- The Washington Times - Friday, May 13, 2005

Festa della Voce’s ‘Made in Switzerland’

3:30 p.m. Sunday

Embassy of Switzerland, 2900 Cathedral Ave. NW

WHAT: A recital with a Swiss motif, featuring works by Othmar Schoeck, Hermann Suter, Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Peter Tchaikovsky, Arthur Honegger, Johannes Brahms, and Paul Kletzki. A pre-concert lecture (at 3 p.m.) on Mr. Kletzki — a Jewish conductor whose compositional output was almost obliterated by the Nazis — will be presented by Timothy Jackson, a professor at North Texas University and director of the Lost Composer Project.

BACKGROUND: Born in Poland in 1900, Mr. Kletzki was a successful composer in the 1930s. However, in their zeal to persecute Jews, the Nazis labeled works by Jewish composers “degenerate” and purged them from the repertoire. In Mr. Kletzki’s case, they destroyed the printing plates of all his published works they could find. He escaped the Nazis, eventually settling in Switzerland. Yet he lost any further desire to compose and began his second career as a conductor. He died in 1973.

PERFORMERS: Founded in 1998, the District-based Festa della Voce has developed an eclectic repertoire of primarily vocal chamber music. Performing Sunday are soprano Mary McReynolds, mezzo Jessi Baden, tenor Peter Joshua Burroughs, baritone James Rogers and pianists Kathryn Brake and Carlos Cesar Rodriguez.

WHY SHOULD YOU GO? Many of the Jewish composers the Nazis tried to suppress (such as Mr. Kletzki, Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Alexander Zemlinsky) wrote music people wanted to hear. A treasure trove of Mr. Kletzki’s compositions, long thought lost, was discovered in a trunk in a basement in Milan in the 1960s. One of these, “Drei Gesange” (“Three Songs”), Op. 11, will receive its world premiere Sunday.

— T. L. Ponick

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