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Simon Laks (1901-1983), who moved from Warsaw to Paris in 1926 at the age of 25, belonged to the large group of composers from Central and Eastern European countries who went down in 20th-century music history as the „École de Paris“. Slavic temperament amalgamated in their music with French esprit, the folklore of their native countries combined with the stylistic elements of neoclassicism and jazz typical of the time. As a member of the „Association of Young Polish Musicians“, Laks quickly made his way into French musical life. However, his career was ended with the beginning of World War 2 due to the collaboration of the Vichy government with Nazi Germany. Internment in 1941 was followed by deportation to Auschwitz in 1942. Laks survived the Shoah as a member and later leader of a camp band in Birkenau, which he testified to in his moving book Music in Auschwitz.
After the traumatic experiences, Laks did not return to regular compositional activity until the 1960s, producing an opera, songs, and chamber music works, some of which were awarded important composition prizes. At the peak of this optimistic creative phase, he composed incidental music for Peretz Hirschbein's famous Yiddish comedy Dem Schmids Techter (The Blacksmith's Daughters), which premiered in New York in 1918, for a new production of the play at the Théâtre de l’Entrepôt in Paris. Along with Prokofiev's Overture on Hebrew Themes and Shostakovich's cycle From Yiddish (Jewish) Folk Poetry, it is one of the most significant 20th-century explorations of art music with Jewish folklore – homage to a culture irreparably destroyed.
From the original score, Holger Groschopp compiled two suites, for violoncello and piano and piano solo, that capture the essence of Lak‘s enchanting drama music. The premiere recording of the suites with Holger Groschopp and Adele Bitter was awarded the Opus Klassik 2023 in the category Editorial Achievement of the Year.
Zur Bearbeitung - About the arrangement - Au sujet de l’arrangement - O opracowaniu
I Ouverture - II Berceuse - III Interlude - IV Valse - V Final (Chanson et Danse)