Music of the Holocaust: Highlights from the Collection

Songs of the ghettos, concentration camps, and World War II partisan outposts

Music of Protest

 

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
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The synagogue in Oberramstadt, Germany, burns during <i>Kristallnacht</i>. November 9-10, 1938.
The synagogue in Oberramstadt, Germany, burns during Kristallnacht. November 9-10, 1938.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
A crowd watches as a synagogue burns during <i>Kristallnacht</i>. Graz, Austria, November 9-10, 1938.
A crowd watches as a synagogue burns during Kristallnacht. Graz, Austria, November 9-10, 1938.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
A Child of Our Time

London, 1941

Libretto by: Sir Michael Tippett

Music by: Sir Michael Tippett

Language: English

 

Performed by City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Michael Tippett, Birmingham, England, October 1991.

English composer Michael Tippett (1905–1997), a committed pacifist, conceived the oratorio A Child of Our Time after he learned of the November 1938 Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) pogrom in Germany and Austria. Wishing to communicate a universal message of tolerance, Tippett omitted any reference to current events in his libretto. He drew musical inspiration from baroque-era composers Bach and Handel and from African American spirituals. A Child of Our Time, named after a novel by anti-Nazi writer Odon von Horwath, was completed in 1941 and first performed in London in March 1944. The excerpted passage below occurs at the beginning of Part II:

A star rises in mid-winter.
Behold the man! Behold the man!
The scape-goat! The scape-goat!
The child of our time.

Recording Source:

Michael Tippett, A Child of Our Time. Collins Classics CD 13392. Schott Music.

Related Links:

Kristallnacht (article in the USHMM’s Holocaust Encyclopedia)

Michael Tippett Web site

 

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