Saturday, March 29, 2008

Moira's Alice/Alice's Moira

She lives....she lives...on my radio, my BBC on a Saturday afternoon and in the mind and poetic sweet ramblings of Dr. Moira Roth.

Still an inspiration at 103
...The first thing I noticed about Alice Herz-Sommer was her incredible warmth and optimism. It's all the more amazing when you consider she is a holocaust survivor, her beloved husband died at Auschwitz six weeks before the end of the war. And then there's the not so small fact that she is 103 years old. Alice's energy defies age and she still plays the piano every single day. "For me music is God", she said, and it was her gift for music that saved her from death at the Terezin concentration camp near Prague where she spent two gruesome years with her young son. About 35,000 prisoners perished there...

writes the columnist...a year ago, actually. Today's broadcast had been recorded much more recently. I could not find the link to the media file, yet.

Moira Roth did a performance in tribute to her dear friend Alice Sommer a couple of years ago at MAGNES. Moira has performed it around the world.

To view full documentation about the performance, including reference to the MAGNESpresentation, you can download a pdf from DOCUMENTA magazine here. (It's a very cryptic-type web site...good luck.)

I did not know that Alice was as famous as it ends up that she is. I think she studied with Mahler... Moira speaks so quietly about her, as if Alice's life is isolated.

I think Moira still posts poems about Alice on the bulletin board at Nabolom -- Alice and her dear friend Rose. Nabolom is a tiny little off-the-beaten-path community bakery in Berkeley. It's not far from the MAGNES. It's where I first met Dr. Roth in-person and by happy accident.

Moira is one of the world's most respected art critics and historians. Moira's crafted a fictional character who transcends space and time yet along plausible arcs. Her name is Rachel Marker. She writes letters to Kafka as the Nazis enter Austria.

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