An unusual concert in Washington

27-04-2001

Prisoners in DahauPrisoners in Dahau The work of the Czech composer Karel Reiner is not often played outside this country, and even here he is far from being a household name. But this weekend's concert should help to draw attention to one of the most interesting Czech composers of the 20th century. During the Second World War, Karel Reiner and his wife survived the horrors of Auschwitz and Dachau, and this is how one of the foremost American soloists, the bassoonist, Lynn Gaubatz, came to be interested in his work. She has been researching and performing music banned by the Nazis for political or racial reasons, and her concert in Washington this weekend forms part of this project. A few days ago I spoke with Lynn Gaubatz to find out more.

LYNN GAUBATZ: For a couple of years now I've been researching this music. It was called 'entartete Musik' in German - or degenerate music - because it was by the undesirable elements, they thought. I'd been looking for it and visited the office in Vienna of a group called the Orpheus Trust, which is also researching and trying to find and bring forward this music. My fear with some of the music is that, if it hasn't been published or performed recently, it could be lost forever, and I didn't want that to happen. So I went and met with the people there and looked through a list of composers, to see what they had for my instrument, and there were two pieces listed by Karel Reiner.

RADIO PRAGUE: And I gather that in the course of your research you managed to talk to his widow as well.

LG: It was so exciting. I wrote her after I had been in Vienna in December and asked for original copies of the music, and she wrote back immediately with originals of both of his pieces, and a lovely letter with her phone number. So I called her and she was thrilled. We talked for almost an hour and it was so exciting to speak with her, and she's so happy that this music will be played again.

RP: You will be performing in the United States at the Kennedy Center, but at the same time the concert will be going out to listeners anywhere in the world, who can listen to it on the Internet. Is that right?

LG: That's exactly right, and that's why I love doing these performances. This was all music that was banned and burned and supposed to be buried forever by the Nazi regime. Those guys are mostly dead. This music will live on. People can hear it now. Anyone in the world with a computer can hear this either during the performance, which in Central European Time will be at midnight unfortunately, but immediately afterwards you can find it online in the Kennedy Center archive, and you can hear it forever.

And you can hear Lynn Gaubatz's concert of Karel Reiner's work on www.kennedy-center.org/programs/millennium

27-04-2001