Wir Wollen Wachen die Nacht
Berliner Festwoche, Berlin, September 1997.
Commissioned by the 1997 Berliner Festwoche, Bente Kahan composed music to poems written by German-Jewish authors during the period 1933-45.
Included in the program were songs from Theresienstadt, Yiddish songs from the Vilne-ghetto (Vilnius) and songs from the carpenter and song-writer Mordechai Gebirtig from Cracow.
The concert in Berlin was accompanied by Dariusz Swinoga and Miroslaw Kuzniak.
Bente Kahan is still performing this program which will be shown at the Conference on Holocaust and the Churches arranged by the St. Joseph’s Univerity in Philadelphia, March 7 this year.
Extract from reviews:
“It is difficult to start remembering again. Her solo evening is about sending out a warning against Nazi inhumanity set off by an appeal for a preservation of the persecuted Jewish culture. . .She shows to what an enormous degree art and culture can be a comfort in the fight against fear. . .this is not merely moving, but also uplifting for the heart.”
Die Welt, Berlin, 19 September 1997.
“The silence in the room was defeaning. . . she sang with a voice which is deep and moving, filling the hall with its resonance. . .It goes without saying that the theme, thte persecution of the Jews, could not be left out of this Berliner Festwoche’s program. Nevertheless, Bente Kahan’s forcefull and emotive way of presenting the material is not a self-evident matter for someone born after the war. So much divinity flowed (toward her audience on that evening).”
Berlinger Zeitung, 19 September 1997.
“Stolen dreams. . .Almost seamlessly, one song ends in another, some softly, nearly whispered, others ending as ruthless shouts. . .no smack to the public with moralistic words and phrases, rather images of children’s fantasies, of unveiled passions despite the misery, while horrific reality weaves through the musical notes.”
Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin, 19 September 1997.