposts of this song but the journey is not all pogrom and flight. The putative wanderer's mental journey takes in landscape and rabbi, hearth and home, parents and children, Messiah and orphan, the chosen texts illuminate his mind's imaginative conjunctions and consonances between settings, a kind of sub-conscious or indeed conscious internalised self-communing. Therefore there are nostalgic-romantic settings, of which the reverie that is Vilna is the most prominent. The jaunty settings of What Will Happen When the Messiah Comes and The Rabbi has Bid Us be Happy attest to a double laced irony, the injunction to `be happy' sounding too much like an emotional forced march. Moments of self-pity, melismatic vehemence and fiery declamation fuse in Raisins and Almonds. The tenth setting is a of Schubert's Der Lindenbaum, an infusion that conjoins the German with the Yiddish in which language it is set. Further in the journey the impassioned and anguished peaks reached in Habeit mishomayim (Look Down from the Heavens) attest to the tormented weight pressing on the traveller though he soon relaxes to the cimbalon evocations of Der rebe Elimelekh (Rabbi Elimelech). These lead to a series of songs on childhood of which Kleyner yosem (Little Orphan) is very beautifully and simply done. In the context the twenty first setting, Un a yingele vet zey firn (And a Little Boy Will Lead Them) has some quite striking, indeed startling harmonies in the context of the journey. This questing harmonic writing, which becomes more and more incursive, leads toward the penultimate song, that urges one never to forget to say Kaddish. This in turn leads to the final setting, a spoken recitation of the Kaddish, which not only acts as a cyclical corollary of the opening recitation but which also functions as an act of praise and of deliverance. This is a story of survival after all. Glanville is the singer who guides us through this internalised human landscape. He is the orator and inquisitor, the mediator and the innocent. His voice rises to pitches of crises of recall; sinks into gauze-gentle recollections of childhood. It is the voice of rebuke and regret, the voice that embraces but must stifle self-pity. It is the voice that goes on. He and Alexander Knapp form a harmonious ensemble and have been finely recorded. There are full English texts. -- MusicWeb International, Jonathan Woolf, August 2010

A Yiddish Winterreise - A Holocaust Survivor´s Inner Journey Told Through Yiddish Song (Mark Glanville, Alexander Knapp)
(256 kbps, cover art included)

Sonntag, 27. Januar 2019

Terezin – Theresienstadt (Anne Sofie von Otter and others)

Today is the Holocaust Memorial Day, dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust. The chosen date is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Army in 1945.

“Holocaust Memorial Day is the international day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust and of other genocides. On it, we commemorate victims, honour survivors and commit to tackling prejudice, discrimination and racism in the present day. We encourage nations to conquer genocide and atrocity and individuals to stand up against hatred.” (from:

On this album, joined by several distinguished colleagues, Anne Sofie Von Otter pays homage to the remarkable composers and musicians imprisoned in the nazi Concentration camp Theresienstadt, where, under conditions of unimaginable suffering, they wrote and perfomed these songs and others works of delightful fantasy and lasting beauty.

“Even in the earth’s darkest corner, the music took away our fear and reminded us of the beauty in this world.” (Alice Herz-Sommer, pianist and Theresienstadt survivor)”

Ilse Weber (1903 – 1944), Karel Svenk (1907 – 1945), Adolf Strauss…
Bebe Risenfors [baritone] (Baritone)
Anne Sofie Von Otter (Mezzo Soprano)
Bengt Forsberg (Accordion)
Ib Hausmann (Clarinet)
Philip Dukes (Viola)
Christian Gerhaher (Baritone)
Josephine Knight (Cello)

01. Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt 2:38
02. Pod destnikem 3:10
03. Vsechno jde! 2:16
04. Ade, Kamerad! 2:22
05. Und der Regen rinnt 1:48
06. Ich weiß bestimmt, ich werd Dich wiedersehn 3:19
07. Gräfin Mariza – Operetta in 3 Acts – Arrangement – Terezín-Lied – Adaption of Komm mit nach Varasdin 2:55
08. Karussell 4:12
09. Wiegala 2:35
10. Ctyrversi (Vierzeilengedicht) 1:40
11. Vzruseni (Empfindung) 2:00
12. Pratele (Die Freunde) 1:18 13. Ein jüdisches Kind 2:43
14. Drei jiddische Lieder (Brezulinka), Op.53 – 1. Berjoskele 5:21
15. Six Sonnets de Louize Labané, Op.34 – 1. Claire Vénus… (Sonnet V) 3:36
16. Six Sonnets de Louize Labané, Op.34 – 2. On voit mourir… (Sonnet VII) 2:38
17. Six Sonnets De Louize Labané, Op.34 – 3. Je Vis, Je Meurs… (Sonnet VIII) 1:22
18. Zaslech jsem divoke husy (Ich vernahm Wildgänse) 2:39
19. V bambusovem haji (Im Bambushain) 2:06
20. Daleko mesic je domova (Fern der Heimat ist der Mond) 5:05
21. Probdena noc (Durchwachte Nacht) 3:27
22. Sonata for violin solo (1927) – 1. Allegro con fuoco Daniel Hope 1:42
23. Sonata for violin solo (1927) – 2. Andante cantabile Daniel Hope 5:31
24. Sonata for violin solo (1927) – 3. Scherzo Daniel Hope 2:10
25. Sonata for violin solo (1927) – 4. Finale Daniel Hope 2:36

Terezin – Theresienstadt (Anne Sofie von Otter and others)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

KZ Musik - Encyclopedia Of Music Composed In Concentration Camps (1933 - 1945) - CD 1

Today is the Holocaust Memorial Day, dedicated to the remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust. The chosen date is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Army in 1945. We will start today to (re-)post the first 12 volumes of the "KZ Musik" series.

"KZ Musik" is the most complete and updated encyclopaedia record, containing the complete musical works (operatic and symphonic works, chamber music, instrumental music, piano music, Lieder and chorale music, cabaret, jazz, religious hymns, popular and traditional music, fragmentary works or works pieced together after the war) written between 1933 (year of the opening of the camps of Dachau and Börgermoor) and 1945 by musicians who were imprisoned, killed, and deported, as well as survivors from every concentration camp, and from any national, social and religious background.

It is the result of the musicological work carried out by Italian pianist and musical director Francesco Lotoro. Each booklet of "KZ Musik" comes in three languages (Italian, English and German), and contains the profile of the camps, in which the works contained in the CD were written, the profile of their composers and their works, short critical notes and, in the case of vocal music, the lyrics in their original.

A review:

