The Étude for string orchestra is one of the three scores by Pavel Haas that have come down to us from his creative activity inside the Terezìn (Theresienstadt) concentration camp. This transit camp, set up by the Nazis to house famous Jewish artists from Central Europe in appalling conditions before they were deported further east, was home to an intense cultural and artistic life. This Étude was composed for the string orchestra set up by the conductor Karel Ančerl in the ghetto and using whatever resources were available. Its complexity and technical difficulties bear witness to the integrity and artistic standards that Haas was able to maintain in his art under the most atrocious conditions. The score was premiered by Ančerl and his orchestra in the summer of 1944, just a few weeks before all the protagonists were sent to Auschwitz, where they were murdered on arrival on 17 October 1944. Karel Ančerl was the only survivor, and was able to revive the score after the war.
This most poignant of works is accompanied by three contrasting scores. Null, by Ukrainian composer Victoria Polevá, features an aesthetic close to that of Pärt or Vasks, with a burning spiritual minimalism that echoes the intensity of Haas's Étude. Elgar's nostalgic Concerto and Poulenc's Sinfonietta take us back to friendlier, more comforting lands.
€ 5 - 38
Concerto in E minor, Op. 85
Étude for string orchestra