Terezín Songbook

music from Theresienstadt
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In Terezín Songbook, Sára Gutvill, Elizaveta Agrafenina, Pierre Mak and Jaap Kooi sing and play music written in the concentration camp Theresienstadt between 1940 -1944.

How was it possible to make music under the circumstances of insecurity, fear, filth, sickness and death? Under the incessant good-byes from friends and relatives passed or brought away as well as form one’s own previous, full life? Between hope and desperation?

We can’t aspire to give final answers to this question but through their music, we hope to get closer to the musicians that once lived and composed in Theresienstadt. And by doing so – get closer to ourselves.

Works in four languages and very different styles sketch a poetic and musical image of the “Zwangsgemeinschaft”, the forced community, where important figures of the Jewish intelligentsia lived together until the final annihilation with the “Künstler-Transport” to Auschwitz in October 1944.

You will hear songs composed by Viktor Ulmann on poems by classical German poets as Hölderlin and Trakl, as well as fellow prisoner H. G. Adler who later became well-known for his monumental monograph about Theresienstadt. Very different are the songs of Gideon Klein and Ilse Weber – intimate and direct, intended to bolster up and comfort in those most bitter of times.

And then, on the opposite end of the spectrum, there was cabaret. Next to Westerbork, Theresienstadt was the only place in the occupied territories where Jewish cabaret was not prohibited. We bring songs from the cabarets by Hans Hofer and Leo Strauss.

Sára Gutvill

Sára Gutvill


Hungarian-born singer Sára Gutvill is most passionate about the genre of lied where music and poetry meet. She compiled this program as a musical memento of our shared heritage.

Elizaveta Agrafenina

Elizaveta Agrafenina


The young Russian-Norwegian soprano Elizaveta Agrafenina captivates her audience with the beauty of her voice and a dramatic expression of seemingly endless range.

Pierre Mak

Pierre Mak


Pierre Mak’s compassionate interpretation of Ullman’s cycle translates the profound understanding of the songs into a wide range of colors of his warm baritone voice. 

Jaap Kooi

Jaap Kooi


Jaap Kooi’s profound knowledge of the different styles, the expressivity of his sound and affinnity with poetry make him an ideal partner for lied repertoire. And when the voice fails, his playing is bound to express what is beyond words. 


Ilse Weber: Dobry den (arr. Winfried Radeke)
Ilse Weber: Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt 
Ilse Weber: Und der Regen rinnt 

Viktor Ullmann / Friedrich Hölderlin: Hölderlin-Lieder
1. Sonnenuntergang, 2. Der Frühling, 3. Abendphantasie 

Viktor Ullmann / Georg Trakl: Herbst 

Viktor Ullmann Hans Günther Adler: Immer inmitten… 
1. Immer inmitten, 2. Vor der Ewigkeit 

Viktor Ullmann Hans Günther AdlerDer Mensch und sein Tag, 12 Bilder von Hans Günther Adler, op.47
1. Gang in den Morgen, 2. Gesang, 3. Heimat, 4. Der Liebsten, 5. Blüten, 6. In der Stube, 7. Der Nachbar, 8. Gebete, 9. Im Walde, 10. Verdämmern, 11. Nacht, 12. Stille

Viktor Ullmann: Drei jiddische Lieder, op 53. 
1. Di Beryozkele, text: David Eynhorn, 2. Margeritkelekh, text: Z. Shneour, 3. A meydl in di yorn 

Gideon Klein: Bachuri Le’an Tisa 
Gideon Klein: Wiegenlied 
Ilse Weber: Wiegala 

Hans Hofer / Johann Strauss: Der Hauptplatz 
Leo Strauss / Dieter Gogg: Karussel 

Ilse Weber: Denn alles wird gut