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Extracts from a major work Annelies, on The Diary of Anne Frank, composed by James Whitbourn with words compiled and edited by Melanie Challenger will receive their worldwide premiere as part of the Home Office and BBC National Holocaust Memorial on the 60th anniversary of the closure of the most notorious concentration camp Auschwitz. It will be broadcast on BBC 2 on 27 January and will be performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Louise Kateck (soloist), Clare College Choir and conductor Owain Arwel-Hughes. Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will attend the performance as well as the remaining 500 Holocaust survivors in Britain, along with leading politicians.

World-renowned conductor, Leonard Slatkin, will lead the same forces for the concert premiere on Tuesday 5 April 2005 at the newly-refurbished Cadogan Hall, London to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The concert will be in collaboration with the Jewish Music Institute.

Annelies, commissioned from the British composer James Whitbourn, is a choral work scored for soprano soloist, two choirs and orchestra. For the first time since the publication of the famous diary, the Anne Frank Foundation has allowed a compilation of diary entries to be combined with complementary texts and set to music in a major new work. Its composition coincides with two important anniversaries of Anne Frank - 2005 the 60th anniversary of her death and 2004 the 75th anniversary of her birth.

The libretto is compiled from the diary written by the young Jewish girl Anne Frank between 1942 and 1944, when she and her family hid in the back of an Amsterdam warehouse. From the windows of the secret annexe, Anne could see upwards to the beauty of the birds and trees, and downwards to the brutality metered out by the Nazis. The contrasting sights inspired some of the most profound and memorable thoughts to be recorded in her extraordinary diary, a document that has now been translated into dozens of languages and read by millions of people throughout the world.

Anne’s insights into the fears, hopes, courage and strength experienced as a young Jewish girl in hiding have been ordered into a sequence which tells the story of a whole people who suffered throughout the holocaust, a period which eventually claimed the life of Anne, and six of the seven others with her in hiding, along with six million other Jews.

The commission has been made possible by the Mostar Co-operative, with funds from the Jewish Music Institute and Corporation of London.

5 January 2005
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