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The Survivor was requested by Marc Michael de Smet, the Musical Director of the choir Aquarius, from Belgium. It was written for performances in Belgium, and also for inclusion on a CD recording of choral works by Anthony Ritchie, entitled ‘Survivors’ (to be released by Atoll, 2017).
The famous poem by Levi was written as a result of his experiences in Auschwitz in 1944-45. Levi escaped death, but was haunted by traumatic memories for the rest of his life. In The Survivor, Levi dreams of his lost companions at Auschwitz, their faces in the dust and the mist. He tells them to leave his mind, and is haunted by feelings of guilt at being a survivor while others died. The song is unified by a recurring refrain "Once more he sees his companions' faces".
Requested by Marc Michael de Smet, Musical Director of Aquarius, Belgium. This composition was supported by The University of Otago.
Dedicated to Marc Michael de Smet
Poem by Primo Levi