Last Tuesday we went downtown to attend a concert at Benaroya Hall, commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz.
The performance was called Art From Ashes, and was produced by Music of Remembrance.
I had mixed feelings about going.
It was a wet cold day in Seattle.
The city seemed dirty.
It would be heartbreaking to listen to works by Jewish composers whose lives and legacies were cut short at the death camps of Auschwitz and Dachau.
But the music proved more poignant than heartbreaking.
These doomed artists plumbed the depths of their despair, gleaned beauty from their cruel twisted world, and imbued their swan songs with love and longing.
Each note, each word a parting glance, a declaration of love, a prayer…
“…Tearfully stolen from the distant west, a gentle pink ray on the thin twigs, settling its quiet kiss on tiny leaves..”
As Jake Heggie wrote in his song Farewell, Auschwitz, they cast off their striped clothes and held their shaved heads high. “The song of freedom upon our lips will never, never die.”
Ashamed and bewildered by the depths of depravity to which humankind has too often sunk, I also felt a fierce pride for its passion and courage and tenacious love of life that can raise art from the ashes.
Copyright 2015 Naomi Baltuck