Conservatory Students Explore the Spanish Civil War Through Music

August 23, 2012

Earlier this year, a group of musicians from the Conservatory of Navarra and CTL School of Image and Sound set out to make a unique piece of music. At 24 minutes long, the piece (written for voice, alto saxophone, and percussion) is a sprawling exploration of, as the group puts it, “composition, performance / recording studio , poetry and contemporary history, especially the Spanish Civil War.” The piece, entitled “Botwin,” was first conceived of by writer Ignacio Fernandez Galindo two years ago when he discovered documents from the Institute of Polish Culture that detailed various Polish battalions that were part of the International Brigades. One of these battalions was named after Naftali Botwin, a “Polish Communist leader sentenced to death in 1925.” A significant number of these battalion members were Jewish, and many were killed during the rise of Nazism in Poland or in concentration camps. Not only is the story communicated through “Botwin” pertinent, but it also provides insight into the chronological historial overlaps of events such as the Holocaust and the Spanish Civil War. As of right now, the promotors of the work are searching for a space in which to perform the world premiere of the piece. The original scores of “Botwin” will be donated to various libraries and institutions in Spain, the United States, Poland, and Israel.

You can listen to more information about “Botwin” (in Spanish) here.