1: Ellwood Derr: I Never Saw Another Butterfly

Olivia Betzen, soprano
Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, saxophone
Mariah Mlynarek, piano

Piece 1 from “Terror and Transcendence,” a musical exploration of the worst and best of humankind. Video by Dave Schall Acoustic: daveschallacoustic.com

I. Terezín [Theresienstadt]
II. The Butterfly
III. The Old Man
IV. Fear
V. The Garden

“WAR AND TERROR, heaven and love. While we all know we can build meaningful relationships on love, we also must remember that we, the human race, have the capacity to utterly destroy the world around us. Hopefully, this program captures this duality.

WE BEGIN in Terezín, a Nazi concentration camp in the 1940s; a place where certain of our brethren committed unconscionable acts against our others. Children imprisoned in the camp wrote the poems Ellwood Derr set in his song cycle, I Never Saw Another Butterfly. In them, you will hear of the filth of the ghetto, the inhumanity of feeding prisoners food they cannot eat, and the lifelessness of this place, where the dandelion weeds are its most beautiful flowers and butterflies do not live.

You also will hear in the tone of text the troubling agedness of these young teenagers, who wonder whether death is better than watching their friends perish, and who recognize that before the year turns, more innocent children will have died. They die in the name of nationalism, symbolized in Fear by the loud and distorted Nazi national anthem.”

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