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Holocaust Cantata: Songs From the Camps

Donald McCullough
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שאָטנס
(Leyb Rozental [Leib Rosenthal] / לײב ראָזענטאַל)
Stoi nocka
(Aleksander Kulisiewicz)
Hekatomba 1941
(Aleksander Kulisiewicz)


‎[1999]‎

holocaust

Cantata per coro misto (S.A.T.B), pianoforte e violoncello
Testi di canti e letture tratti in gran parte dall’archivio musicale “Aleksander Kulisiewicz” ‎dell’United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) di Washington, tradotti in inglese a ‎cura di Marcin Zmudzki e Denny Clark. [Riporto solo le parti cantate perché non ho trovato le parti ‎recitate complete, ndr]

‎1. The Prisoner Rises

Campo di concentramento nazista di Majdanek, 1943. Testo di prigioniero ignoto. Musica su ‎di una melodia militare.

The prisoner rises, straw rustles ‘round him,
Poor slave he rises, shell of a man,
Has coffee only, has nothing more
Because today’s bread ate he yesterday.‎

Our thoughts so somber, our hearts so mournful,
The time so hopeless, so full of dread
Of fires burning, the iron furnace,
That while alive our spirit’s flame burns out.‎

Fires are burning, fires do burn
That while alive our spirit’s flame burns out.‎


‎2. Song of the Polish Prisoners

Campo di concentramento nazista di Buchenwald, 1944. Testo di K. Wójtowicz, musica di J. ‎Kropinski.

Oh, what are these chains and these handcuffs to us?
Oh, what is this prison to us?
The strength of our spirits will conquer the tortures;
The suffering cannot o’erpower us!‎

When we are enwrapped in the banner of Poland,
Our strength is a dangerous foe.
We’ll not spare our lives, no, we’ll not spare our blood
To raise Poland up from her grave!‎

So many have withered in dark cells for us,
So many have perished for us.
To win or to die, oh, what else have we left?
We’ll not let them rule over us! ‎

When we are enwrapped in the banner of Poland,
Our strength is a dangerous foe.
We’ll not spare our lives, no, we’ll not spare our blood
To raise Poland up from her grave!‎


‎3. In Buchenwald

Campo di concentramento nazista di Buchenwald, 1944. Testo di K. Wójtowicz, musica di J. ‎Kropinski.

In Buchenwald the birch trees rustle sadly,
As my heart sways languishing in woe.
Then my soul sings a quiet song of pining,
On the wind my song is sent back home.‎

Then my song beckons to my country,
Land made fertile by her patriots’ blood!
I see the graves that scar the death-marked roadside,
Yes, I see them in dark dreams each night.‎

My song once told the stories of her forests,
Of her streams that once caressed me whole,
But now it sings of strange rocks that surround me,
Of cold skies that mock, deride my soul.‎

Then my song beckons to my country,
Sing of suffering ‘round the fire’s hearth!
Remembering all those prisoners of torment,
Dreaming in a world of wires and bars
In Buchenwald.‎


‎4. The Train

Campo di concentramento nazista di Brzezinka (Birkenau), 1944. Testo di prigioniero ignoto. ‎Musica di K. Zywulska.

Already rolling, puffing and blowing,
Already hearing the clatter taking her away,
Eyes last meet, gazing, hands gesture, waving,
Unspoken silent sorrow.
Running still beside the train in fool’s futility,
Farewell my love! Remember me!‎

Goodbye to eyes that once caressed me,
Farewell to love that owned my heart,
The dark hour’s on us, our fate is sealed,
I must forget you! Farewell my love!‎


‎5. The Striped Ones

1943. Canzone originariamente scritta da una donna nella prigione di Pasjak (tra Croazia e ‎Slovenia) e in seguito diventata l’inno delle donne prigioniere nel campo di Majdanek. Testo di Z. ‎Karpinska, musica su di una melodia popolare.

