As if it all happened yesterday

Violin: Viviane Hagne
Conductor: Karl-Heinz Steffens

State Opera Orchestra

Recording of a concert from the State Opera dedicated to the victims and survivors of Nazi persecution on CT art: Watch the concert


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It has been more than seventy-five years since World War II ended - one of the greatest catastrophes humanity has ever encountered. It might seem that it has been a long time - it is and is not. There are still people living among us whose lives have been hit hard by the Nazi rage. A gala concert was held in honor of the last living victims of Nazi terror. It pays homage, respect and humility to the tragic destinies they represent. The concert's programme consists of the work of authors who, despite the then totalitarian social conditions, symbolize the freedom of the human spirit and artistic creation.

Pavel Haas, a native of Brno, the brother of the famous actor Hugo Haas and one of Leoš Janáček's most talented students, was deported to Terezín and later to Auschwitz for his Jewish origin during World War II, where he perished in a gas chamber.

The same fate befell a Czech-Austrian of Jewish origin, Viktor Ullmann, a pupil of Arnold Schönberg and a collaborator of Alexander Zemlinsky at the New German Theater in Prague. Both are today among the most recognised authors of the interwar musical avant-garde. Their music has survived and continues to resound.

The compositions of Pavel Haas and Viktor Ullmann, full of energetic excitement and pensive moods, were complemented by the romantic Violin Concerto by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, which occupies one of the prominent places in violin literature. His work has also been the target of anti-Semitic attacks in the past. The famous Violin Concerto in E minor was performed by the excellent German-Korean violinist Viviane Hagner.

Music is said to be able to lift the human spirit. Let's listen together to the tones of these songs and let the music lift ours as well - so that we can find and create beauty and good in the world. Just like eight decades ago, our society needs it today.

Before the concert a book launch took place at the Angelo Neumann saloon. Book titeled "As if it all happened yesterday" by Radka Denemarková and photographer Karel Cudlín portraits photographs and memories of Nazi survivors.

The concert dedicated to the victims and survivors of Nazi persecution and the book launch were organized by the Czech-German Fund for the Future in cooperation with the National Theater and with the financial support of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Prague as part of the Musica non grata project.

The concert recording on ČT art 27.11. at 20:15

Pavel Haas: Scherzo Triete op. 5
Viktor Ullmann: Slawische Rhapsodie op. 24
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy: Violin concerto in E minor for string orchestra
State Opera Orchestra

Conductor: Karl-Heinz Steffens

Violin: Viviane Hagner

Photo: Serghei Gherciu

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