The first disc of the Project Paloma series starts with the music of five composers who were writing in the shadow of the rising political tensions in Europe.
We begin with Frank Martin’s darkly dramatic, turbulent ‘Ballade’, written for the Geneva International competition on the very brink of the war in 1939.
Carl Frühling’s ‘Fantasy’ from a decade earlier was discovered in a Vienna library some seventy after its composition, its dusty cover chillingly marked with the letter J contained within a Star of David and the word “verboten”.
Boris Blacher’s music was banned by the Nazis for its “degenerate” artistic style. This short sonata in the dry, spare idiom typical of the Berlin avant-garde, exudes a defiant lightness.
The three solo piano pieces by Hans Gál are also light, even schmaltzy; the lush sweetness maybe a refuge from the horrors around or perhaps looking back to a vanished world. In the year they were written their composer was summarily ousted as director of the Mainz conservatory due to his Jewish heritage.
Paul Hindemith completed the Sonata for Flute and Piano in 1936 before resigning from his post at the Berlin Hochschule. The Nazi regime forbade the premiere performance in Berlin and it was instead premiered by Georges Barrère in Washington the following year.