PROGRAM NOTE by Lori Laitman
When Music of Remembrance asked me to compose a piece for its 25th season, I decided to explore the impact of the Holocaust on the next generation. Poet Susan de Sola (who died unexpectedly in October 2021) lost many of her relatives in the Shoah, and her poem Wertheim Park is a dramatic depiction of the annual Holocaust memorial march and its emotional impact on her. As with all my vocal works, the text was paramount in determining my approach to the composition, and my goal was to illuminate and magnify de Sola’s words. The work incorporates “motifs” associated with particular phrases (for example, “She gestured to her purse, and muttered work”), and once associated with these words, the music may later be separated from the words and repeated by the instruments to reinforce the association. Also woven throughout are two musical themes from Vedem. Associated with David Mason’s words, “Oh, hear my story now” and “I am nothing without memory,” they further underline the importance that memory must play when we speak about the Holocaust.