"Listening to the first of the KZ Music discs (music written during internment in concentration camps) one isn’t struck by any composition as being particularly remarkable.  There is nothing, in any of the works by any of the seven composers included on this disc, which immediately vaults from the speakers – heralding momentous harmonic or rhythmic originality.  Some of it is neatly crafted, some of it is stylistically clichéd, some of it is somewhat naive in gesture, and some of it is truly interesting.  Most of it is, probably, what we would call utilitarian.
One could, for example, see no reason why Karel Berman’s ‘Poupata’, for baritone and piano, should not join the standard repertoire.  Goodness only knows how much the genre needs fresh additions.  Others works however are more akin to student compositions – quasi anthems to youth – and, like most earnest student works, deserve a polite hearing but, thereafter, best left alone.  Yet such a critical analysis is hardly the point …is it?  Why?  Because, unlike students, many of these composers were not allowed to live long enough to go back and re-work their material.  And this means we need to apply a new strategy to our understanding of the music.
What lies within a core appreciation of all of the 24 CDs in the series, isn’t as much a ranking of artistic value, according to standard criteria, as it is a reaffirmation of the integrity of the human creative spirit.  Internment, no matter the almost surreal horror of such (in some circumstances) – be it within a state gaol, a frail or palsied body, a religious canon, an unyielding social boundary cast around the arts by an insecure political system, or, as we find here, a heinous racial ostracism – cannot imprison the creative mind.  And when the creative mind, despite very real physical imprisonment, looks about and surveys the terror of its landscape, it begins a process of therapy.  This is as natural to our species as is locking the prison door.
The KZ MUSIC series has determined its period and place of reference to prove the point.  But, before launching into an examination of it, one needs to remark, at this point, that all the performers have approached the material with sensitivity and technical assurance.  The phrasing, dynamics, tempi and sense of flow, throughout the recording, feel instinctively ‘correct’.  Pianist, Francesco Lotoro, certainly has the lion’s share of effort – performing on every track as either soloist or accompanist – but more importantly is the evident ‘simpatico’ evinced by all the musicians.
It is unclear from the two booklets included with the disc, whether Lotoro is also the author/compiler of the information they contain.  This information pertains to what details exist about the composers, their works, their surroundings and much more besides.  The author, be it Lotoro or not, is to be congratulated on this sedulous quest.
But why wasn’t the same degree of ministration applied to the English translation?  It certainly isn’t rare to find a few grammatical and word choice inaccuracies in texts translated into English, however, when there are this many ‘oversights’, one begins to wonder what it is the author is trying to say.  With subject matter of this importance, the translator shouldn’t alienate his readers before they become listeners.  Also, an English translation of the actual texts might have given the English speaking audience greater insight into the composer’s thinking.  And a final word on the business of English translations: the fabrication of the term ‘concentrationary music’ is not justified.  To coin an abbreviation such as ‘CCM’ (Concentration Camp Music) is fine, if previously annotated, but to use the non-word ‘concentrationary’ so consistently, doesn’t give it the right to exist.  In fact, if it did exist as a word, it could give the opposite impression of much of the music!  
It is difficult to know where to begin a discussion because the therapeutic process takes on a very different complexion according to the personality, degree of training and genuine inventiveness of the composer.  As mentioned, this critique makes little attempt to set a level or standard of compositional excellence and is more concerned with taking a panoramic view of the process in action.
The composer to whom I was immediately drawn was Viktor Ullmann.  One of the leaflets states he studied with Arnold Schoenberg for a year, although it doesn’t mention what he studied specifically.  My curiosity was piqued: was the 20 – 21 year old Ullmann influenced by the style of music Schoenberg was writing just before the 1920s?  Further research revealed that Ullmann studied composition with Schoenberg and indeed, one can draw a similarity in as much as both composers explore motivic (cells of three or four notes) development rather than traditional melodic expansion.  Ullmann however seems to more attracted to establishing larger lines of restricted range, and to harmonies imprinted with Mahler or Strauss.
The choice of accompanying strings (either as quartet or trio) adds an almost claustrophobic dimension.  Perhaps this is due to the timbral ‘tightness’ of string ensembles or perhaps it’s a deliberate attempt by the composer to project his physical surroundings.  Who can say?  But what can be determined is that these representative lieder deserve further study.  It appears the Czechoslovakian artistic community maintains a similar position.
