Double premiere

One was born in 1910 in Leipzig, the other one in 1966 in Dresden. One had to flee from Adolf Hitler because he was Jewish, arriving via France in the United States. The other one has only second-hand knowledge of the "Reichskristallnacht" of 1938 and the Holocaust. Now, he has a chance to see how the Jewish population is gradually growing again in Dresden. Both are composers, and both had a new work premiered last week (Nov. 19) in Washington, D.C. "Maskire Neshamoth" -- which in Hebrew means "Remembering the souls" -- is a Holocaust cantata for four solo voices and a chamber ensemble. It was written by Herman Berlinski. "Hanukat Habai" is the title of a string quartet written by the young Dresden composer Karsten Gundermann. That title means "Dedication of the House." Gundermann's work is dedicated to the rebuilding of the Dresden Synagogue which was vandalized 60 years ago during the "Reichskristallnacht." The double premiere lived up to the message of the memorial concert, which took as its title a biblical quotation, "A time to weep, a time to build." The concert was sponsored by the German Embassy and the Library of Congress, which is not only the largest library in the world but has also been the venue of historic chamber music concerts. Georg Hirsch attended the double premiere.

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