Seven lieder composed by Ignatz Waghalter were performed on March 23, 2017 at the “Songs Not Silenced concert at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia.
The concert was based on the musicological and historical research of Professor Laurence Sherr, the composer-in-residence at KSU. A leading authority on the work of musicians active during the Holocaust and a noted composer in his own right, Professor Sherr developed the concert program and provided detailed commentary on the context and significance of the works that were performed. Waghalter’s grandson, David Waghalter Green, spoke to the audience about the life of Ignatz Waghalter and the history of the Waghalter family, which played a significant role in the musical life of Poland and Germany prior to the coming to power of the Nazis in 1933.
We are posting here the video of the first half of the concert, which includes the welcoming remarks of Dr. Patricia Poulter, the Dean of the KSU College of the Arts, the historical commentary of Professor Sherr, and David Green’s biographical review of Waghalter family. This was followed by a performance of two cycles of Waghalter lieder, composed between 1905 and 1908. Opus 7 consists of four lieder: Zauber, Lieb Liebchen, Nächtiges Wandern, and Lied des Harfenmädchens. There are three songs in Opus 11: Im Schlitten, Verstorben und verschäumt, and Der Schmetterling.
The Waghalter lieder were followed by songs written in the Theresienstadt concentration camp by Ilse Weber (1903-1944), works from the Liederbuch des Hafis by Viktor Ullmann (1898-1944), selections from the Poèmes juifs by Darius Milhaud (1892-1974), and several songs by Kurt Weill (1900-1950).
The Waghalter lieder heard on this video are sung by soprano Jana Young, Assistant Professor of Voice art KSU. In addition to her work as a pedagogue, Ms. Young is highly respected as a soloist, and has performed widely within the United States and internationally.
Ms. Judy Cole accompanied Ms. Young on the piano. Ms. Cole is well-known in the Atlanta area as an extraordinarily versatile accompanist.
In the second half of the concert, the noted bass-baritone Oral Moses sang lieder by Viktor Ullmann and Kurt Weill.
Waghalter’s exceptional melodic gift was recognized even while he was a student at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. Both his String Quartet (Opus 3) and Sonata for Violin and Piano (Opus 5), for which Waghalter was awarded the Mendelssohn Prize in 1902, were highly praised. Josef Joachim, the great violin virtuoso and friend of Brahms, urged the young student to compose for the voice. Waghalter took the advice to heart and composed several song cycles during the first decade of his musical career. It may well be the case that his devotion to this musical genre was accentuated by the fact that he had fallen in love with Ernestine Friedman (1885-1964), a voice student in Berlin, whom he eventually married. She possessed a powerful and highly dramatic soprano voice, for which the Waghalter’s lieder would have been very well suited.