“Voix Étouffées (Stifled Voices): Schulhoff, Tokayer, Korngold & Weill – Four Composers the Third Reich Tried to Silence”
Music of Erwin Schulhoff, Alfred Tokayer, Erich Korngold and Kurt Weill, performed by pianists Johanna Mastenbrook & Karin McCullough, violinist Adrianna Hulscher, and Katie Hochman & Malya Muth, sopranos.
On the program:
Erwin Schulhoff’s Jazz-Like (Partita for Piano): IV. Tempo di fox a’ la Hawaii; V. Boston (C’était dans une petite chambre au quartier latin…); VIII. Shimmy-Jazz (joli tambour_donne moi ta rose…) (Karin McCullough, piano)
Alfred Tokayer’s “Das ist der Wein” (lyrics by Fritz’l Lensch) (Katie Hochman, soprano; Johanna Mastenbrook, piano); unpublished “Prière sans paroles” (Adrianna Hulscher, violin; Karin McCullough, piano); unpublished songs: “Ou vas-tu donc, mon coeur?,” “Soir” (words by Mado), and “Arrière-Été” (lyrics by Fernand Severin) (Katie Hochman, soprano; Karin McCullough, piano); unpublished “Nursery Suite” (Une journée de mon enfant) (reduction for piano and voice by the composer; French lyrics by Maurice Mérillot) (Malya Muth, soprano; Karin McCullough, piano)
Erich Korngold’s “Glück, das mir verblieb” (“Marietta’s Lied”) from Die Tote Stadt (Katie Hochman, soprano; Johanna Mastenbrook, piano); Shakespearean Songs, Op. 29: “Come Away, Death,” “O Mistress Mine,” and “Adieu, Good Man Devil;” “Under the Greenwood Tree” from Shakespearean Songs, Op. 31 (Katie Hochman, soprano; Karin McCullough, piano); “Much Ado About Nothing,” Op. 11 (Adrianna Hulscher, violin; Karin McCullough, piano)
Kurt Weill’s “Wie lange noch” (Katie Hochman, soprano; Johanna Mastenbrook, piano); “I’m a Stranger Here Myself” (from One Touch of Venus), “Youkali Tango,” and “Je ne t’aime pas” (Malya Muth, soprano; Johanna Mastenbrook, piano)
A little about the composers:
Erwin Schulhoff (1894-1942) was a Czech pianist and composer who got noticed by Dvorak, studied with Debussy, was appointed to the Conservatory in Prague in 1929, and toured as a pianist in Germany, France and England. He was most interested in Dadaism and jazz rhythms, writing to his friend the composer Alban Berg: “I am boundlessly fond of nightclub dancing, so much so that I have periods during which I spend whole nights dancing with one hostess or another…thereby I acquire phenomenal inspiration for my work….” He described his compositions as the first successful blend of jazz and art music. In the 1930’s the Nazis prohibited the performance of his music because of his Jewish descent and his radical politics. He sought refuge in Prague, barely making a living as a radio pianist. The Soviet Union approved his petition for citizenship in 1941 but the Nazis arrested him and sent him to his death in the Wülzburg concentration camp.
Alfred Tokayer (1900-1943) was born in what is today part of Romania. He was a conductor in Bremen and Berlin. When Nazis cancelled his German citizenship in 1934, he fled to Paris but there found xenophobic rules discriminating against this latest migration of Jewish German musicians. Tokayer was able to find work accompanying and arranging through the kind sponsorship of Countess Lili Pastre, who even provided for the education of his daughter Irene. Composer Maurice Thiriet lent his name to Tokayer and several Jewish composers working underground so they could receive copyright income. Tokayer was interned as an enemy alien in 1939 but since he had joined the Foreign Legion, was sent to Algeria and Morocco where he was assigned to teach music at the conservatory of Meknes. Demobilized in 1940, Tokayer settled near Limoges, composing, concertizing, bringing music into a home for Jewish refugee children, and producing an Offenbach opera. When the Germans invaded France in 1942 Tokayer returned to Paris – under a false identity with his companion the poetess Mado. Hoping to reach England through Portugal, they were arrested; she was freed but he was sent to the camps where he met his parents. From there the three of them were sent to Sobibor in 1943. “Many composers who became the victims of the brown terror were not only eliminated from the world of the living, but also from the memory of generations that followed.” (Amaury du Closel, conductor and author) Some 60 years after his death, a box of his compositions was found in a library in Toronto and restored to his daughter who has given us facsimile scores of his unpublished music and permission to perform them. The Anima CD “Alfred Tokayer: Oeuvres Completes” recorded in Bucharest, is available for sale during intermission and at the post-concert reception.
Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) was a child prodigy born in Moravia. Mahler called him a musical genius and Strauss and Puccini thought highly of him. While still a teenager he was asked to conduct Vienna’s symphony. He composed an opera, Die Tote Stadt, in 1920 which became an international success. Korngold said “We thought of ourselves as Viennese; Hitler made us Jewish.” He moved his family to Hollywood and became what is now considered the founder of film music. In fact, some directors would ask him what should happen in the film next, based on his score. A number of other film composers sought his advice and assistance. His family – especially his father – was frustrated that he devoted so much time to writing film scores, but he did rewrite a number of them into his more serious compositions. The Academy Award in 1938 for his score, “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” was the first time a such an award went to a composer.
Kurt Weill (1900-1950) was born in Germany. He began piano lessons and composing at the age of twelve. He studied with the composers Humperdink and Busoni. He taught and befriended the famous concert pianist Claudio Arrau. His best known work is “Threepenny Opera” which includes the ballad made famous more recently by Ella Fitzgerald and later by Bobby Darin, “Mack the Knife.” Weill thought that composing music served a socially useful purpose. He fled Nazi Germany in 1933, emigrating, like Tokayer, to Paris and then, like Korngold, to the USA – to New York. He won a Tony Award for Best Original Score for “Street Scene.”
Translations of lyrics:
Das ist der Wein, der uns so jung erhält (It is wine that keeps us so young*)
Bacchus sits on his barrel in Bremen, deep in the cellar.
His noble nose glows, his little eyes get brighter and brighter
All ruddy stretches the skin around his limbs, tummy, cheeks,
And how he gazes all around, as the clink of the goblet resounds:
It is wine that keeps us young.
A small glass of Rhine-wine is better than money and possessions.
Take a look at Bacchus: he is already 1,000 years old
The little round man is older than the hills,
yet still looks so young, like a newborn baby.
We carouse to our heart’s content while in the prime of youth,
A time when, rich in strength and cheer, the heart constantly renews itself
And once Peter summons us, so that we might tie up the loose ends of our lives,
Then, at Heaven’s door, we shall clink our glasses in a farewell chorus:
It is wine that keeps us young…
Ou` vas-tu donc, mon coeur? (Where are you going, then, my heart?**)
Where are you going, then, my heart?
Where are you going, then, tonight?
Are you going towards the sweetness?
And are you going towards the hope?
It’s the sweetness of loving
And it’s the hope of living
That makes you quiver
And that already intoxicates you.
Where are you going, then, my heart?
Where are you going, then, so quickly?
You are running, you are running to my heart,
Towards he to whom I have given you.
And he over there is trembling,
Awaiting your arrival.
I do not hold you back from it.
Go forth towards your happiness.
For soon, very soon, I will follow you,
My heart, my heart.
It is now the end of the day.
From the earth perfumes rise:
the scent of summer, the scent of love,
making our souls drunk with happiness.
The valley is strange this evening,
things are not the same.
In this new space, in this night,
do I dare tell you I love you?
To impassion you, the night gives me the eloquence of a minstrel.
My heart finds your heart shining more brilliantly than in full daylight.
And you smile tenderly at me.
Yes, even if I see you no more,
I will hear your sweet laugh in the sound of the wind in the pine trees.
It is now the end of the day…
Arrière-Été (Indian Summer*)
How I would like your arm leaning against mine,
while we slowly leave an historic park.
You would smile with an exquisite indolence.
Your words, spoken in a small voice,
would have in the silence the serious inflexion of she who long ago,
a virginal and trembling soul, spoke to me.
We would proceed, step by step,
savoring the brief moment.
Like so many lovers,
we would create the sort of beautiful dream
by which men have always soothed their ennui.
The summer night would become the mild, calm night,
and our hearts will sense before its grand mystery,
at which point,
when one loves,
it is sweet to be silent.
Une journée de mon enfant (“Nursery Suite”) (English lyrics by Jack Trendell)
1. Elle joue (“She plays”)
Teddy, tell me what you do when the stars do peep.
Do you have adventures when we’re all asleep?
Teddy, do you wander, wiggling your small tail
Like old Goosey Gander in the fairy tale?
Sometimes when I wake up wise in the early morn
There’s a twinkle in your eyes and I’m sure you yawn.
2. Elle devient turbulente, casse la poupée, et comment Maman arrange tout (“She becomes noisy, breaks her doll, and how Mama fixes everything”)
Sometimes when I’m naughty it’s wise
To forget my mother’s advise
And to rush round making lots of noise,
Jump and fight and wrestle like the boys.
Then I sometimes break things just for fun.
Mother tells me not to be bad or she’ll have to tell to my Dad
That I’m naughty, oh so naughty, which will make him sad.
But I think he understands me and he won’t be mad.
So I tell her that I can’t help it, that I can’t help it, that I can’t help it.
It’s such great fun smashing things, sometimes smashing things,
sometimes, smashing things sometimes.
Mother says: Dear, when you break things as you do
And when you make such a noise, it’s wrong of you.
Dad says it’s high spirits not vice.
Sort of likes me naughty, not nice.
If it’s wrong, why do I feel like this?
I’m so happy, I could squeal with bliss. Ah!
