Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Book Review: "'As Alphabet of Soldiers': Jake Heggie's Farewell, Auschwitz," by Lori Jo Guy

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Book Review: "'As Alphabet of Soldiers': Jake Heggie's Farewell, Auschwitz," by Lori Jo Guy

Article excerpt

Guy, Lori Jo. " 'An Alphabet of Soldiers': Jake Heggie's Farewell, Auschwitz." DMA Dissertation, The University of Southern Mississippi, 2017, 74 pages; ProQuest 1883363242.

"For the past 18 years, the non-profit organization Music of Remembrance has worked to remember the Holocaust through concerts, education events, and by recording and commissioning new works. One such work, entitled Farewell, Auschwitz, premiered in May of 2013.

Farewell, Auschwitz is a unique composition for several reasons. One reason is that the poetry for the songs was adapted from lyrics written by Krystyna Żywulska, a Polish Jew, imprisoned at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. In the camp, she began creating poetry and songs in reaction to the horror that surrounded her. Her poetry is a commentary on the daily life, observations of the camp, and historical documentation.

Mina Miller, founder and current Artistic Director of Music of Remembrance, introduced Jake Heggie and his librettist Gene Scheer to the writings of Krystyna Żywulska. Their first work together was a dramatic song cycle for soprano entitled Another Sunrise. This song cycle told of the day-to-day fight of Krystyna Żywulska to stay alive amidst the horrors of the concentration camp. For their next composition, Miller suggested that Heggie and Scheer take the song lyrics Żywulska had written for another prisoner and create new musical settings. Scheer adapted the poetry and Heggie composed the music for this gripping work for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, and chamber ensemble. …

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