Fall 2010 Concert

The ARC Ensemble of Toronto with Special Guest Robert Pomakov
War and Exile: The Music of Berman, Braunfels, and Ben-Haim

  • Terrace Theater
  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
  • Washington, D.C.
  • November 18th, 2010

Concert Summary

The award-winning ARC Ensemble of Toronto returned to the Kennedy Center with an all-new program devoted to lost masterpieces written during World War II by three singular composers: Karel Berman (1919-1995), Paul Ben-Haim (1897-1984), and Walter Braunfels (1882-1954). Berman’s 1944 song cycle, “Poupata,” composed and premiered while he was interned at Theresienstadt, is a stunning, defiantly positive response to his nightmarish path from the Prague Conservatory to the Nazi concentration camp. Of mixed Jewish-Christian parentage, Walter Braunfels found himself steadily excluded from German musical life under the Nazis. Years of isolation led to the dark passion of his string quintet—one of the great unheralded works in the chamber music tradition—presented here in its Washington premiere. Meanwhile, far away from Europe, the German-born Jewish composer Paul Ben-Haim was busy creating the new sound of Jewish national music in Palestine. The “Melodies from the East” and “Quintet” reflect his own wartime answers to the Nazi menace: proud, overtly Jewish celebrations of the ancient folkloric heritage renewed in the land of Israel. This concert highlights the many paths to exile and musical responses from Europe’s Jewish composers in the threat of Nazi onslaught and wartime chaos.

Concert Program

Karel Berman (1919-1995)
Poupata (“Buds”) (1944)
Májové ráno (“May morning”)
Co se deje pri probuzení (“When a baby awakens”)
Deti si hrají (“Children at play”)
Pred usnutím (“Before falling asleep”)
Velikocní (“Easter song”)
Paul Ben-Haim (1897-1984)
Melodies from the East (1941-1945)
Ani Tsame (“I am thirsty”)
Kummi tse’i (“Get up and come out”)
Im nin’alu dalte’i nedivim (“When the doors of the wealthy are closed”)
Tiyelu Kichwassim (“They wander like sheep”)
Elohe’i Tsidki (“My Righteous God”)
Paul Ben-Haim
Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a (1941)
Molto Moderato
Capriccio: Molto Vivo
Tema con variazioni: Sostenuto e dolce
Walter Braunfels (1882 – 1954)
String Quintet in F# Minor, op. 63 (1945)
Finale — Rondo