The Holocaust

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This page covers two categories of music. The first is music written in concentration camps by victims of the holocaust. And the second is music inspired by the holocaust. Schoenberg evokes the horrors, Górecki and Williams offer hauntingly beautiful and mournful music.

Francesco Lotoro

Italian pianist and composer Francesco Lotoro has undertaken a remarkable project to recover thousands of works composed by victims of the holocaust.

A short video introducing Lotoro’s work in saving the music of the holocaust.

Schoenberg: A Survivor from Warsaw

This cantata is effectively a narration with an orchestral backing until the end. An atmospheric yet explicit description of the Holocaust, until the end, when a prayer is sung in Hebrew (see the libretto here).

Schoenberg: A Survivor from Warsaw

Górecki: Symphony No. 3 (Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs)

Górecki himself has played down the symphony’s connections with the Holocaust and war, but the origins of some of the words (scratched on the walls of a Gestapo cell) and his own history of losing family members during the Holocaust underpinned the public imagination behind the piece that made it such an extraordinary hit in the 1990s.

Górecki: Symphony No. 3 (Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs)

Bodorová: Terezín Ghetto Requiem

From Czech composer Sylvie Bodorová.

Bodorová: Terezín Ghetto Requiem (Video 1 of 2)

Williams: Theme from Schindler’s List

The haunting theme from Steven Spielberg’s film is played here by Itzhak Perlman.

Williams: Schindler’s List main theme

Szpilman: Little Ouverture

Or perhaps the only response is music that takes one to an entirely different place to the horrors of war. This piece is by Wladyslaw Szpilman (“The Pianist”), whose story was told in the film The Pianist.

Szpilman: Little Ouverture

Forward to Violins as Witnesses