Music from the silence before the storm
1937: an imminent holocaust was threatening Europe. In November, during his so-called ‘Fu?hrer’ conference, Adolf Hitler revealed his war plans. He was planning to use aggression in order to extend the German Empire and expand the Lebensraum’ of the German people. On the one hand, Hitler tried to create the necessary goodwill by means of treaties: thus he signed a non-aggression pact with the British prime minister Chamberlain during the Munich conference. On the other hand, these treaties turned out to be worth less than the paper on which they had been written. Hitler’s urge to expand could not be checked. Before the year 1939 came to an end, Czechoslovakia and Austria had already been annexed and Poland attacked. What could a composer do in these uncertain times? Could he make a stand in his work against aggression and violence? Could music be used to propagate political ideas? The three works on this CD were written between 1937 and 1939 in England, Germany and Hungary. The three composers were both pacifists and humanists. All three were finally forced to flee: be it literally, by leaving for the United States, or figuratively speaking, by means of self-imposed exile.