This program celebrates a selection of unheard treasures from the JTS music archives, as well as the one-hundredth birthday of Herman Berlinski (z"l), whose collection is housed at JTS.
Most of the composers you will hear this evening are primarily known for their work in the realm of synagogue music. The careers of these cantors, organists, and choir directors, however, were not bound solely to sacred music. Their chamber music compositions reflect the complex and changing identities of German Jews, with their increasing orientation toward Western culture and art music of the time, particularly toward German literature, culture, and nationalism. Indeed, most of these composers saw little difficulty in reconciling their visible public membership in the Jewish community with their role in the larger musical and cultural life of their respective home cities.
In a larger context, the selection of tonight's chamber music traces the history and development of Jewish music from the Age of Enlightenment to emigration following Hitler's rise to power in 1933. The majority of the works being performed are U.S. premieres.
Vienna's first chief cantor, Salomon Sulzer (1804–1890), was the first Jewish composer, after Salamone Rossi in the early seventeenth century, to produce a significant repertory of Jewish (liturgical) works in the styles of Western art music. But unlike Rossi, who had no immediate impact on subsequent generations, Sulzer brought into motion a musical development with a lasting effect on Jewish music inside and outside the synagogue. He reformed liturgy and music at Vienna's City Temple, thus creating the foundation for the Viennese rite, which influenced cantors all over the world. Sulzer himself described his work in the preface to his collection of liturgical compositions, Schir Zion I (1840), specifically detailing how he had cleared away centuries of unnecessary additions to the Jewish worship service and restored it to its original beauty by arranging the "old national melodies . . . according to the rules of art." These "rules of art" refer to making the music sound composed rather than improvised, subjecting them to the major-minor tonality and phrasing of Viennese classicism, and arranging the melodies for four-part chorus. Thus Sulzer's arrangements went hand in hand with the aesthetics urban Jews were acquiring through mingling with the non-Jewish population. Furthermore, Sulzer commissioned non-Jewish composers to contribute to Schir Zion, the most known of whom was Franz Schubert. Beyond this, Sulzer maintained strong ties to the secular world outside the synagogue and befriended Franz Liszt, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Niccolò Paganini, and Robert Schumann. Known for his excellent voice, Sulzer gave public concerts until 1837, when the board of the Jewish community of Vienna prohibited such activities. Thereafter Sulzer continued to occasionally perform lieder for semi-public or private functions, and even secretly in public. On one occasion, rumor has it, Schubert asked him to sing Der Wanderer three times in succession.
Considering all this, it is not surprising that Sulzer also composed secular songs. His Opus 1, "Anliegen" (Desire), published by Diabelli in the early 1840s, points to his lesser-known secular engagement as interpreter and composer of lieder. It is based on a popular text by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe that had been set to music by other composers before, most notably Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1752-1814). "Anliegen" is a simple piano song that draws upon established compositional techniques, such as word painting (expression of text through musical gestures) and parlando (a speech-like technique). Its musical language is distinctly influenced by the style of early Romanticism of the generation of Schubert, Schumann, and Felix Mendelssohn. Sulzer dedicated the song to Nanette Edle von Wertheimstein, the wife of a Jewish trader and banker.
Most of Sulzer's sixteen children pursued careers in music primarily outside of the synagogue. His daughters Marie Belart (1828–1892) and Henriette Biacchi (1831–1907) were both celebrated opera singers and performed internationally, and his oldest and youngest sons, Julius and Joseph, composed a wide variety of secular and sacred pieces. Julius Sulzer (1834–1891), a brilliant violinist, pianist, and conductor, began his musical education with his father and initially followed in his footsteps. He contributed three noteworthy compositions to his father's Schir Zion, and in 1858 became cantor at the new Leopoldstadt Temple. A year later, he changed position to become choir director at the same temple, reportedly because of his lack of competence (or perhaps interest). After complaints about mismanaged funds, missed rehearsals, tardiness, abusing the choir boys, and taunting the cantors, he was fired in 1862-much to the dismay of his father. Parallel to his work at the Leopoldstadt Temple, Julius had already established himself as a more or less successful composer of secular music. The Wiener Musikverein performed some of his pieces in 1861, among them Preghiera (Prayer) for horn with piano accompaniment. Heavy criticism of his skills led Julius Sulzer to leave Vienna to work as kapellmeister at different theaters throughout Europe-he went as far as Constantinople. During this time, Julius composed a number of pieces for voice and piano, as well as the operas Johanna von Neapel (1865) and Held Michael (1869), and a requiem. In 1875, he returned permanently to Vienna and assumed the position of choirmaster at the Hofburg Theater.