Mother dear, it’s ever such fun
To make crashes just like a gun,
Take a plate and crash it down,
Roll and tumble like a clown.
Such a lovely noise
Loved by girls and boys.
I would like to drop and scatter
Plates all round me, smash and clatter. Oh!
3. L’hirondelle au crépuscule et la berceuse d’Irène (“The swallow at twilight and Irene’s lullaby”)
From my nursery I can see the sun sink in the sea.
As it sinks, the swallow comes and says Good Night to me.
I feel happy when I see him swinging through the air,
And he tells such lovely secrets that I want to fly.
When the sun has gone to bed
And I’m tuck’d in my cot,
I wonder if he’s sleeping safely in some sheltered spot?
Hush-a-by Baby, close those bright eyes.
Here comes the sandman, smiling and wise.
Dreams in his pockets, sleep in his pack,
Gifts that I hope you never will lack.
*translations by Catherine Treadgold
**translation by Katie Hochman & Karin McCullough
About the performers:
Katie Hochman, soprano, enjoys sharing her love of music through recitals with Ladies Musical Club of Seattle. She has also enjoyed singing opera and oratorio with Puget Sound Concert Opera (PSCO), Opera Theater Oregon, Portland Opera, Utah Opera, Columbia Chorale and Southwest Washington Symphony (SWS). Highlights include the title role of Massenet’s Cendrillon and Héro in Belioz’s Beatrice et Bénédict performed with PSCO and Exultate, jubilate performed with the SWS. Katie is a student of Lucinda Maxey. Upcoming performances include the July 30th Wayward Music Series concert of music by local composer, Kam Morrill and recitals for LMC.
Adrianna Hulscher began her violin studies as a young girl, inspired by a gift from her parents – a record of Mozart’s delightful opera, The Magic Flute. She is currently a freelance violinist in the Seattle area, and a member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra. She developed her musical skills at the New England Conservatory and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Adrianna is a member of the St. Helens String Quartet, a group that focuses on contemporary repertoire from mostly local composers. Recently, she has performed chamber music recitals including the music of Mozart, Schubert and Korngold. As a soloist she has performed Bartok’s 1st Violin Concerto with the University of Texas Symphony and The Lark Ascending by Vaughn Williams with the Lake Sammamish Symphony. Adrianna lives in Seattle with her husband and four year old daughter, Amelia.
Johanna Mastenbrook holds a B.A. degree in Piano Performance from the University of Washington, graduating in 1950 during the so-called “Golden Years” of the School of Music. She studied with the eminent Berthe Poncy Jacobson, with continued study in Mme. Jacobson’s master class for many years. She specializes in chamber music and accompanying, working with countless singers, instrumentalists, and choruses for over 65 years. Her chamber music concerts included series at the Seattle Concert Theatre, the Seattle Art Museum, and Seattle Symphony from 1974 through the 1980’s. She joined Ladies Musical Club in 1948 and continues to perform in many of their recitals.
Karin McCullough took the less-traveled road to a career in music: a serious pianist while growing up in Illinois, she reluctantly suppressed her aspirations and become a paralegal. One day she was asked to accompany opera singers at a Fremont Bistro—a weekly engagement that lasted 5 years. By then her growing popularity as an accompanist, solo performer, and piano teacher allowed her to trade her life as a paralegal for that of a full-time musician.
Karin maintains a flourishing piano studio in her North Ballard home. She has accompanied members of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and members of the Seattle Opera, Bellevue Opera, Kitsap Opera, Tacoma Opera, Rogue Opera (in Oregon), and Oakland Lyric Opera. Karin is a performing member of Ladies Musical Club, a director of the Seattle Music Teachers Association, the principal organizer of Greater Seattle’s annual Bach in the Subways Days celebrations, a past officer/director of Chopin Foundation Northwest, and Vice President/director of Musical Experiences, for which she co-led two music history tours of Vienna.
When Karin did a home-exchange in southern France, she was introduced to the daughter of Alfred Tokayer. Along with sopranos Katie Hochman, Malya Muth, and Catherine Treadgold, former Seattle Opera Chorus member baritone Robert Tangney, and PNB violinist Adrianna Hulscher, she has performed the United States premieres of Mr. Toyaker’s songs and his violin/piano duet. Visit karinamcculloughpiano.com to hear selections from those concerts.
Malya Muth, soprano, has a B.A. in Vocal Performance from the University of Washington and over 15 years of study with Master Coach Lois Hartzell. She has sung a wide variety of music in the Puget Sound region over the years including: opera, oratorio, art song, ceremonial music, folk songs, and jazz. She is also a musical storyteller, writer, producer, and singing teacher.
Activities and societies: Virtuosi del Canto, Ladies Musical Club, University of Washington Opera Department performances, member of National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), member of Edmonds Music Teachers Association.
Additional honors and awards: Metropolitan Opera Incentive Award, Eastside Arts Festival (Bellevue, WA), 1st Place NATS Voice Competition, 1st Place Music Scholarship winner (UW Medical Center).