Jacqueline Cole’s Wigmore Hall [London UK] recital on the 29th October 2003 remembered and commemorated the 16th of October 1944 when Viktor Ullmann and his friends were transported to their deaths in Auschwitz Birkenau.

Auschwitz Birkenau  –  photograph courtesy of Renata Karpinska

In late 2003, Gaby Flatow, Director of the Hans Krasa Foundation in Terezin invited me to give a recital in what had been the Ghetto Police Station, Theresienstadt to commemorate Ullmann’s fateful departure “on the transport to the east” 16th October 1944.

The concert took place on the 16th October 2003. A work by an English composer was a request so I chose the rarely heard Sonata In E Minor by John Ireland, a contemporary of Ullmann.

Professor Dr David Bloch then sometime after informed me of a strange coincidence.

The International Society for New Music held at Geneva Music Festival in 1929 premiered Ullmann’s Schoenberg Variations for Piano with John Irelands’s Sonatine in the same programme.

Fugue Prague (19th July 1942) by Siegmund Schul (1916-1944) a pupil of Viktor Ullmann.
London premiere performance

The 7th Sonata was Ullmann’s final work, completed in Theresienstadt on 22nd August 1944 and dedicated to his children.

The unsurpassed transcendental genius of Johann Sebastian Bach was a lifelong inspiration for Ullmann, who inscribed the composer’s name BACH within the last few bars of his 7th Sonata.

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