Julius Sulzer's "Die junge Nonne" (The Young Nun) for voice and piano is somewhat reminiscent of a work by Schubert, in that the celebrated composer had written a song by the same name (albeit using a different poem). Julius set a text by Emanuel Geibel, whose poetry was most frequently used in nineteenth-century song. Published posthumously in the first decade of the twentieth century, the song follows the style of the Romantic period. Julius uses the format of an extended ballad with interspersed recitatives that carry a recurring sad motif. While he relies on minor tonalities in the first two stanzas, he changes occasionally to the brighter major: for instance, in the third stanza when the cloistered maiden describes her longing for freedom, and in the last stanza when referring to the waves of the sea, an image that is supported by the broken chords in the low registers of the piano. Compared to the famous Schubert song, Julius Sulzer's version is simpler and the piano part has less dramatic function.
The first piece of Drei Fantasiestücke (Three Fantasy Pieces), Andante espressivo, is part of a number of instrumental miniatures and other shorter works written by Julius Sulzer. As was the style in nineteenth-century piano fantasies, the Andante espressivo is full of imagination and freely introduces a number of ideas with contrasts in tempo and figuration. Following the conventions of the time, Julius recapitulates the opening idea at the end in a majestic fashion.
The second piece from Lieder ohne Worte (Songs Without Words), Opus 22, Allegretto con abbandono, brings to mind Mendelssohn's collection of forty-eight pieces by the same name, yet it is by no means epigonal. While being poetic and lyrical, the Allegretto con abbandono mixes two types of "Songs Without Words": it begins with a solo song featuring a simple, almost plaintive melody that flows more or less continuously over a partly offbeat accompaniment in uniform figuration, and alternates with more instrumental passages, only to return to the opening theme. Julius Sulzer was not the only one inspired by Mendelssohn's "songs." Composers who produced similar sets of pieces include Edvard Grieg, Ignaz Moscheles, and Anton Rubinstein.
Salomon Sulzer's youngest son, Joseph Sulzer (1850–1926), emerged in 1869 from the Vienna Conservatory as one of Carl Schlesinger's best pupils. A gifted cellist, Joseph toured throughout Europe until 1871, and spent a brief period in Bucharest as professor at the music conservatory before returning to his native city in 1873. There he was appointed by the Vienna Court Opera, accompanying opera performances and playing at the Vienna Philharmonic concerts, but was fired in 1877 for his tardiness. After years of illness, brought on by overexertion, Joseph was rehired by the Vienna Court Opera as a soloist and invited to join the Philharmonic. In subsequent years, he collaborated with renowned composers, including Johannes Brahms, Anton Bruckner, and Franz Liszt. Joseph continued his father's professional pattern by combining active participation in secular musical culture with leadership within the liturgical tradition of the Jewish community, particularly the Turkish Temple, which he served after its inauguration in 1887. It was he who expanded, edited, and added instrumentations to the last edition of his father's Schir Zion.
Joseph Sulzer wrote a good number of compositions and arrangements for the violoncello. His Sarabande, Opus 8, an air on the G string, was first published in 1888. Formerly one of the most popular of Baroque instrumental dances and a standard movement of the suite, the sarabande again gained popularity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, appearing in instrumental works by mainly French composers. Joseph's piece draws upon the sarabande's slow tempo and characteristic rhythm with emphasis on the second beat, while adding greater lyricism and expression. Arrangements of the piece have been performed and recorded by violinists Mischa Elman and Fritz Kreisler, among others, and by violist Lionel Tertis.
