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<<  -- 3 --  Malcolm Miller    'I WANDERED THROUGH THERESIENSTADT'


Sagi Hartov and Marc Verter, both members of the Masada Trio (with violinist Daniel Cohen), performed Piece in a Jewish Style by Stuchevsky, the cellist-composer who best represents the émigré pioneer generation of Israeli musicians: he was a member of the famous Kolish Quartet who premièred Schoenberg's works in Vienna in the 30s, then settled in Palestine, adapting his style to his adopted home. The piece was full of yearning and passion, with echoes of Strauss in the harmony, and its hints of tenderness were well caught.

The centrepiece was a group of songs by two Terezin composers, Gidon Klein and Pavel Haas. Klein was a young student when he entered Terezin, and his close contact with Viktor Ullman, Schoenberg's pupil, as well as other senior composers, made a significant impact on his music. Had he survived one can only speculate as to what his achievements might have been. Even so, Klein's output in Terezin was remarkable, including works for String Trio, quartets and songs. His beguiling Wiegenlied was here sung with consummate artistry by Maya Kasir accompanied by Marc Verter, with a Hebrew text. Its ravishing harmony was reminiscent of modern Israeli music.

The duo, specialists in such repertoire, also gave a superb performance of Four Songs on Folk Tunes, an early work by Pavel Haas, which he then orchestrated in Terezin. The first song Regen is lively and folklike, while In der Niklaskompagnie is an ironic march; the third song Sonnenuntergang was the most expressive, a calm, eloquent reflection on life, while the final song, Dass der Teufel euch hol, retrieved the initial humour, yet with powerful harmony and exciting textures and leaps, and a virtuoso piano part.

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Copyright © 18 April 2006 Malcolm Miller, London UK


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