8:00 pm-10:30 pm Sat, Mar 9, 2013
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Memorial Concert: Vilna Poems & Akoka
$26 General, $24 Seniors, Students, and JCCEB Members
Discounts for advance purchases available online or over the phone.
Brown Paper Tickets phone support is available 24/7: 1-800-838-3006
Doors open at 7:30pm
Co-sponsored by the Judaica Collection of the Doe-Moffitt Libraries, UC Berkeley
Vilna Poems was commissioned by Lisa Delan from Bay Area composer David Garner, written for Lisa, Kristin Pankonin Matt Haimovitz and David Krakauer. The cycle is based on six Yiddish poems by Holocaust poet Avrom Sutskever, which will be released in April by PentaTone Classics on Delan’s CD The Hours Begin to Sing. Sung in the original Yiddish; new translations by poet and Yiddish scholar Chana Bloch.
The work that has become Vilna Poems was first commissioned by the late mezzo-soprano Sylvie Braitman-Chouraki, whom I knew through the San Francisco Conservatory. I had completed only a couple of sketches when Sylvie passed away, and the piece languished for years. Then in 2011, while Lisa Delan and I were discussing another project dealing with the Holocaust, I suddenly remembered Sylvie’s legacy. We both were very excited about completing the work, and doors have been opened for us ever since: We were very fortunate to have David Krakauer and Matt Haimovitz commit to the recording and premiere early enough so that I could write the parts specifically for them. Lisa and pianist Kristin Pankonin have worked with me in many, many projects, and both knew Sylvie. Most recently, poet Chana Bloch became involved through yet another coincidence, and her definitive English translations and insight into the poems and the poet (whom she knew personally) have completed the magic surrounding this intricate work of vocal chamber-music.
About the composer:
A graduate and faculty member of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music David Garner studied piano with Virginia Danforth, Beatrice Beauregard and Nathan Schwartz and cello with Priscilla Parsons and Roman Dukson. His music has been performed widely in the Bay Area and from New York City to Tokyo. His piano music has been performed in competitions in Latvia and Russia. Garner has received commissions from numerous soloists, from Volti, Citywinds and QUADRE, and Shams Ensemble, among other ensembles. Sylvie Braitman, z”l, was a well known Bay Area Yiddish singer for many years and a former member of the Program Committee of the Jewish Music Festival.
Cellist Matt Haimovitz and clarinetist David Krakauer have come together to create a new project centered around Olivier Messaien’s Quartet for the End of Time. This performance will feature violinist Kay Stern and pianist Kathleen Tagg.
Given that this piece was composed in a prisoner of war camp in the midst of tremendous world upheaval, and that the subject matter of the quartet describes cataclysmic events (the end of time itself), Haimovitz and Krakauer have created a program of music surrounding and commenting on this aspect of the Messaien. The point of departure is that the clarinetist Henri Akoka who gave the premiere in the prison camp was Jewish. Metaphorically, to focus on Akoka’s story (not literally, but rather poetically through music) is to bring out the human aspect of this composition seen through the “eyes” of one individual caught up in terrifying events beyond his control. Indeed, as the forces of fundamentalism, intolerance and violence intensify in today’s world, this project is all the more timely. The Messiaen work is bookmarked between two new compositions in a way that “lifts” it out of the polite confines of a normal chamber music performance. Krakauer and Haimovitz first developed this project at the Banff Centre for the Arts residency in May 2007.