for Visual Music Artists, Writers, and Venues
I must have been 6 or 7 years old when I found a book hidden in the attic. I believe it was “Le livre d’or de la Résistance belge” (“The Golden Book of the Belgian Resistance”).
That must have been around 1952-53.
I saw photos in that book that had an immense impact on my life, photos of heaps of dead bodies being shoved in mass-graves by bulldozers, huge piles of human hair, teeth, and much more, photos of faces that made me aware of a depth of despair I could never have imagined on my own.
Those photos had been taken by Russian and American soldiers as they came upon death camps and liberated them.
I then made a vow, which I have upheld till now: to never have anything to do with war and armies.
When Igor Tkachenko sent me his “Lacrimosa” recording, I immediately knew it was going to be a difficult journey to set images to that music, I could sense right away the depth of Igor’s composition.
But that was before I started listening to it with my eyes.
That’s when all those images came back so vividly, I could not work as usual (long hours diving in the one piece), I had to proceed in cautious shortened work sessions.
I wrote to Igor to share what I was experiencing, that is when he told me he had written this piece in memory of his father, and that it had taken him several years to attempt it, but that it came out in just a few short days.
Igor’s father barely survived the war (in Odessa), much of his family did not, he told me stories of how some of them died, just writing these words here brings tears to my eyes…
He added: "It is incredibly gratifying that this music was able to elicit images of the camps in your mind. This piece is about them, and about all the victims of the war.”
So here’s “Lacrimosa,” possibly in its final garb, maybe still awaiting revisions, but it has reached a point which is as far as I can take it, for now.
May all the countless victims of war rest in peace (will we ever learn?).
With Nina Beilina, violin, and the Bacchanalia Orchestra .
Music performed and recorded live at Merkin Hall, NY in April 2007.
Album of works done with Igor: https://vimeo.com/album/4294176
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