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Kurt Weill Newsletter


John Axelrod and the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, together with Nimbus Records and executive producer Michael Haas, have produced an album of three twentieth-century works, meditations upon death and mourning written by Jewish composers. The album’s title derives from Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3—with a new text by Samuel Pisar, which substitutes a personal response to the Holocaust for Bernstein’s original meditation on religion in modern life (without ameliorating any of the problems that led Bernstein to seek a new text in the first place). The liner notes for this recording misrepresent Arnold Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw as a realistic account of the Ghetto Uprising rather than a largely imaginative recreation and thus also its place in the history of art inspired by the Holocaust. And, of course, Weill’s Berliner Requiem has nothing to do with the Holocaust at all. Yet all three works have been pressed into service as Holocaust memorials, and it appears that those responsible for the project have failed to grasp the particular aesthetic and ethical questions that confront those who wish to represent the Holocaust in art.


This published version is made available on Dickinson Scholar with the permission of the publisher. For more information on the published version, visit The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music's Website.

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