Their clothes veil the pride that now slumbers inside,
The boats [wooden shoes] on their feet murmur sighs,
They’re brothers and sisters, they’re husbands and wives,
The striped ones, the prisoners marked with stripes.
They’re brothers and sisters, they’re husbands and wives,
The striped ones, the prisoners marked with stripes.‎

The watch towers and sentinels, the barbed wire and gates
That cut off the world from their sight,
Cannot quell the hope that so patiently waits
For freedom to find its way inside.
Cannot quell the hope that so patiently waits
For freedom to find its way inside.‎

This time is the time when the day lives in night,
When fate’s hand knows no tender plight,
Let nothing divide us, let all here unite,
For we are the women marked with stripes.
Let nothing divide us, let all here unite,
For we are the women marked with stripes.‎


‎5. Tempo di tango

Campo di concentramento nazista di Buchenwald, 1944. Strumentale, composta da W. ‎Gazinski.


‎6. Song of Days Now Gone

Campo di concentramento nazista di Buchenwald, 1943, Testo e musica di J. ‎Kropinski.

Cello, play the sad song,
Song of agony and woe,
Song of bonds that still hold on,
Song of days now gone.
Let these memories gently fly
To their native countryside,
Through our sorrow, pain and tears,
Let the song play on.‎

Dreams of yore will not return,
Nor the reveries that burned,
Nor the nectar of sweet lips,
Nor these longing eyes!
Cello, play the sad song,
Song of pining, pain and tears,
Song remembering dreams of love
And of days now gone.‎

Play! Play! Cello, play!
Song of days now gone.‎


‎7. Passacaille for Cello and Piano

Strumentale, composta nel 1946 da Szymon ‎Laks, compositore e violinista polacco, direttore dell’orchestra dei prigionieri del campo di ‎Birkenau-Auschwitz.


‎8. Even When God Is Silent

Testo di autore ignoto, trovato dai soldati alleati a Colonia, scritto sul muro di una stanza che ‎servì da nascondiglio di ebrei tedeschi perseguitati dai nazisti. Musica del compositore americano ‎Michael Horvit (1988).

I believe in the sun even when it is not shining.
I believe in love even when feeling it not.
I believe in God even when God is silent.‎


‎9. A Child’s Journey

Testo del poeta israeliano Yaakov Barzilai, tradotto dall’originale ebraico da Shulamit ‎Friedman.‎
Musica del compositore americano Michael Horvit.


An Accidental Meeting


Fifty years ago
when all the trains
traveled toward one destination
my mother introduced me
to God
He joined us - on our journey.‎

I Once Had A Friend


I once had a friend
a symbol of cleanliness
who even defeated the lice.
One day,
he was taken to the shower
and never again
did I see him
clean.‎

There Are No Stars in The Sky


‎“Why are there no stars in the sky?”
The children of God inquired,
‎“ And why even lamps do not shine there either?”
The children repeatedly wondered.
‎“ And if there are no stars
or lamps
then, how can God see
when we wash in the shower?”
‎“ He does not see in the dark”
the angels responded.
And it was the truth,
when the faucets were open
that God did not see
they did not have water
And never again
did the children ask
‎“ Why?”‎


‎10. Is Not a Flower a Mystery?

Testo del rabbino americano Chaim Stern. Musica di Donald McCullough.

Is not a flower a mystery no flower can explain?
Is not God the growing, the pattern which
has no end and is never quite the same?
Is not God in the heart that sees it and weeps for beauty?
Why, then, God, this mystery:
that bombs fall
and the sprays kill
and the flames rise
and the children go up in smoke?
Why is there still a flower to remind us of You?
Why does the sun still burn to give us life?
How do we still turn to You?
Why cannot we help but turn to You,
But why, why do we turn to you so late?‎


‎11. We Remember Them

Ispirata ad una preghiera composta negli anni 60 dai rabbini americani Sylvan Kamens e Jack ‎Riemer.‎
Musica di Donald McCullough.


In the rising of the sun and in its going down, we remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them.‎

In the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.
In the blueness of the sky and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.‎

In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, we remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them.‎

When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them.‎
When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them.

So as long as we live they too shall live,
For they are now a part of us as we remember them.‎

inviata da Bartleby - 21/11/2011 - 13:36


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