Out of the Darkness

Gertrud Kolmar was one of the estimated 1.1 million Jews who died in Auschwitz. Born Gertrud Käthe Chodziesner in Berlin in 1894, she is regarded as one of the finest poets in the German language. One of her best known poems is Aus Dem Dunkel - Out of the Darkness. In July 1941 Gertrud Kolmar was inducted into forced labour in a Nazi armaments factory, and was transported to Auschwitz in March 1943. The date of her death is not known.

Composer Julian Marshall has written a new chamber cantata for eight voices, mezzo soprano and two cellos titled Out of the Darkness which sets the poetry of Gertrud Kolmar. Julian Marshall was educated at Dartington Hall School and The Royal College of Music and had a successful career as a rock musician before returning to classical music in the late 1990s. He was a member of the band Marshall Hain whose 1978 hit single Dancing in the City (YouTube clip here) sold more than 2 million copies.

Out of the Darkness is being premiered in Winchester and London in March 2009 as part of a programme that also includes William Byrd’s 4-part Mass and music by by Arvo Pärt and Gyorgy Ligeti. A commercial recording of Out of the Darkness is also under discussion. More details from the project website. A rare performance for a Holocaust opera here.

Collage of Gertrud Kolmar (c) On An Overgrown Path 2009. English translation of Out of Darkness here. Report errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk


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