Monumento per 6.000.000

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for orchestra | 14'
3 3 3 3 – 4 4 4 0 – perc. (8), harp, strings
World premiere: 25.04.1965, Bratislava; Czechoslovakian Radio Symphony Orchestra, c. Andrzej Markowski
Dedication: In memory of the Fallen, to remind the Survivors

After composing Panegyrikos and thanks to his experience with transforming structural units, flowing tempo and allocation of areas of sonic contrast, Kolman created an orchestral piece dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust, called Monumento per 6.000.000 [“Monument for Six Million”].

Written in 1964–1966 in one tripartite movement, the work is intended as a musical memorial to the victims of German concentration camps. Kolman’s return to the theme of World War II was not incidental; it was associated with his own actual experiences. He felt he had a personal obligation to erect a musical monument to honour the victims who were tormented to death and create a reminder of the horrors of misanthropy. Witness the dedication, which found its expression in the score’s musical language: “In memory of the Fallen, to remind the Survivors.”

Says Kolman: “I was an inmate of the Theresienstadt camp. Later on, I knew that I would compose a work for the victims of the Holocaust – most of my family were among them – because the memories are always present; we are condemned to carry them with us, like a backpack we cannot shed.”

Kolman revised the score in 1996, many years after its first performance; that alone attests to the gravity of his intentions when he first wrote it. His revision defines the structure more precisely, underlines the function of the percussion in the tectonic scheme and accentuates the effect of the final Jewish song – a solo violin sounds from somewhere beyond the orchestra.

Susanna Balaun
English translation: Grant Chorley