Chronicles – of music, of survivors

Posted on Jan 17th, 2011 by Jeanne Golan

What a few weeks these have turned out to be —

First, the recording – my team of Chris Oldfather producing and Joel Gordon recording was its usual magic.  Chris, who has known my playing for decades, understands when to push, when to question, when to let the playing happen on its own.  It’s a comfort to know I’m covered and whatever these sessions yield, I’ll be able to piece together a performance I can live with.  And Joel too, whose ears and miking prowess I trust implicitly to record a sound that actually sounds like me and is true to the instrument.

Then I met with two Terezin survivors who were actively involved with musical productions while there.

I learned of Edgar Krasa through my oldest childhood friend and amazing graphic designer, Diane.  Diane walks her dog in a certain park where, as she and Bali are wending their way, she makes the most unexpected and wonderful connections.  And so she connected me with Marcy, who is the mother of one of Edgar’s grandsons.  And Marcy connected me with Edgar, who lives in Newton, MA, a few miles from where I grew up.

So I brought a flipcam and Edgar gave me an interview that was truly enlightening as to how Terezin came to be what it was, how it evolved, and how daily life was structured,with those encamped eventually finagling a system that culminated in the mounting of hundreds of amazing musical programs, which of course, gave all present a reason to feel that life could both be normal and that their souls could be nourished with such music.

A few days later, I flew to London and met Alice, who had recently turned 107!  She was so gracious.  She also let me videotape our time together.  She asked me to play some Ullmann for her and when I was done, she told me about Ullmann as a colleague and friend, her thoughts on his music, how they met, what it was like to perform at Terezin; we talked about teaching, about loss, about living an open-hearted life, and on and on.  I’m so lucky to have met her; an afternoon in the company of that kind of perspective who inspires one to be one’s best self is a treasure.

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