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<<  -- 4 --  Malcolm Miller    KVAPIL IN CONCERT

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The session was completed with a general introduction to the work of the Terezin composer Viktor Ullmann, whose sixth sonata featured in both recitals and whose seventh sonata was mentioned in detail. While all Ullmann's sonatas refer to earlier composers -- No 1 alludes to Ullmann's teacher Schoenberg's Op 11, while Mahler is referred to in No 2 and Mozart in No 3 -- the last sonata uses musical quotation to express an awareness of Jewish roots in the context of a multi-national identity, a type of Utopian vision expressed in dark and harrowing circumstances. Its finale intertwines Protestant Bach Chorale and Czech National melodies together with a Hebrew folk song that forms the basic theme for variation. The sonata was dedicated to Ullmann's children, one of whom was deported and murdered as was the composer in 1944 at Auschwitz, and two of whom were rescued and brought to Britain.

Radoslav Kvapil
Radoslav Kvapil

Kvapil also described how the pianist Edith Kraus, now resident in Israel, had premièred the sixth sonata while a prisoner in Terezin, and affirmed the value of the Ullmann concerts at the Krasa-Ullmann Foundation in Terezin which are held alongside regular concert series. A vote of thanks to Professor Kvapil and to the RAM for hosting the masterclass concluded a very special and memorable afternoon.

Copyright © 18 March 2003 Malcolm Miller, London, UK

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RADOSLAV KVAPIL

THE JEWISH MUSIC INSTITUTE, LONDON

BEETHOVEN PIANO SOCIETY OF EUROPE

ROYAL ACADEMY OF MUSIC

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