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Live Music: Diaries Of Hope

Innocence shines amid the horrors of death camps

Diaries Of Hope

Barbican Hall, London EC2

5 Stars

After visiting the Yad washem museum in Jerusalem, Zbigniew Preisner was haunted by an exhibition dedicated to children who perished in the Holocaust.

His companion during the trip, filmmaker Krzysztof Kieslowski of the Three Colours trilogy renown, encouraged him to describe the experience musically and the idea for Diaries Of Hope was born.

Preisner was inspired by texts written by Polish children, among them the diaries of Rutka Laskier - not unlike those of Anne Frank - and Dawid Rubinowicz, along with the poems of Abram Koplowicz and Abram Cytryn.

With their childlike faith in the future, they are at the crux of the music's imagery.

Part oratorium, part requiem this sombre opus overwhelms completely with the density of its soundscape.

With Preisner conducting, the haunting choral and orchestral support for the memorably nuanced voices of Lisa Gerrard and Archie Buchanan was immaculate, reflecting every subtle chromatic of the Diary's palette.

Adam Klocek's cello provided a moving counterpoint as Buchanan delivered Cytryn's meditative lines while Konrad Matylo's piano wove moments of inspired respite. The string section delicately interposed the leitmotif of a gentle, melancholy waltz - a reminder perhaps of the innocence of children playing in the midst of horror.

Preisner scored a historic triumph which has an impact beyond the standing ovation on the night and the moving encores at the end. Diaries Of Hope are laden with the deepest humanity and despite the sorrow they express they will remain forever uplifting.

Krystyna Zavisha

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