Annelies is a full-length choral work based on the Diary of Anne Frank. Annelies is the full first name of Anne Frank, now commonly referred to by her abbreviated forename, Anne. The music is by British composer James Whitbourn and the libretto is compiled from the diary by Melanie Challenger. Movements from Annelies were first performed at the National UK Holocaust Memorial Day in Westminster Hall, London in January 2005. The World Premiere of the full work followed in April 2005 at the Cadogan Hall, London, conducted by Leonard Slatkin with the Choir of Clare College Cambridge and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The work features fourteen movements:
- Introit – prelude (instrumental)
- The capture foretold
- The plan to go into hiding
- The last night at home and arrival at the Annex
- Life in hiding
- Fear of capture and the second break-in
- Sinfonia (Kyrie)
- The Dream
- Devastation of the outside world
- Passing of time
- The hope of liberation and a spring awakening
- The capture and the concentration camp
- Anne’s meditation
The US Premiere was April 2007 at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ, with Lynn Eustis (soprano) under James Jordan, with a reduced scoring for soprano, choir and chamber ensemble. The final chamber version calls for an ensemble comprising violin, cello, piano and clarinet and premiered in The Netherlands in June 2009 with Daniel Hope (violin) and Arianna Zukerman (soprano). In May, 2012, the piece was recorded for Naxos Records by the Westminster Williamson Voices under the direction of James Jordan with Soprano, Arianna Zukerman, the Lincoln Trio, and Clarinetist, Bharat Chandra. The recording was nominated for the 2014 Grammy for Best Choral Performance.
“It astounds me that nobody has set this profoundly moving and historically seminal work to music before, but perhaps it makes sense. Annelies Frank spoke more clearly for her people and her plight than any music could, and that’s saying something. At least, that was the case until now, because James Whitbourn is a terrific composer with terrific ideas. Still, terrific ideas do not a masterpiece make; it is Whitbourn’s ability to realize those ideas and stay faithful to the text that he’s able to turn a book into a painting.
The work is stunning in both its beauty and utter simplicity.” www.classical.net
Anne Frank is a Jewish girl who went into hiding during World War Two to escape from the Nazis. Together with seven others she hides in the secret annex at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam. After more than two years in hiding they are discovered and deported to concentration camps. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, is the only one of the eight people to survive. After her death Anne becomes world famous because of the diary she wrote while in hiding.
Anne Frank was born on June 12, 1929, in the German city of Frankfurt am Main, where her father’s family had lived for generations. Her sister, Margot, is three and a half years older. The economic crisis, Hitler’s rise to power and growing antisemitism put an end to the family’s carefree life. Like many other Jews, Otto Frank and his wife, Edith, decide to leave Germany.
Otto sets up a business in Amsterdam and the family finds a home on the Merwedeplein. The children go to school, Otto works hard at his business and Edith looks after the home. When the threat of war in Europe increases, Otto and his family try to emigrate to England or the USA but these attempts fail. On September 1, 1939, Germany invades Poland. It is the beginning of the Second World War.
For a while there is hope that The Netherlands will not become involved in the war, but on May 10, 1940, German troops invade the country. Five days later The Netherlands surrenders and is occupied. Anti-Jewish regulations soon follow. Jews are allowed into fewer and fewer places. Anne and Margot must attend a Jewish school and Otto loses his business.
When a renewed attempt to emigrate to the U.S.A. fails, Otto and Edith decide to go into hiding. Otto sets up a hiding place in the rear annexe of his firm at Prinsengracht 263. He does this together with his Jewish business partner Hermann van Pels and with help from his associates Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kugler.
On July 5, 1942, Margot Frank receives a call-up to report for a German work camp. The next day the Frank family goes into hiding. The Van Pels family follows a week later and in November 1942 they are joined by an eighth person: the dentist Fritz Pfeffer. They remain in the secret annexe for more than two years. In hiding, they have to keep very quiet, are often frightened and pass the time together as well as they can. They are helped by the office workers, Johannes Kleiman, Victor Kugler, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl; by Miep’s husband, Jan Gies; and by the warehouse manager, Johannes Voskuijl, Bep’s father. These helpers not only arrange food, clothes and books, they are the group’s contact with the outside world.
Shortly before going into hiding Anne receives a diary for her birthday. She starts writing straightaway and during her time in hiding she writes about events in the secret annex and about herself. Her diary is a great support to her. Anne also writes short stories and collects quotations from other writers in her ‘book of beautiful sentences’. When the Dutch minister of education in exile in London appeals on British radio for people to keep war diaries, Anne decides to edit her diary and create a novel called ‘The Secret Annex’. She starts to rewrite, but she and the others are discovered and arrested before she has finished.
On August 4, 1944, they are found and arrested, along with their helpers Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kugler. They pass from the security service headquarters and prison to the transit camp Westerbork, from where they are deported to Auschwitz. The two helpers are sent to the Amersfoort camp. Johannes Kleiman is released shortly after his arrest and six months later Victor Kugler escapes. Immediately after the arrests Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl rescue Anne’s diary and papers that have been left behind in the secret annex. Despite intensive investigations it has never been clear how the hiding place was discovered.
THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL
The Diary of a Young Girl, also known as The Diary of Anne Frank, is a book of the writings by Anne Frank while she was in hiding for two years with her family during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. The family was apprehended in 1944, and Anne Frank died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. The diary was retrieved by Miep Gies, who gave it to Anne’s father, Otto Frank, the family’s only known survivor, just after the war was over. The diary has since been published in more than 60 languages.
First published under the title Het Achterhuis. Dagboekbrieven 14 Juni 1942 – 1 Augustus 1944 (The Annex: Diary Notes 14 June 1942 – 1 August 1944) by Contact Publishing in Amsterdam in 1947, the diary received widespread critical and popular attention on the appearance of its English language translation Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Doubleday & Company (United States) and Valentine Mitchell (United Kingdom) in 1952. Its popularity inspired the 1955 play The Diary of Anne Frank by the screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, which they adapted for the screen for the 1959 movie version. The book is included in several lists of the top books of the 20th century.
MAC Event Page:
Youtube performance of the chamber version of Annelies:
Anne Frank website:
Soprano soloist Lindsay Kesselman: