Brundibár Arts Festival: Events 2025


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SATURDAY, 18TH JANUARY 2025, 19:00
"Composers forced to exile to the US" Opening Concert
Jesmond United Reform Church
Artists: TBC

19:00 Pre-Concert talk by Michael Haas (Ph. Dr. Senior Researcher at Exil Arte Zentrum in Vienna, Austria)

Programme (19:30):
M.Castelnuovo-Tedesco: 3 Shepardic Songs
E Krenek: Clarinet Trio op.108
F.Waxman: Memories of Childhood
D. Milhaud: Cantate de la Guerre
E.Toch: Adagio for clarinet & piano
A.Schoenberg: Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte
THURSDAY, 23rd JANUARY 2025, 19:30
Cabaret "What a Life?!" by Hans Gál
Gosforth Civic Theatre
Artists: TBC

In May 1940, Nazi-Germany launched a surprise attack on Belgium and the Netherlands. Faced with the threat of an invasion and in fear of sabotage, the British Government embarked on a policy of mass internment of German and Austrian Nationals in the United Kingdom. The large majority of the prisoners were Jewish and other refugees who had escaped persecution by the Nazi Regime and were ready to fight against the Nazis together with the British.
They had to stay in the camps for many months until the authorities had dealt with each case individually. Most of the internees were brought to the Isle of Man, which had already been used for internment during World War One.
The composer Hans Gál (1890-1987) became a leading member of the arts committee at Central Camp in the capital Douglas.
After several successful concerts of classical music, the arts committee decided to put on a comic revue to provide much needed light entertainment. It was the brainchild of the Austrian film director Georg Höllering (1897-1980), who had worked with Berthold Brecht on the film ‘Kuhle Wampe’ in 1932. He asked Gál to compose the music for it and called it ‘What a Life!’.
The songs are parodies of actual life in the camp, making fun of the seagulls, the barbed wire, the gender separation, the fitness routine, cleaning up, sharing double beds and observing the blackout.
Unfortunately, the text of the spoken dialogue scenes that were performed between the musical numbers does not survive. What we do have are the songs and instrumental numbers from Gál’s manuscripts, and his wonderful diary ‘Music behind Barbed Wire’, which recounts the whole episode of internment and the creation of the revue in great detail. In performances, we will intersperse the songs with relevant excerpts from Gál’s diary to put them in context. The excerpts have been included with kind permission from Eva Fox-Gál.

SUNDAY, 26TH JANUARY 2025, 19:30
“In Exile” Closing Concert
Kings Hall, Newcastle University
Artists: TBC

S.Rachmaninov: Arrangement of Mussorgsky Hopak for violin & piano
E Toch: String Trio op.63
R.Kahn: 3 pieces for cello op.25
F.Chopin: Ballade no.1 in G minor
B.Martinu: Fantasia H 301
Special Festival Commission 2025