After the relative sophistication of Ullmann’s music we are presented, in purely musical terms, with their antithesis: three songs for baritone and piano by Josef Kropinski.  (Incidentally, Kropinski, having survived WWII and the camps, as a political prisoner, died of a heart attack in 1970…a mere fifteen years later.)  Unlike Ullmann, Kropinski clearly has a penchant for tonal melodies.  Some of them are quite haunting, like that which opens ‘Piesn Wspomnienia’ – which I’m sure I’ve encountered before – and the folksy melody of ‘Prozno!’.  Yet while his basic building blocks are attractive, he has difficulty mounting them into a satisfying or convincing edifice.  Still, in terms of melodic invention alone, he should be better known.  Much of this writing has the imprint of ‘movie land’ written on it and this is a quality which shouldn’t be ignored.  If ‘Piesn Wspomnienia’ hasn’t been used – if I had only associated it with something else – then it would be a regrettable loss for any reputable Hollywood director.
Berman’s ‘Poupata’, as already mentioned, which opens the disc (with seven songs for baritone and piano, one for soprano and piano, and one for piano solo) show, though not exclusively, a surprising Impressionist influence.  All the pieces are conveyed with a satisfying sense of line, and the word shaping is aurally perceived as being highly sensitive to the natural inflections of the language.  His harmonic writing is an interesting reconnaissance of non or barely tonal areas.  But there is a twist: his harmonic progressions offer the listener greater satisfaction than his harmonic ‘goals’.  The former, be they French Impressionistic or late German Romantic in colour, seem to explore new relationships but the latter (the purpose of the progression) always capitulate to tonality.  It is as if Berman is stating his willingness to probe a non-tonal harmonic world but not the extent of permanently residing there.
His ‘Slavnostni Pochod’, for piano solo, is an oddity.  Clearly pictorial, this anthem or military march is either satirical or naive.  Whatever the case, it isn’t worthy of the music already presented by the composer.
There are three other piano solos on the CD’s program.  The first two of these are by Z. Stryjecki (only the initial of his first name is known and his dates of birth/death are unknown).  Both solos are very basic in structure and general musical material.  Before tagging them as ‘juvenile’ – which is what their style would strongly suggest – one searches for a bit more information to confirm the notion.  But there is so little information about his life; except he was a POW and these pieces were written in 1942.  That’s all there is.  One can only conjecture his artistic development was curtailed in his youth and, consequently, left in that state when he composed the pieces.
The other piano solo – ‘Felicita’ op.282 by Charles Abeles – is similar to Berman’s solo in as much as it is either burlesque or dewy-eyed, although the clichéd tremolo, in both hands, at the conclusion, would seem to imply the former.  Then again, the gesture would be entirely in keeping with a carnival or circus image the work evokes.  The information is so sparse that one must adopt a subjective opinion, so, in my opinion, ‘Felicita’ is a parody.
Fortunately there is more information about the other two composers on the disc: Ludmilla Peskarova and Eva Lippold-Brockdorff.  Undoubtedly this is because both women survived WWII and the Holocaust.  There is also another similarity between them – a stylistic conformance which favours simple tonal structures (i.e. where it is a relatively easy task to aurally delineate small musical sections).  Both women appear to have a fondness for either folk songs or ‘patriotic’ anthems.  Their use of rhythm is best described as detectable patterning – iterations of small motives – and their harmonic progressions comes perilously close to textbook design.
These are observations which would strike many listeners, not artistic evaluations.  In its own terms, each song (all of which have been scored for ‘female voice’ and piano) might be limited in its musical language but, overall, has a fairly balanced dynamic structure.  I was curious to see how Peskarova was going to handle her material in ‘Pisen o Koncentracich’ as its duration of 5mins 11secs is the second longest on the disc.  ‘Songs about the Concentrations’, its translation, would, on the surface, suggest something weighty and in-depth.  And I assumed its length would indicate a more explorative musical argument.  I was disappointed, but not surprised – given the title, to find it only had greater repetition…perhaps too much.  In fact it became a spiralling of repetition within repetition.  One felt it was at this stage that the line between conscious intent (to make a statement) and the world of creativity were losing sight of each other.  For future performances of any of these songs, by either composer, it is suggested to substitute the ‘female singer’ for a boy soprano.  I feel this is more the quality of voice both composers had in mind.  That quality is one of innocence.
This is a word that so effectively, on many levels, best describes the creative thinking heard in most of the music on the disc.  Does the creative mind, when surrounded by such senseless suffering and maleficence, find a point of state of grace?  Having listened to this recording, I think it does, or it has no alternative not to do so.
Stuart Hille, 2009"

VA - KZ Musik CD 1
(256 kbps, cover art included)