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Premiere 21 February 2016


16 Minutes


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Rudolf and Jeanette was written in 2007 for a chamber ensemble of 14 players, premiered in Seattle, Washington by the Music of Remembrance series. A year later I revised it slightly and orchestrated it for large orchestra. That version was premiered in Zagreb by the Zagreb Philharmonic. My father’s Grandmother came from Rogaska Slatina in what is now Slovenia but was Austro-Hungary when she was born. It became Yugoslavia and my parents were able to acquire visas to come to the US in 1939 from Zagreb. They were expelled from medical school in Vienna in 1938 and finished school in Basel, so doing the premiere of Rudolf and Jeanette in Zagreb was very meaningful for me.

I composed this work in memory of my mother’s parents Rudolf and Jeanette Weiss, who, on January 26th 1942, were shot into an open grave at the concentration camp in Riga, Latvia. Rudolf was 60 and Jeanette was 54. My grandparents lived in Vienna and when their exit visa to come to the US was denied, their fate was sealed in that decision. I have composed this work as a tone poem, so that through music I can honor the grandparents I never knew.

The work is in five sections played without pause. The introduction is intended to be somewhat unsettling. A haunting melody, representing the uncertainty of the times, is played by the flute, accompanied primarily by harp and celesta.The clarinet choir takes up the melody and then a little aria for the soprano saxophone is added. After a repeat of the flute melody payed in counterpoint to the saxophone theme now played by the oboe and English horn, part two begins, which is the love music representing the bond and great love that Rudolf and Jeanette had. A thorny transition leads directly to the Nazi march theme, which is based on the opening material of the flute, and played initially by the horn section. The anger and hostility of the march ends abruptly and a group of Viennese waltzes, nostalgic memories, are played. These reminiscences are interrupted by disturbing material interjected during the waltz sequence, the music of the march, to make sure that these reminiscences do not exist without the reality of the times. The final waltz is transformed from C major the C minor with an obligato played by the euphonium and leads directly into the funeral march or death march, as my Grandparents were denied the dignity of a funeral. I end my work with the return of the same haunting chords that conclude the opening section.