“By no means did we sit weeping on the banks of the waters of Babylon and our endeavor with respect to the arts was commensurate with our will to live.”
To Viktor Ullmann and the other Jewish composers of his generation, music was not only an escape from the horrors they were experiencing; music was life itself. It was their testament. Every melody sung, every chord played, every note written was a statement of their will to live and their insistence that they not be forgotten. Although their humanity and dignity were trampled, their spirits remained intact. Their legacy lives on as long as we remember, and it is our job to preserve and proclaim that memory.
As we launch our new Reclaimed Voices Series, we are deeply aware of the responsibility we bear toward these composers. In a world where old prejudices resurface and where a new generation of demagogues seeks to draw new lines of division and enmity, the stories of these composers take on a new urgency. Their works need to be heard, their stories told, and their memories restored. As we delve into their world, we draw inspiration from their determination to continue their art in the face of monstrous evil. For them, music meant life, and life meant music.
Our Reclaimed Voices Series will expand our mission to include recovering the forgotten of works of Jewish operetta and opera composers who were forced into exile, persecuted or perished at the hands of the Nazis. In particular we will be introducing works that have not been performed in the U.S. and are dangerously close to being forgotten forever. This includes the works of Leo Fall, Paul Abraham, Emmerich Kálmán, Josef Beer, Leo Ascher, Edmund Eysler, Leon Jessel, and Jean Gilbert as well as the works of Hans Gál, Gideon Klein, Viktor Ullman, Franz Schreker, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Egon Wellesz, Hans Krasa, Alexander Von Zemlinsky and Kurt Weill.