New Budapest Orpheum Society: "Every Voice of Comfort Pierced My Heart"

Artwork from "Lieder des Ghetto" (Songs of the Ghetto)

November 10, 2019 | 3:00PM
Fulton Recital Hall

“Every Voice of Comfort Pierced My Heart” — The New Budapest Orpheum Society Commemorates Kristallnach

The New Budapest Orpheum Society

Julia Bentley, mezzo-soprano
Philip V. Bohlman, artistic director and commentary
Jim Cox, bass violin
Stewart Figa, baritone
Danny Howard, percussion
Iordanka Kissiova, violin
Ilya Levinson, arrangements, piano, and musical director
Don Stille, accordion

When synagogues and Jewish shops across Germany were systematically burned and the material culture of German Jews were destroyed on Kristallnacht – the Night of Broken Glass, November 9, 1938 – the full force of anti-Semitism and the violence that would transform it into the final stages of the Shoah were unleashed. With this afternoon of commemoration in Fulton Hall the New Budapest Orpheum Society, the ensemble-in-residence of the Humanities Division, gathers songs of remembrance and resistance to give voice to the Jewish lives that were driven from Germany and, in the aftermath of Kristallnacht, from elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe. Of even greater significance are the voices of those who did not survive, but whose struggle and dignity are present in the Jewish music of survival. During the course of this commemoration performance, the ensemble weaves testimonies from the witnesses to Kristallnacht into the narrative of the program, again enhancing the voices that were not silenced. The repertory of commemoration ranges from folk song to art song, songs of exile and songs of survival, the music of sacrifice and the music of redemption, with compositions by Paul Dessau, Mordechai Gebirtig, Ilya Levinson, Darius Milhaud, and singer-songwriters from diverse European cabaret scenes.