Tuesday, May 11, 2010
VEDEM (Czech: "I lead")
Last night, I went to the Music of Remembrance world premiere of a work entitled, "Vedem". The Music of Remembrance series in Seattle, WA puts on two shows a year (fall and spring) and commemorates the lives lost during the Holocaust through musical and artistic expression. This is it's 12th season. Last night's performance included a piece called "In Memoriam", Pavel Haas's String Quartet No. 3 and the world premiere of Vedem. Vedem had 15 smaller pieces and featured piano, cello, viola, violin, clarinet, mezzo-soprano, tenor and (most importantly) the North West Boy Choir. The boys choir did an unbelievable job telling the haunting and chilling tales of these young men who were living in Home 1 in Terezin. It was sad, scary, chilling, and yet - somehow - uplifting.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the evening was the special guests who were present. Of all 100 boys who lived in Home 1 and contributed weekly to this literary journal, filled with poems and prose of their feelings/observations/doubts/fears/desires, only 15 are known to have survived the Holocaust. Of those 15, only 6 are still living today and four of them were able to be with us in the concert hall that evening. Those survivors were able to witness the world premiere of the artistic interpretation of their own personal stories and memories.
The survivors spoke of what a great honor it was to the memory of those whose lives were cut too short - some of whom were literary geniuses, and what a great loss to this world their death had been. They spoke of being honored by this piece, but it was all of us who were truly honored to be there - to honor their courage, their fortitude, and their human will to continue fighting for bits and pieces of humanity and normalcy in an inhuman time and place. It was truly, a magical evening of remembering.