Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Department

Music

Committee Chair

Dr. Maryann Kyle

Committee Chair Department

Music

Committee Member 2

Dr. J. Taylor Hightower

Committee Member 2 Department

Music

Committee Member 3

Dr. Jonathan Yarrington

Committee Member 3 Department

Music

Committee Member 4

Dr. Christopher Goertzen

Committee Member 4 Department

Music

Committee Member 5

Dr. Joseph Brumbeloe

Committee Member 5 Department

Music

Abstract

For the past 18 years, the non-profit organization Music Of Remembrance has worked to remember the Holocaust through concerts, education events, and by recording and commissioning new works. One such work, entitled Farewell, Auschwitz, premiered in May of 2013.

Farewell, Auschwitz is a unique composition for several reasons. One reason is that the poetry for the songs was adapted from lyrics written by Krystyna Żywulska, a Polish Jew, imprisoned at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. In the camp, she began creating poetry and songs in reaction to the horror that surrounded her. Her poetry is a commentary on the daily life, observations of the camp, and historical documentation.

Mina Miller, founder and current Artistic Director of Music of Remembrance, introduced Jake Heggie and his librettist Gene Scheer to the writings of Krystyna Zywulska. Their first work together was a dramatic song cycle for soprano entitled Another Sunrise. This song cycle told of the day-to-day fight of Krystyna Żywulska to stay alive amidst the horrors of the concentration camp. For their next composition, Miller suggested that Heggie and Scheer take the song lyrics Żywulska had written for another prisoner and create new musical settings. Scheer adapted the poetry and Heggie composed the music for this gripping work for soprano, mezzo-soprano, baritone, and chamber ensemble. Żywulska’s lyrics were originally set by fellow prisoners to pop, folk, or classical songs of the day. However, the original songs have since been lost. In order to preserve the general effect of the original songs, Heggie emulates folk and popular sounds of Poland in the 1940s into his composition.

ORCID ID

orcid.org/0000-0002-7509-9186

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