Pictures from the Private Collection of God
World premiere: May 11, 2009, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA, at Music of Remembrance's Holocaust Remembrance Day concert.
Music of Remembrance commissioned Israeli composer Aharon Harlap to set his Pictures from the Private Collection of God for baritone and mezzo soprano, and string quintet and oboe. The song cycle, based on the poetry of Yaakov Barzilai, a Hungarian Holocaust survivor, was sung by baritone Morgan Smith and mezzo soprano Angela Niederloh. The Jerusalem Post described an earlier version of the work glowingly: "Harlap's work is evocative, original and beautiful, synthesizing American Neo-Romanticisim, Yiddish music and Israeli styles in an atmosphere all its own. The form is effectively paced, and was sustained here with varied, unobtrusive ostinato on the strings. " Jewish Entertainment Net called the piece "hauntingly beautiful," and the director of Yad Vashem said it was a "very moving performance."