HAPPENED TODAY - On September 28, 1952, the composer Paul Hastings Allen died in Boston.

“My dear dad, mom told me to tell you she will scold you severely if you don’t come home in time for my birthday. She also told me you will bring chocolates. So hurry up and go back from your expedition to the north. What is the point of these expeditions anyway? … Come on, my dear dad, come back as soon as possible so that I can jump into your arms! Our teacher told us to send a hail of kisses to our fathers to sweep away all the dark clouds. Your dear child, who looks at the sky every night and thinks of you.

To my father, my hero. “

(Letter from a French girl to her father on the front)

On the occasion of the centenary of the end of the First World War (1918-2018) the cellist Olsi Leka releases the CD “Reminiscence”, in collaboration with the pianist Peter Caelen and the photographer Frédéric Pauwels.

The intent is to offer a one-of-a-kind CD because it combines pieces of classical music with works of contemporary photography and documents, such as letters, but not only, written by soldiers and their relatives during the First World War. The music selection symbolizes the feelings, thoughts, and dreams of love that this generation carried with it. The rich repertoire for cello and piano proposed evokes the universality of these feelings, creating the link between all human beings, above ideological or patriotic alliances. The photographic images that enrich the CD are made by photographer Frédéric Pauwels and were taken during a journey of 700 kilometers along the western front, from Nieuwpoort, Belgium, to the French Vosges. The photographs in this report document the scars left by the war in the landscapes of the clashes, but also in the surrounding ones still marked by the trenches, by the numerous monuments and by the so-called “dead villages for France”. “Reminiscence” is a courageous project, because it combines compositions by great authors of classical music (Schumann, Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Liszt) proposes pieces by lesser-known authors (Henriëtte Bosmans, Valentyn Silvestrov e Vasyl Barvinsky, Woldemar Bargiel, Valentin Silvestrov) but, above all, because it recreates atmospheres evoking historical, human and ethical themes. The photographer Frederic Pauwels gives his best with images that tell the story and the places of painful events with an emotion that is never celebratory, but of restrained condolence.

Among the lesser-known compositions we remember “Nuit Calme” by Henriëtte Bosmans (1895-1952), Dutch composer daughter of Henry Bosmans and pianist Sara Benedictis, very close to the composer Benjamin Britten, Lullaby by Vasyl Barvisnky (1888-1963), Late Romantic Ukrainian composer with impressionistic and folklore influences from his country, “Adagio, op.38” by Woldemar Bargiel (1828-1897), Berlin composer and half-brother of Clara Schumann, Postludium by Valentin Silvestrov, Ukrainian composer of postmodern style, influenced by Mahler’s late romanticism, but also by Orthodox liturgical music.

Reminiscence: CD