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BBC SO: The Theresienstadt Orchestra

BBC Total Immersion: Music for the End of Time

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. Schulhoff's image is in the background. The image has BBC SO branding around it.

Musical testaments by Krása and Haas written inside Theresienstadt, and a compelling symphony by Schulhoff that warns of impending human catastrophe.

The driving rhythms, arching melodies and orchestral panache of Hans Krása’s Overture for Small Orchestra barely hint at the place it was written: the Theresienstadt ghetto. It proved impossible to perform Krása’s Overture in Theresienstadt, unlike Pavel Haas’s Study for Strings, written and played there in 1943. The angry cross rhythms and Moravian tunes typical of the composer fill this concise but powerful work. 

Krása and Haas were both murdered at Auschwitz. Erwin Schulhoff met his end at a camp in Wülzburg. After a career marked by his interest in surrealism and jazz, Schulhoff’s Symphony No 5, completed in 1939, appears to revel in the plushness of the symphony orchestra. What soon emerges is a score charged with tension and foreboding, whose culmination in unrestrained aggression now seems unsettlingly prophetic.  

The performance will finish at approximately 2.30pm, without an interval

Produced by the BBC Symphony Orchestra

Please note that this event deals with subjects of a distressing nature

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