More than a decade ago music lovers had access to a fascinating and very necessary recording project. It was called "Entartete Musik" ("Degenerate Music") , the epithet Hitler and Goebbels gave to music written by Jews or by non-Jews that didn't correspond to the dictates of National Socialism, which corresponded (oh paradox) to those of Communism, theoretically opposed: simple, melodic music at the service of the masses. In fact, Stalinist and Hitlerist music differed little, in their directness and simplicity being quite behind the evolution of music history. Great composers forced to conform did a decent job in political works written under duress in Stalin's regime (Shostakovich, Prokofiev in some of their scores), but little or nothing has surfaced of the work of "Hitlerist" composers, unless you think (I don't) that Carl Orff in "Carmina Burana" was an example. I believe in documentation, and I think that a selection of forgotten "Hitlerist" music would be interesting to know, so that with 60 or 70 years of "telescoped" vision we could have a right to judge them, as we can with films of that period (there have been cycles at the MALBA of films of the Hitler period). I think that good history provides honest documentation on every side. And I say it as an absolute anti-Hitler and –Stalin person.
The recorded series I mentioned was a revelation, for we got to know, e..g., such interesting composers as Schulhoff, Ullmann, Neuenfels and Eisler. But none of that was heard in our concerts. The gap has been finally filled with a series of AMIJAI concerts called "The forbidden sounds" , brilliantly planned and conceived by Haydée Francia and Barbara Civita. I consider them among the outsanding experiences of the year and I'm sorry I could attend only two of the four. They were excellent, as I suppose with a lot of confidence were the others.
In the first night carefully chosen first-rate players gave us what I believe was a total programme of premieres, although this wasn't specified. It was called Prague/Terezin and a terrible fact affected all six composers: they all died in concentration camps. But their music doesn't show it; the pieces included are all non-narrative and generally not anguished. Gideon Klein was a Moravian who lived only 26 years (1919-45); His very interesting String Trio was written at Terezin, a concentration camp
The Suite op.17 for oboe and piano (1939) by Pavel Haas (1899-1944) is pleasant and well written; it was played rather reticently by Natalia Silipo and brilliantly by Pérez. Finally, an attractive "Theme and variations" for string quartet (1936) by Hans Krása (1899-1944) in a rather Postromantic mood was very well played by Roggero, Roberto Calomarde, Ridolfi and Castro.
I couldn't hear the second concert, called Berlin, were the main score was Schreker's Chamber Symphony and the programme included works by Mendelssohn, Krenek and Hindemith. The third was dedicated mainly to the Vienna School. It started with Mahler only chamber work, his Quartet movement for piano and strings, moody , rather Schumannian music written at 18-years-old, nicely played by Haydée Seibert (violin), Verónica D'Amore (viola), Castro (cello) and Alicia Belleville (piano). Then we had magisterial interpretations by Antonio Formaro of two seminal pieces by Schoenberg (6 small pieces op.19) and Berg (Sonata op.1), clearly epigrammatic atonal 1911 music the first and extreme Postromantic the second, written in 1908-
I was particularly sorry to miss the fascinating fourth concert, "The cabaret", where, produced by Daniel Suárez Marzal, Víctor Torres sang Schoenberg's "Brettl-Lieder", Susanna Moncayo did pieces by Svenk, A. Strauss, Kálmán, Roman and Raymond, and Alejandro Meerapfel sang Berlin cabaret songs by Eisler, Dessau, Hollander and Weill.
There was an important complement to this series, a valuable concert by the National Symphony under Pedro Calderón, where, apart from Torres's fine singing of Mahler's "Kindertotenlieder" (a bit weak in the low tones), we heard premieres from Schreker, Eisler and Schulhoff at the Facultad de Derecho (UBA). Franz Schreker' "Fantastic Overture" (1903-4) is Postromantic and diffuse; Hanns Eisler (1898-1962) extracted the iconoclastic Suite op. 23 from his music for the film "Opus III" by Walter Rutmannn; it's fun to hear. Schulhoff's First Symphony (1925) is a serious, well-wrought score. All was played and conducted with commitment.
For Buenos Aires Herald