Toward the end of the eighteenth century, the Habsburg monarchy, under Joseph II, whose attitude toward Jews was benevolent, began to grant substantial rights to the Jewish people, a development that continued under Ferdinand I, who was distinctly resistant to anti-Semitism and in an official proclamation granted Jews equal rights. Thus, many Jews felt loyal to the empire and fought for Austria in the Revolutions of 1848. Salomon Sulzer, who like many others lived a dual identity as observant Jew and Austrian citizen, was naturally affected by the political events of the time as well. Politically he was a progressive who mounted guard on the barricades and was briefly jailed in 1848. During the Revolutions of 1848, he enthusiastically composed revolutionary songs with the astounding titles of: "Song of the Death's Head Division" (oddly enough, the concept of "death's head" would become closely associated with the Nazi SS organization); "Song of the National Guard"; "Long Live the Emperor!"; and others. The patriotic "Tyroler Lied" for solo tenor and male chorus, also of 1848, was widely distributed and belonged to the most popular of Salomon Sulzer's secular works. His opus magnum, Schir Zion, is no exception. As if to create a mirror image to the contributions by non-Jewish composers to Schir Zion I, Salomon harmonized the imperial anthem "God Preserve the Emperor" (written by Joseph Haydn around 1797) in Schir Zion II (1865) as "Volkshymne," with the words of the Hebrew text of Psalm 21, verses 5-8. As such, the Vienna City Temple included it in the Sabbath service, much in the same way that, today, many synagogues add a prayer for the United States and for the leaders of the government. Salomon's use of a Hebrew psalm in his setting resonates with the optimism and security of the integrated nineteenth-century Jews in Vienna. For the modern listener, it may be an acute irony that the German national anthem has intermittently used the same melody since 1841.
Following Salomon Sulzer, Louis Lewandowski (1821-1894) revolutionized synagogue music in the German lands. However, his background and position as a composer was rather different. Lewandowski was the first cantor ever to receive formal conservatory training and the first Jewish student ever admitted to the Berlin Academy of Arts. Born in Poland, he had moved to Berlin at the age of twelve to escape the extreme poverty of his family and the early demise of his mother. By some twist of fate, he received the patronage of Alexander Mendelssohn, a cousin of the famed composer. Lewandowski showed great promise as a composer in the field of secular music. Among his early works are songs, string quartets, and symphonies. A serious nervous condition, however, changed his path and after four years of being barely able to work, he reoriented himself toward synagogue music. In 1844, the Jewish community of Berlin invited Lewandowski to organize and lead a choir, thus making him one of the first synagogue choirmasters; he also worked as cantor at the synagogue on Heidereutergasse, and in 1864 was hired as music director and choirmaster at one of Berlin's most important synagogues, the New Synagogue at Oranienburger Straße. Parallel to his work as a synagogue musician, Lewandowski continued composing. In addition to his collections Kol Rinnah u-Tefillah and Todah ve-Zimrah-still standard repertoires in many synagogues today-he also continued, if only occasionally, to compose secular music. Given his full integration into German society, it may not be surprising that, in his oeuvre, we find patriotic songs paying tribute to the German Confederation and motivated by the political events of the time, among them "The German Borders"; "The Allies," Opus 7; and "Hurrah! The German Flag to German Heroes," Opus 16.
The "Deutsches Landwehrlied" (Song of the German Infantry), Opus 17, was composed in 1866, a pivotal year both personally and historically. For one thing, Lewandowski took up his position at the New Synagogue and the German government bestowed upon him the title of royal musical director. For another, in June 1866, the Seven Weeks War (also known as Austro-Prussian War) broke out. It ended in a Prussian victory, which meant the exclusion of Austria from Germany. The text of Lewandowski's song reflects upon wartime, the eagerness to defend the fatherland, the optimism to prevail over Austria, and the fear of France, which in the end abstained from this war. Musically, the piece is simple, with the piano part resembling a military march and with strong repetitive rhythms and fanfares. The vocal part is lyrical; it follows the melodic construction of Romanticism with slight chromaticism.
When the German Jews were granted legal equality in the constitution of the Second Reich in 1871, their bond to Germany as an empire and nation tightened, a development that would reach its peak by the early twentieth century. The outbreak of World War I was a time that affected the German Jews in their patriotic feelings the most. A higher percentage of German Jews fought in the war than that of any other ethnic, religious, or political group in Germany-in fact, some 12,000 died for their country. Musically, the heightened sense of patriotism of the German Jews found expression in new compositions, concerts organized in tribute to fallen soldiers, and fund-raising and awareness.
The life and work of the Wuppertal cantor Hermann Zivi (1867-1943) embodies most clearly this Jewish acculturation. Yet, it also reveals the homogenous coexistence of two worlds: Germanness and Jewishness. On the surface, Zivi seemed an ordinary cantor. Born in Baden (South Germany), his education at the Grand-Ducal Teacher's College in Karlsruhe and later at the Hoch'sches Conservatory in Frankfurt am Main was geared toward sacred service. When he was hired as cantor by the Wuppertal Jewish community in 1898, he not only served them, he also became a highly esteemed citizen and composer of the community. In 1910, Zivi contributed a "Festival Anthem" for the tricentennial of the suburb of Elberfeld and conducted the choral piece during its premier performance on July 30, 1910, in front of an audience of more than 10,000 people. In honor of his service, he received a silver bowl from the municipality. In contrast, Zivi also wrote several compositions for the Jewish liturgy, particularly with a view to smaller congregations, and composed the first-ever symphony using Jewish themes-a pioneering achievement. Zivi's diverse work and his integration into the musical life of Wuppertal exemplify the political and social status of Jews at the beginning of the twentieth century: In spite of the first stirrings of anti-Semitism, Jews were indeed citizens endowed with equal rights, and Judaism was an accepted religion. That Zivi identified himself to the same degree with Judaism as with the German Empire is evident in the two "prayers": "Protect Our German Forces, Musical Setting of a War-Time Prayer for Children" (1915) and "God Save the Emperor: Prayer for Emperor and Empire" (1916), both written in response to World War I.
Zivi composed and dedicated "Schütze unser deutsches Heer: Ein Kriegsgebet für unsere Kleinen von Helene Kocks" (Protect Our German Forces: Musical Setting of a War-Time Prayer for Children by Helene Kocks) for German youth and offered the net proceeds to the war relief effort-from today's perspective an almost implausible deed, but in the context of history an act of true patriotism. The short piece resembles a children's song, with its rhyming text, short musical phrases, and large number of melody repetitions; the piano doubles the vocal line and accompanies colla voce.
The tribute to the German Emperor Wilhelm II, "Gott sei des Kaisers Schutz" (God Save the Emperor), connotes several layers of nationalism. The first stanza of the text is a German translation of the former Russian national anthem (from 1833 to 1917), while further verses were added by Dr. Herbert Schmidt (1815-1880). Included in several songbooks, most notably the Feuerwerker-Liederbuch of 1883 and the Deutsches Lautenlied of 1914, the text and different melodies were widely distributed throughout German schools and singing societies, and are known to have been sung on the Emperor's birthday. Hermann Zivi replaced the melody written by the Russian general and composer Alexis von Lwoff (1791-1870) with an entirely new arrangement while maintaining the anthem style. The piece features a stately rhythmic tread and smooth melodic movement.
In the aftermath of World War I, music reflected the divergent developments in Jewish life during the Weimar Republic. On the one hand, conversion and intermarriage reached a peak, leading to the closest possible encounter between Jewish and non-Jewish society; on the other, a full Jewish life flourished. Music by Jewish composers of the time was inspired by different ideologies and traditions: religious and non-religious, Orthodox and liberal, Zionist, a synthesis of German and Jewish identity, and the desire of some to detach from the Jewish community altogether. Secularity coexisted with a strengthened Jewish identity of a national and cultural nature. Heinrich Schalit (1886-1976) perhaps most clearly embodies the intersection of these many developments.
Born in Vienna, Schalit studied composition and piano with the influential Josef Labor (who also taught Alma Schindler Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, and Paul Wittgenstein), and voice with chief cantor Josef Singer, the successor to Salomon Sulzer at Vienna's City Temple. In 1903, Schalit resumed his studies in composition and voice at the conservatory. Following his first successes as a composer of secular music (he won prizes for his piano quartet of 1906), he moved to Munich in 1907 to seek new professional challenges. In 1910, Schalit spent a semester studying organ at Munich's Royal Academy of Music. The carnage and privations of World War I and the rise of Zionism profoundly affected him, and between 1916 and 1920, he began feeling the call to compose Jewish music. Schalit was motivated by the political events of the time (during World War I, anti-Semitism began to increase dramatically) and the recognition that his possibilities as a composer were somewhat limited. He himself defined the year 1916 as a turning point, and as the "beginning of a creative period of music with Jewish content and Jewish character."
