The culmination of a long association with pianist Matthew Mills, Bagatelles represents some 30 years of piano music by British composer Bernard Hughes.
I have been commissioned to write a composition in memory of Sir Martin Gilbert, who was Churchill’s biographer and a world expert on the Holocaust. This article, titled ‘A Journey’ in homage to Gilbert’s book Holocaust Journey, describes my journey to create a new composition incorporating music written and played in Auschwitz, that has been lost to us until now.
My first thought was: who am I to accept such a commission? I am 24 years old, and the Second World War ended nearly 50 years before I was born. I do not know anyone who was killed in or survived the Holocaust, and I am neither Jewish nor Polish as were 95% of those who perished in Auschwitz. But I am human, and the Holocaust was humanity’s greatest tragedy with millions of people murdered, and vast number of those perished in the living hell that was Auschwitz. I therefore readily accepted this commission, not only to celebrate Sir Martin and his work, but also to contribute my remembrance, and play my small part in ensuring that these histories are not forgotten. Particularly now that the UK has chosen to leave the EU, the importance of remembering the war and a divided Europe has become ever more critical.
Over these next few posts, I will be sharing my experience of creating this work. I hope you can join me on this journey.