Free. $10 suggested donation
The Michigan Festival of Sacred Music (MFSM) will remember the Holocaust in a concert presenting an unusual combination of musical works on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, at 7:30 pm at the First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo, 315 W. Michigan Ave. The concert is free, with a suggested donation of $10.
The program will feature Western Michigan University voice professor Carl Ratner, Western Michigan University's Theatre Department Chair Emeritus D. Terry Williams as narrator, violinist Barry Ross, clarinetist Georgiy Borisov, flutist Betsy Wong, pianist John Griffin, and cellist and MFSM Executive Director Elizabeth Start.
The mission of the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music is to present events which bring the wider community together to appreciate the treasured music of diverse faith traditions, and appreciate our common concerns and experiences. This concert follows in that path by presenting works not only remembering the Holocaust from the perspective of the Jewish experience, but expanding the view to remember that many other populations and constituencies suffered similar persecution and fates under the Nazi regime, and that such persecutions of populations continue today.
The works performed on this concert include Lori Laitman's "The Seed of a Dream:, which sets poetry written between 1941 and 1944 by Abraham Sutzkever in the Vilna Ghetto and in the Narocz Forests after escaping and fighting with a guerilla unit.
Presenting a less familiar view of this time-period, “For a Look or a Touch” by Jake Heggie reflects on the treatment of homosexuals by the Nazi regime. It has been described as a love story turned tragedy, and is set as the young ghost of someone who didn't make it out of the camps communicates with his pre-war partner, an aging man who was imprisoned but survived. The narrator, who will be D. Terry Williams, portrays the 80 year-old survivor; the baritone soloist, Carl Ratner, portrays the young ghost. This work also uses the full complement of instrumentalists.
The program will also include excerpts from the “Quartet for the End of Time”, a work by devout Catholic Olivier Messiaen, which he composed during internment in a Nazi camp, thus expanding on our theme of the breadth of the population affected by the Holocaust, and the resultant works which demonstrate the strength of the human spirit.
Jake Heggie: For a Look or a Touch
Lori Laitman: The Seed of a Dream
Messiaen: Quartet for the End of Time Excerpts