- Composers and their works, derailed by Nazi regime
- 2 free concerts at the Mondavi Center, April 10 and 11
- Plus: A symposium on recovering memory and culture
- Speakers include UC Davis scholars on the Holocaust
After you experience these concerts, you won’t believe that with the exception of Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night (on the April 11 program), you have never heard any of this music and very likely not even of several of the composers (Zemlinsky, Schreker). — Don Roth, executive director, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts
Don Roth is talking about composers whose works from the late 19th century and early 20th century will be performed next week in two free concerts by Recovered Voices — recovered from the dark shadow of the Third Reich.
AT A GLANCE
A free companion symposium, “Recovering Memory and Culture After the Holocaust,” organized by the Mondavi Center with the support of the UC Davis Jewish Studies Program, will feature talks by James Conlon, artistic director and conductor with the Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices, and two UC Davis scholars: Sven-Erik Rose and Diane Wolf.
In a blog post, Roth describes Conlon — whom he has known well for two decades — as “extraordinary: a great conductor indeed, at ease with wide swaths of the repertoire and someone whose expertise with opera has landed him the top posts in Cologne, Paris and, for the last 17 years, Los Angeles,” as the music director of the LA Opera.
“He also may be one of the most interesting speakers on earth, whose preopera talks in L.A. regularly fill all the lobby spaces in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.”
Conlon launched Recovered Voices as an LA Opera project in 2008, putting on stage long neglected operas by composers whose careers (or lives) had been derailed and shortened by the Nazis.
“It was an amazing project,” Roth wrote. “Among other pieces, rescued from obscurity, the Zemlinsky one-act opera Der Zwerg (The Dwarf) is as moving and poignant a piece as anything Puccini or Strauss ever wrote.”
Alexander von Zemlinsky (1871-1942) will be represented in the Mondavi Center concerts by Maiblumen Blühten Überall (literal translation: Mayflowers Bloomed Everywhere) for Voice and String Sextet. The other featured composers are Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957), Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951) and Franz Schreker (1878-1934). See the programs below.
From chat to concerts
In his blog post, Roth said he and Conlon had a brief chat outside the L.A. opera house last year, and from there began to develop the project that comes to fruition with the April 10-11 concerts and symposium.
Roth noted that Mondavi Center Associate Executive Director Jeremy Ganter, who also serves as the director of programming, worked closely with Conlon’s artistic colleagues at Colburn to give final shape to the program.
The musicians performing the old works will be musicians from the Colburn School of Los Angeles, where Recovered Voices found a permanent home in 2013.
“We’ve made these concerts free,” said Roth, crediting generous donors to the Mondavi Center's Artistic Ventures Fund, “because we wanted to lower the barriers to attending concerts of the mostly unknown, and we wanted this rare opportunity (the only one outside L.A.) to be open to as many audience members as possible.”
“As your soon-to-be retired director, one of my favorite activities has been selecting Director’s Choice events for you. This season, among all the wonderful works we present, these Recovered Voices events sit at the top of that list.”
- Colburn Orchestra (7:30 p.m. Monday, April 10)
- Erich Wolfgang Korngold — Much Ado About Nothing Suite for Chamber Orchestra
- Arnold Schoenberg — Chamber Symphony No. 1
- Franz Schreker — Chamber Symphony
- Symposium (4 p.m. Tuesday, April 11)
- James Conlon, artistic director and conductor, Ziering-Conlon Initiative for Recovered Voices, Colburn School, Los Angeles — “Recovering a Musical Heritage From the Nazi Suppression”
- Sven-Erik Rose, associate professor, German and comparative literature; and director, Jewish Studies Program — “Recovered Literary Voices: Rescued Writings From Ghettos in Poland”
- Diane Wolf, professor emerita, Department of Sociology; and former director, Jewish Studies Program — “Beyond Anne Frank: The Hidden Stories of Hidden Children in the Netherlands After World War II”
- Colburn Chamber Music Ensemble (7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 11)
- Alexander von Zemlinsky — Maiblumen Blühten Überall (literal translation: Mayflowers Bloomed Everywhere) for Voice and String Sextet
- Schoenberg — Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night) for String Sextet
- Korngold — String Sextet
For more information on the concerts, and the composers and their works, see the Mondavi Center’s program notes by Elizabeth Campbell. musicology Ph.D. candidate, and Rebecca Stewart of Harvard University.
Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556, firstname.lastname@example.org; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist