Letter to Warsaw

Year of Premiere: 
2004
Composer: 
Thomas Pasatieri

World premiere: May 10, 2004, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA at Music of Remembrance’s Holocaust Remembrance Day concert. Guest soprano Jane Eaglen with MOR musicians, led by Gerard Schwarz.

Recording: Letter to Warsaw is recorded on Naxos American Classics (8.559219). MOR musicians, led by Gerard Schwarz, are joined by soprano Jane Eaglen.

Letter to Warsaw is the extraordinary musical setting of one woman’s intimate first-hand account of life in the grip of the Holocaust. American composer Thomas Pasatieri created this powerful song cycle in 2003, setting six texts by poet/cabaret artist Pola Braun. Braun wrote these texts while in the Warsaw ghetto and in the Majdanek concentration camp, where she perished in 1943. Letter to Warsaw opens a window to the emotional life of all women trapped in the web of Holocaust tragedy. Braun’s voice of witness ensures that she will not be swallowed up by the anonymity of history. Through Pastieri’s music, her words tell a story and remind us that each victim of the Holocaust was an individual. Letter to Warsaw was composed for soprano Jane Eaglen and conductor Gerard Schwarz. It is dedicated to Music of Remembrance’s founder and artistic director, Mina Miller.

Thomas Pasatieri offers the following remarks:

In January of 2003, MOR Artistic Director Mina Miller approached me about writing a song cycle based on six unpublished texts by the Polish cabaret artist Pola Braun. These texts were composed while Braun was incarcerated in the Warsaw ghetto and in the concentration camp Majdanek. Two of the texts were originally set to music that no longer exists. I was inspired by these poems, and their descriptions of a woman's loss of freedom and her home. That’s how it all began. I am so fortunate to have had such incredible texts to set.