Homecoming via A Survivor from Warsaw
Hermann Scherchen conducted the Austrian premiere of A Survivor from Warsaw on April 10, 1951, at the Fourth International Music Fest in Vienna. The performance is situated in the context of Austria's Allied occupation, as well as Austria's embrace of Allied-conferred “first-victim status,” which held that Austria was Hitler's first victim and not accountable for wartime events, including the Holocaust. Schoenberg was ambivalent about reengaging with Viennese musical life, as is evident in correspondence between the composer and his former student H. E. Apostel, the administrator Egon Seefehlner, and Scherchen. The Viennese performance is notable because the English-language narration was translated into and performed in German in a version by Hanns von Winter, a former Nazi. The reviews reflect the partisanship of their sponsoring political entities, Allied or otherwise, and make reference to Thomas Mann's novel Doctor Faustus and to Gustav Mahler.
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