USA: “Forbidden Voices” – Jewish songs banned by Nazis revived



Jewish songs banned by Nazis revived

World premiere of “Forbidden Voices” — recently discovered songs by Jewish composers which were banned by Nazis in the 1930’s

By Emma Krasov

On April 23, 2006, the musical event “Forbidden Voices” will be performed in San Francisco Bay Area by internationally renowned soprano Judith Sheridan and pianist Craig Combs, intertwined with spoken historical notes about the composers and their plight during the Nazi regime in Germany.

In April 1933, shortly after coming to power, the Nazi government began to remove all non-Aryans from the civil service. In effect, all Jewish employees were to be removed from public life, including musicians from German orchestras and opera houses. Some of the Jewish composers immigrated to other countries, where they were able to continue writing and achieved recognition for their work. Others were silenced forever in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Much of their music has been forgotten.

“In order to rewrite musical history, we must bring the songs of composers banned by the Nazis to a wider audience, so that the voices of these remarkable forbidden composers may once again be heard,” said soprano Judith Sheridan who performs the songs accompanied by the pianist Craig Combs.

The Berlin Cabaret is one of the topics that will be explored during the performance. Cabaret became one of the first victims of Nazi terror. Some writers and performers were arrested and taken to concentration camps, some committed suicide, and others left Germany for America or other parts of Europe.
“We are honored to bring this special programme to the San Francisco Bay Area in its world premiere performance. Participants will gain an insightful overview of the powerful spirit of the Jewish artistic community during this dark period,” said Marshall Mitzman, the event chair and a member of the Board of Directors of the Chabot College Foundation. The event is a benefit for the Chabot College Foundation.

Judith Sheridan has a personal connection to the dark era. Her father was one of the last Jewish students to study at Hamburg University before the Nazi occupation forced him to flee.
There are no biographies of these composers because they were banned and their music was withdrawn, and a lot of music was burned.
“Because of the war, people had other concerns in rebuilding their lives and rebuilding Europe. They just literally sank from people’s consciousness,” says Judith Sheridan.
In the early 1980’s, while studying at the Opera Studio in Hamburg, Germany, she stumbled upon the music of composers such as Franz Schreker, Berthold Goldschmidt, Erwin Schulhoff and Pavel Haas.
Sheridan has since devoted years to researching the work of a generation of Jewish composers who were banned from Nazi Germany in the 1930s, and intends to revive their music and tell their stories in a series of international performances.

This article was published by Castro Valley Forum and is republished with permission from the author.

Click to see enlarged
Promotional poster.
© Chabot College Foundation

Soprano singer Judith Sheridan.

Photo: © Chabot College Foundation

Pianist Craig Combs.
Photo: © Chabot College Foundation


Castro Valley Forum – 21 March 2006:
‘Music Banned by Nazis Revived at Chabot Premiere’

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لماذا تخضع الموسيقى للرقابة؟

قد تتساءل عن سبب فرض الرقابة على الموسيقى. أو لماذا يتم تعذيب الموسيقيين، واعتقالهم، ونفيهم أو حتى قتلهم. أو لماذا تم اسكات بعض أنواع الموسيقى؟

قد يكون الجواب بنفس بساطة ما قاله الموسيقي الجنوب إفريقي جوني كليج: “الرقابة وليدة الخوف.”

ان الموسيقى تعبير حر عن الأفكار، والتقاليد والعواطف للأفراد والشعوب. قد تعبر عن آمال الموسيقيين وطموحاتهم، وأفراحهم وأحزانهم، وهويتهم الثقافية. إلا أن هذا التعبير قد يتعارض مع طموحات الأشخاص في مراكز القوى. ان الأفكار بذاتها قد لا تحظى بشعبية ببساطة، أو قد تكون خارجة عن مجرى التفكير الحالي أو ممارسات نظام الحكم أو مجموعة ذات مصالح خاصة. لأن هناك أناسا يخافون من مجرد تبادل الأفكار الحر. وهناك أولئك الذين لا يتهاونون بإستخدام أي اسلوب للقمع.

لقد تم فرض رقابة على الموسيقى من قبل الدول، والأديان، والانظمة التعليمية، ومجموعات الضغط – الذين هم في معظم الحالات ينتهكون الاتفاقيات الدولية لحقوق الإنسان.