We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The Jewish-born Roman Catholic convert Czech composer Viktor Ullmann's Der Kaiser Von Atlantiswas his last composition in the Terezin concentration camp outside Prague before he was shipped to Auschwitz in 1944 and gassed on arrival.
One of the remarkable stories of the era is about all of the music in the camps, and Terezin had more than its share of talent. The Nazis and even the SS loved music and thus encouraged camp musicianship. Mrs. BD recently heard a Terezin survivor speak about being in the choir there at age 11. (140,000 passed through Terezin: 20,000 were liberated at the end.)
In this short (50+ min.) modernist opera, the Emperor of Atlantis (a thinly-disguised Hitler-type) declares total war on the world. (As one would expect from a prison camp opera, the "Loudspeaker" has a major role and, instruments being limited, it's like a cabaret band.) Death goes on strike out of resentment at the competition from the Emperor, but love reappears on the battlefield and, in the end, Death is persuaded to resume his merciful task of erasing pain from the world when the emperor himself agrees to die.
Here's a snippet of the opera on YouTube, the Emperor's farewell aria:
Interesting that this post would appear in the early months of another would-be emperor's administration...
Of note, one of the best commentators on the extraordinary cultural and musical scene in Terezin was Prof Dr Thomas Mandl (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Thomas_Mandl), of blessed memory. A musician himself, he played in the Terezin orchestra and knew Ullmann and most of the leading musical personages incarcerated in the ghetto. He wrote and spoke extensively on the subject of Terezin, the Holocaust, World War Two, National Socialism, Communism and totalitarianism in general, until his last breath.
Tommy was a witness that the world will miss greatly. He was also a great friend and mentor to me, and my debt to him is incalculable.
For large volumes of quality information about Terezin and the cultural scene there, see also the University Over the Abyss at http://www.makarovainit.com/first.htm, authored by Elena and Sergei Makarov and Viktor Kuperman.