OP3400. DER KAISER VON ATLANTIS / Hölderlin-Lieder (both Viktor Ullmann, from 1943 until 1944) (Entartete Musik), recorded 1993, w.Lothar Zagrosek Cond. Gewandhausorchester Leipzig; Walter Berry, Franz Mazura, Michael Kraus, Herbert Lippert, Martin Petzold, Christiane Oelze, Iris Vermillion & Jonathan Alder (Pf.). London 440 854, w.Elaborate 35pp. Libretto-Booklet in German & English. Long out-of-print, Final Copy!- 028944085426
“Victor Ullman was originally sent to Treblinka and ultimately died in Auschwitz-Birkenau, because he was of Jewish descent. This opera was written within the camp and shows that music is a wonderful form of communication.
What kind of music can an artist write in a totally dysfunctional and abusive environment, where hope gives way to resignation and life is endured, and death seems to be inevitable, but slowly coming?
I saw a live performance of this at Snape Maltings in Suffolk England about 4 years ago in a production which is not as good as the recording under review and I was moved to tears. This recording does the same and is not to played when one is depressed, or at least I would not.
This was recorded when the Decca label (in UK) was investigating and recording many works by composers who were sent to concentration camps, especially Treblinka which the Nazis set up as some kind of perverse showcase.
I believe that perhaps more of this opera should be heard and staged as it serves as a living memory to those who died, Jews, Slavs, Romans, political prisoners and homosexuals and others in these atrocious places. This recording serves this purpose well.”
- R. Equus