At the end of 2021, Federal Minister Karoline Edtstadler launched the Klangwelten Kanzleramt. As part of the National Strategy against Anti-Semitism, this series of events was tasked with making Jewish life in Austria visible. I was given the great privilege of curating this concert series. My goal was to offer a confident and hopeful perspective after the pandemic.
In four events spread over the seasons, we celebrated life musically and poetically in the concerts - with lots of humour, varied music and texts that were meant to inspire a variety of insights about Judaism.
"Sweet and bitter" was the programme, for the last concert in this Reieh. Ethel Merhaut and her ensemble spanned a musical arc from Europe to the USA, connecting the German-language and Yiddish music scenes of the 1920s. Songs by Jewish composers who fled in the 1930s, songs from the American Yiddish Theatre round off the performance. Together with her outstanding ensemble, the singer strolled virtuously between chanson, jazz and swing, transporting the audience to the golden era of film and light music.
The conclusion of the concert series fell between two important Jewish holidays. Purim and Passover. Purim, a joyous festival on which we commemorate the salvation of the Jews in Persia through the efforts of the courageous Queen Esther. And Passover, the festival that will soon be upon us, when we remember the liberation from slavery in Egypt. Both are tragic events in Jewish history that turned out for the good. I am grateful to have been able to curate this series!