Collaborating with the Past| 10mins
Director: Rita Blitt | Producer: Rita Blitt
Focus Years: 2011 | Country: United States
"The Third Reich silenced two generations of composers and with them, an entire musical heritage." -conductor James Conlon
In homage to the Jewish artists whose works were silenced by Hitler, artist Rita Blitt created "Collaborating with the Past," a ten-minute, multimedia film. The passionate, evocative music of Czech-Jewish composer Pavel Haas is synchronized with the artistâ€™s spontaneous, minimal line drawings, fading in and out across the screen in expressive patterns and rhythms.
Haas's string quartet, "From the Monkey Mountains" recalls a happy era of his youth, when he spent summer vacations in the Czech-Moravian highlands near Brno. The Czech composer studied with Leos Janacek and incorporated elements of folk music and jazz in his compositions. Together with many Jewish musicians, intellectuals, artists, and children, Haas was deported by the Nazis to the Terezin transit camp near Prague in 1941. There, he joined colleagues in composing and performing music, despite the brutal conditions of the camp. He died at Auschwitz in 1944 at age 43.
Rita Blitt has been described as a conductor of color and light. Her musical, flowing drawings synthesize the spirited movements and lyrical passages of Haasâ€™ composition as she achieves her own personal and artistic collaboration with the past.
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