Friday, June 09, 2006

Prague Spring Music Festival Pays Tribute To When One-Legged Piano, Chorus Of Jewish Prisoners, And Partial Verdi Requiem Score Defied Nazis

"A one-legged piano and a chorus was all Jewish prisoners at the Terezin concentration camp in Czechoslovakia needed to express their defiance of the Nazis.

Sixty-three years ago, Jewish prisoner and conductor Rafael Schachter gathered 150 fellow Jews in a basement at the camp to perform Giuseppe Verdi's "Requiem" for the Nazis in Latin. Throughout the piece was a plea for liberation.

The prisoners felt safe singing it because the Nazis did not get the meaning the Jewish people put behind it, said Natalie Pyle, a music student who will be a junior at The Catholic University of America in Washington in the fall.

Through the "Requiem," Schachter wanted to achieve justice for himself and other prisoners, said Pyle, who was among Catholic University students who performed in a concert May 21 to pay tribute to Schachter and his fellow Jews at the site of the former camp. Terezin is a small town 30 minutes northeast of Prague, in what is now the Czech Republic.

People from around the world gathered to witness the tribute.

Dean Murry Sidlin and music students, including Pyle, from Catholic University's Benjamin T. Rome School of Music performed "Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin" as part of the Prague Spring Music Festival. It was the first time a school of music has performed at the festival. One hundred twenty-five students and 50 musicians from Prague and the Washington Chorus performed." ...

Ben Gruver, Catholic News Service "Catholic University students perform 'Requiem' at site of Nazi camp" The Florida Catholic June 9, 2006

Terezin Death Transport Prison.

Photo credit: With thanks.


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