Edinburgh International Festival 2014: exploring death camps through music

This article is from 2014

Anne Sofie von Otter

Anne Sofie von Otter / credit: Ewa-Marie Rundquist

Holocaust survivor Samuel Pisar and the Pavel Haas Quartet among those contributing to EIF's music strand

Bernstein's Kaddish Symphony

The man who wrote West Side Story also wrote this sweeping, tense work for a narrator, choir and orchestra, his tribute to Kaddish – a hymn traditionally sung in the synagogue at times of mourning. Holocaust survivor Samuel Pisar narrates his own story.
Usher Hall, 24 Aug, 7.30pm, £12–£44.

Music from Terezín

Tens of thousands, including many Jewish composers, musicians and artists, died in Terezín, a concentration camp north of Prague. For propaganda purposes, SS officials allowed them to keep making art and performing. Mezzo soprano Anne Sofie Von Otter performs cabaret songs, lullabies and instrumental works written or played in Terezín.
Queen's Hall, 25 Aug, 11am, £8.50–£30.

Conversation with Samuel Pisar

A survivor of Majdanek, Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg and Dachau concentration camps, Pisar, a Polish Jew, escaped the Nazis and went on to become a human rights lawyer and UN ambassador. Following his narration of Kaddish Symphony two nights earlier, he will give a talk.
The Hub, 26 Aug, 5pm, £6 (£3).

Pavel Haas Quartet

This foursome is named after a Czech composer who drew from folk and jazz influences. Pavel Haas was imprisoned in Terezín work camp, and later died in Auschwitz in 1944. Here the PHQ perform three string quartets by Brahms, Schulhoff and Shostakovich.
Queen's Hall, 28 Aug, 11am, £8.50–£30.

Sandakan Threnody and Glagolitic Mass

The final EIF concert places Jonathan Mills' Sandakan Threnody to honour British and Australian POWs who died in WW2 death marches in Borneo, alongside Janáček's energetic Glagolitic Mass, a dramatic contrast of light and dark.
Usher Hall, 30 Aug, £8, £12–£44.