The piano work Phantasie, Zwischenspiel und Doppelfuge über das Wort S-C-H-A-D-E! (Fantasia, Interlude and Double Fugue on the Word "Pity!"), Opus 13, was composed in 1916 on the verge of Schalit's self-identification as a "Jewish composer." The fantasia is a virtuoso piece that concludes what Schalit called his "Romantic period." It follows the fashion of twentieth-century fantasias, with retrospective forms and themes based on chorales or names (B-A-C-H), however, in a more playful, perhaps almost mocking, manner. Humor swings in its theme of "pity"; yet there is also an ironic undertone that perhaps expresses Schalit's feelings about giving up his secular career.
The Jewish community of Munich hired Schalit in 1927 as organist and music director. With this position, he began to transform his desideratum to integrate Jewish music into modern music, to make it traditional yet original. He never returned to composing secular music devoid of Jewish subtexts.
Contrary to Schalit, Hugo Chaim Adler (1894-1955) was rooted in synagogue music from an early age. Born in Antwerp as son of a hazzan, his path led from Hamburg and Cologne to Mannheim, where he served as cantor at the main synagogue from 1922 until his emigration to the United States in 1939. As cantor and teacher, he became known as the primary moving force in religious and musical activities. He conducted a number of different choirs and instrumental ensembles at the synagogue and became involved with the Lehrhaus movement, an adult academy dedicated to Jewish studies of the highest intellectual standard. Synagogue music, especially, provided a form of expression that allowed him to develop his style as a composer. Parallel to his work at the synagogue, he studied composition at the Mannheim Conservatory with Ernst Toch from 1924 to 1926-an important step in his development as a composer. His Zehn Lieder (Ten Songs), Opus 19, for voice and piano, composed during the 1920s and 1930s, correspond to the spirit of Zionism and of the Weimar Jews with their new attachment to eastern European culture, which was deemed more authentic. The songs also reveal influences of his teacher in their application of contemporary European compositional techniques. The "Märchen von einem Stein" (Legend of the Stone) is based on a poem by one of the first Zionists, Theodor Ziocisti; and "Schneider, Schuster, Krämer" (Tailor, Cobbler, Grocer) uses a traditional folk song. Adler based the "Wiegenlied" (Lullaby) on a text by the Zionist poet Berthold Feiwel in 1928, in honor the birth of his son, Samuel, who became a leading composer in his own right (the theme of his father's lullaby appears in his own 1984 Piano Concerto, written for the National Symphony in memory of his mother). The folk character of the poems is maintained in Hugo Adler's clear and simple settings, which reject the sentimentality of late Romanticism and the emotional agitation of expressionism. The songs show the influence of Toch in that they follow New Objectivity in music, making use of traditional forms and stable structures, together with modern dissonance and extended tonality.
Analogous to Schalit, Herbert Fromm (1905-1995) had first embarked on a secular career in music, supported by a family that cherished the arts. When an injury forced him to quit his plans to become a concert pianist, Fromm devoted himself to composing and conducting. From 1925 to 1928 he studied composition at the State Academy of Music in Munich and subsequently took master classes in composition and conducting. Fromm was rising as a kapellmeister at the municipal theaters of Bielefeld and Würzburg when, in 1933, the Nazi government called for the dismissal of Jewish employees in the public realm. Subsequently, his career took a sharp turn. To support himself, Fromm began working as an organist at various synagogues in Central Germany, thus shifting into the realm of sacred music. At the same time, he became active in the Jüdischer Kulturbund (Jewish Cultural League), an institution created by unemployed Jewish performers with the consent of the Nazis.
The events of the Kulturbund, for an exclusively Jewish audience closed to the general public, guaranteed Jewish artists and cultural figures an art scene (though segregated) of their own, thus providing the only artistic opportunities for Jewish musicians until 1941. Although the Kulturbund was part of the Nazi's scheme of destroying Jewish culture, the establishment of the league ironically had unforeseen positive consequences. The musicians initially carried on the existing German concert tradition and used the general repertoire of Western art music. This changed when the censors banned them from performing the works of "German" composers. Thus new musical compositions emerged, leading to a substantial enrichment of the repertoire, especially with regards to the rediscovered Jewish folk music, synagogue music, and the related works of contemporary Jewish composers. Indeed, the isolation of Jews within German society inevitably led to an increased consciousness of Jewish identity and awoke their desire for "Jewish experiences" in the concert halls of the Kulturbund. Herbert Fromm recalled: "Like many German Jews, I became more Jewish after 1933 when the Nazis came to power. I found that I belonged somewhere else-I was not German anymore. And I felt that there are two cultures, German and Jewish: my Jewish strings began to vibrate . . . Very soon I adjusted to the new situation, because every German became so disgusting to me. So I decided to come home to my own people." Fromm was active as composer, choir director, accompanist, and conductor in the Kulturbund section in Frankfurt am Main from 1933 until his emigration to the United States in 1937. He contributed a large number of compositions to the events, and it was in that context that he began to employ Jewish themes and texts in his works.
