Songs from Terezín was co-commissioned by the Annapolis Brass Quintet and the Brass Chamber Music Society of Annapolis.
The English translations of the original Czech texts are taken from the book I never saw another butterfly: Children’s Drawings and Poems from Terezín Concentration Camp 1942-1944. I had been familiar with these poems for some time, and I had always wanted to set them to music. When the Annapolis Brass Quintet approached me with the idea of writing an inspirational piece for brass quintet and chamber chorus, these poems seemed perfect. They are certainly inspirational, but beyond inspiration, they cover a range of feelings, from nostalgia to despair to open optimism.
Songs from Terezín was hailed as “one of the brightest premieres heard recently in Baltimore” by the Baltimore Evening Sun. The Columbia Flier called it “some of the most compelling new music around…assembled with unusual skill.”
Here’s the recording of the premiere performance on April 7, 1991, with the Morgan State University Singers and the Annapolis Brass Quintet, conducted by Dr. Nathan Carter.