Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Vedem Songs

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Vedem Songs

Article excerpt

Lori Laitman (b. 1955), Vedem Songs. Six songs for mezzo soprano and tenor, clarinet and piano. Enchanted Knickers Music, publisher, 2011. Available through Classical Vocal Reprints. "Memories of Prague" (poet, Petr Ginz) (E^-BS, oss/a); "Five" (poet, Hanus Hachenburg) (C3-G4); "Just a Little Warmth" (poet, Zdenek Ornest) (DVAS); "Thoughts" (poet, Hanus Hachenburg) (D3-B^); "Love in the Floodgates" (Josef Taussig) (G3-B^); "Farewell to Summer" (Zdenek Ornest) (Bs-Gs).

Vedem Songs was commissioned and premiered by Music of Remembrance in 2011 in Seattle, Washington. This is a solo song version of an earlier oratorio. Vedem is a beautiful and varied set of songs using texts by Petr Ginz, Hanus Haschenburg, Zdenek Ornest, and Josef Taussig, all teenage boys who were prisoners in the Terezin concentration camp. These brave children created the magazine Vedem, and the texts included here express their experiences in the camp.

Vedem magazine editor Petr Ginz was the author of the first song text, a lyric tribute to the city of Prague, Ginz's home, sung by the mezzo. The vocal writing is graceful and soaring in the first section. The second, shorter section is a dirge, where the singer contrasts the earlier rhapsodic words about the beauty of Prague with its current state, "like a beast I am, imprisoned in a tiny cage." The voice remains primarily in the middle register, but with frequent forays above the staff, and is definitely suitable for a lyric mezzo voice, which lies best in a higher tessitura. "Five," the second song, is sung by the tenor, and begins with a rollicking five note motive in the piano with sharp interjections by the clarinet, and a five bar motivic phrase throughout. The quick moving and exuberant vocal line is of a medium tessitura, and belies the frightening comparison of the prisoners of the camp with "five novels, sewn up in a sack. …

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