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BBC Total Immersion: Songs in Time of Distress

A candle burns in the centre of the image, with the star of David above it. Barbed wire runs across the photo, and a bird flies out of the right hand side of the image. The BBC Singers' image is in the background. The image has BBC SO branding around it.

The BBC Singers offer haunting choral music from the Theresienstadt ghetto, with reflective interludes provided by students of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Singing gives comfort in dark times. Before the Nazis sanctioned Theresienstadt’s 'leisure activities', covert music persisted – composers drew their own manuscript paper and choirs met in secret. Hear works that would have been forbidden elsewhere in Nazi territory, including Hebrew and Yiddish songs by Viktor Ullmann. Baritone Simon Wallfisch – co-curator of the concert and grandson of an Auschwitz survivor – also sings Ullmann’s Songs of Comfort and reads first-hand accounts from the camp.

With most instruments needing to be smuggled in, Theresienstadt led composers to write for small groups, such as in the pieces for strings by Gideon Klein, Pavel Haas and František Domažlický which are presented here by Guildhall School Musicians. Post-war reflections from Silvie Bodorova and Dieter Gogg complete the programme.

The performance will finish at approximately 4.30pm, without an interval.

Produced by the BBC Singers

Please note that the texts included in this concert deal with subjects of a distressing nature

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Milton Court Concert Hall