Three of his compositions are based on a folk song by Jewish immigrants in Palestine who had come from eastern Europe. Fromm arranged the melody for voice with accompaniment and piano solo as "Shir Chalutzim" (Song of the Pioneer-Settlers), and as the fourth of Five Palestinian Folk Melodies for chorus, string quartet, and clarinet. This version was premiered at the Frankfurt branch of the Kulturbund on March 10, 1935. By choosing this melody, Fromm followed the early twentieth-century fashion of arranging Palestinian and Zionist songs with their often eastern European flavor. However, Fromm differed from his contemporaries-such as Paul Dessau, Darius Milhaud, Ernst Toch, and Kurt Weill-in that the piano arrangement is in the style of a "song without words."
Herman Berlinski's (1910-2001) life and work reflect the impact emigration and, ultimately, the loss of home had on Jewish identity and music. Having grown up in Leipzig in a rather conservative Polish Jewish family, the young Berlinski had acculturated as a musician to the German environment and aesthetics fashioned in his hometown. From 1927 to 1932, he studied piano and music theory at the State Conservatory of Music in Leipzig. As a composer, he was particularly interested in cabaret and musical theater. However, the Nazi rise to power and subsequent adoption of anti-Jewish legislation ended his opportunities. Having obtained a teaching certificate and piano soloist diploma, Berlinski left Leipzig in March 1933.
After concert tours as a pianist in Warsaw, Gdansk, Brussels, and Paris, Berlinski continued his studies in composition and piano from 1934 to 1938 at the École Normale de Musique in Paris with Nadia Boulanger and, ironically, Alfred Cortot, who supported the Vichy regime and played in Nazi-sponsored concerts in France during World War II. During his studies at the Schola Cantorum in Paris from 1937 to 1939, Berlinksi became acquainted with a group of composers known as La Jeune France, who, albeit without a set program, were dedicated to fostering modern (national) French music. From 1938 to 1940, Berlinski was also music director of the Paris Avant-Garde Yiddish Theater (PIAT).
In 1938, upon learning of his father's death, he composed Chatzoth, a suite for string quartet and ondes Martenot, in which he recalled the prayer chants and melodies heard in his parental home as well as eastern European traditional tunes, and the more urbane Yiddish songs associated with the plays of Isaac Leib (Yitskhok Leybush) Peretz that he learned at the PIAT. The suite premiered later that year at the Salle Erard. Shortly thereafter, in 1939, Berlinski enlisted in the French military, but with the Nazi occupation of France he became a refugee again, and in March 1941 left via Marseille to go to the United States. During this time, he lost most of the original manuscripts of his compositions, except for Chatzoth. Upon his arrival in New York, he arranged and scored the piece for different ensemble configurations, among them violoncello and piano, as Suite No. 2, From the World of My Father (Dialogue, Hasidic, Nigun, Wedding Dance). By the time Berlinski wrote the present version, he did so with the Holocaust and its destruction of European Jewry in mind: "The Holocaust did put its imprint on virtually every note of this work. The wedding dances became mayofes dances [a type of song and dance performed in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Poland associated with servility, ridicule, and the caricature of Jews]. The so-called freilekh [a joyful dance] became the dance of the dispossessed, and the meditative nigun [a wordless melody central to Jewish worship in Hasidic Judaism] evolved into the eternal Jewish quest in which we, like Job, wrestle with Satan and even with God for the meaning of suffering." Berlinski never used these themes in mere quotation, but transformed them into highly original melodies, though their affinity and kinship with traditional Jewish musical elements remains evident. "This was the music of my father's generation," Berlinski wrote about the work decades after its completion, "now dedicated to the actors and actresses of the PIAT-almost all of them victims of the Holocaust. It will remain with me the rest of my life-for every sound in it evokes in me a name, a face, a smile, or a lament. If that is sentimental, so be it!" The chamber work looks back to a rich and flourishing tradition that had been forever eradicated.