For narrator, 4 vocal soloists, chamber choir and chamber orchestra.  

Etty Hillesum was twenty-nine when she died at Auschwitz on November 30, 1943. An Unfinished Life is based on the diaries that this young Dutch Jewish woman kept from March 1941 to October 1942. Having survived the war, they were published under the title Het verstoorde leven in 1981 and later in English as An Interrupted Life. Etty copied into her diaries many excerpts from the poems and letters of Rainer Maria Rilke; these excerpts provide most of the texts, which are sung by the choir and by the four male solo voices. In addition, Cherney transformed several brief passages of Hillesum’s own writing, including several prayers, into a form of verse, and set these for the voices. The narrator’s part and much of the spoken material in other voices is taken directly from the diaries, and is used with the kind permission of The Etty Hillesum Foundation.

Performed by:
Marilyn Lightstone, narrator
Tafelmusik Chamber Choir
Soundstreams Chamber Orchestra
Ivars Taurins, Conductor

Commissioned by Soundstreams with generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts.