Musical Work Obscured by Nazis Performed in Israel

A long-obscured oratorio by Paul Ben-Haim will receive its first Israeli performance in Tel Aviv.(Photo: Saul Adereth (Flickr))
A long-obscured oratorio by Paul Ben-Haim will receive its first Israeli performance in Tel Aviv.(Photo: Saul Adereth (Flickr))

An oratorio by Jewish composer Paul Ben-Haim that languished in oblivion during and for decades after Germany’s Nazi rule and that has been deemed a “masterpiece” was given its first performance yesterday in Israel by the Israel Philharmonic, the German Motet Choir and vocal soloists, according to a report in Haaretz.

Ben-Haim, now regarded as one of Israel’s most important composers, composed the oratorio, Joram, in 1933, just as Hitler rose to power as chancellor of the Third Reich, and just after Ben-Haim had been dismissed from his position as music director of the Augsburg Opera House. Ben-Haim went to Israel later the same year, but had shelved the oratorio indefinitely until, 40 years later, an Israeli musicologist found the oratorio among Ben-Haim’s belongings while researching a biography of the composer.

Joram had its world premier in 2008 in Germany.

Read more:  Lost in 1933 Germany, Jewish Composer’s Grand Opus Finally Reaches Israeli Stage (Haaretz)

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