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The seventh single is a harpsichord from the gates of hell

The composer Hans Krasa was one of the leaders of cultural activity in the Terezin concentration camp. On October 17, 1944, together with Victor Ulmann and most others in the cultural group, he was sent to his death in Auschwitz.

Krasa’s gripping chamber music for harpsichord and seven instruments is played here by Zuzana Růžičková and others. We are grateful to Mahan Esfahani for nudging us towards it as Slipped Disc’s seventh seasonal single.

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  1. It might be worth pointing out that Zuzana Růžičková herself went through the gates of hell, to use your metaphor: in 1942 she was interned, with her family, in Terezín, whence she and her mother were shunted off to Auschwitz. From there they were sent to Hamburg as slave labourers. Zuzana ended the war with a stint in Bergen-Belsen.

    FYI, when I last spoke to her, about a year ago, she warned me that she was very ill but I am pleased to see she is still with us. She will celebrate her 86th birthday on 14 January.

    • Miriam Shapiro says:

      This is a Happy Birthday greeting to Ms. Ruzickova, if you would pass it along to her. From the daughter of one of her fellow prisoners, Lilly Susskind of Prosnitz, who has since passed away in 1971 in Israel. Happy Birthday and thank you so much for your music! Sincerely, Miriam Shapiro, nee Baumgarten-Susskind.

  2. Petros Linardos says:

    What kind of harpsichord is it? What kind of harpsichord would be appropriate for this music? I feel pretty helpless on this question.

  3. ruben greenberg says:

    What a gripping, haunting piece! Thank you and for letting us know it and know about it. I can’t wait to play it myself. I imagine the harpsichord is a big extinct Pleyel like the one that was used for the de Falla Concerto. This will make performance of this work difficult as these instruments are not readily available. I would be happy if a specialist could tell me if this actually is a Pleyel. If this were not the case, the harpsichord would have to be amplified seeing as the balance between the wind instruments and the harpsichord would be difficult indeed to achieve.

  4. Michael Hurshell says:

    I am very fond of Krása’s music. We recently performed my arrangement of his Passacaglia & Fuge in Berlin – his last surviving work. The ability to produce such art in unimaginable circumstances is an imperishable monument to the human spirit.

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