Monday, June 27, 2016, 8pm
“Suppressed music” is a term that is used to refer to a diverse body of music, predominantly written by composers of Jewish backgrounds, that was suppressed by the Third Reich for ideological rather than artistic reasons.
These musical works were systematically prohibited from publication, performance and broadcast. These compositions unfortunately often never found, or in many cases never regained, their place in the standard repertory even long after the WWII era concluded. The composers themselves had typically been forced to flee their countries of origin, were imprisoned in concentration and/or internment camps, and/or were murdered outright in the Shoah. Today this music still languishes in obscurity and remains largely unknown even amongst professional musicians and music educators.
This recording and concert project is part of the larger global effort amongst Suppressed music scholars to reinstate this deserving music into the standard classical repertoire. As other scholars have noted, though it took Hitler little more than a decade to remove many of Europe’s leading composers, it has taken generations to acknowledge, confront and repair the musical and cultural damage caused by their removal.
Dr. Suzanne Snizek began researching this rich vein of music in 2006, as a doctoral student at UBC-Vancouver. After receiving a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in 2011, Suzanne began teaching at UVic where she has taught a course called ‘Issues in Suppressed Music” and where she serves as the Professor of flute. Suzanne has been actively researching, teaching and performing this vast body of work for the past ten years; this recording and concert project is the culmination of this extensive study period.
Now, as the recipient of a UVic research and creative project grant, Suzanne is recording six musical works that illustrate the diversity and vitality of the musical styles and ideas that were being explored during that historical era.
Public Concert in Victoria:
Suzanne will be presenting three works from the recording project in a public concert on 27 June 2016 at 8 pm at the UVic School of Music Philip T Young recital hall.
The chamber music works performed in this concert have significant musical value: they are exceptionally well crafted, yet remain totally unknown to most contemporary musicians. By any musical measure, they are extremely well written pieces that deserve to be heard by audiences and studied, performed and promoted by contemporary musicians.
The concert programme for 27 June will be:
- Sonata for Flute and Piano by Leo Smit is an exceptionally beautiful piece of music and represents a major contribution to the Sonata repertory for flautists. Leo Smit (1900-1943), a talented Dutch composer of Jewish background, was murdered in Sobibor concentration camp. This stunning Sonata was his last composition, written just before he was arrested and deported to the camps. Smit’s musical language is strongly influenced by the French school known as Les Six, stemming from his contact with them in 1920’s Paris. There is only one existing recording of this excellent work.
- Sonata for Flute and Piano by Boris Blacher. German Boris Blacher was a composition student of Paul Hindemith. Blacher was viewed by the regime as politically suspect: he was of mixed parentage, he admired jazz and other “degenerate” styles, and had close personal ties with many Jewish people. Eventually he became involved in politically dissident actions and his career suffered. Taken together, he could be described as in “internal exile.” This unique Sonata features pervasive jazz rhythms and Hindemithian harmonic language. This mature work was written in 1940, before Blacher was forcibly removed from his teaching post in Dresden. This work has never been recorded.
- Trio for Flute, Violin and Viola by Jan van Gilse (1881-1944) was an active member of the Dutch resistance. His music was banned and destroyed during the Third Reich’s occupation of Holland. Van Gilse’s two sons were active in the Dutch resistance as well and both were ultimately executed for their political activity; shortly afterwards, van Gilse himself fell ill while in hiding. Admitted to hospital under an assumed identity, he was buried in an unmarked grave to protect those who had protected him during his illness. This exceptional trio is an unusually substantial chamber music work for the flute. It is more typical of the string trio genre in its seriousness, difficulty and musical weight, and is a ‘crowd pleaser’ in its sheer beauty and melodic richness. There is only one existing recording of this work.
Performers: Several leading Canadian musicians will be performing with Snizek on 27 June, including violist Keith Hamm, principal of the Canadian Opera Company; violinist Aaron Schwebel, the concert master of the National Ballet of Canada, and pianist Dr. Yoomi Kim, who is currently a faculty member at the Victoria Conservatory.
- WHEN: Monday, 27 June 2016 at 8 pm
- WHERE: Philip T Young Recital Hall, UVic School of Music.
- COST: Admission by Donation; suggested $15 general ; $5 for students/low income
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