After the Darkness


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After the Darkness

Nearly seventy-five years after the liberation of May 1945, World War II still plays a substantial role in European politics, in our thinking and our actions. We are now at a remove of three generations from World War II and are still discovering new facts, still confronted with new insights, still finding new testimonials from those times. In a certain sense, this CD also belongs to the category of recently discovered testimonials from the dark years between 1933 and 1945. Everywhere freedom of speech was restricted, and not only in Europe. Moreover, several generations of Jewish composers and performing musicians seemed simply to have disappeared. Not until a quarter of a century after the war did people start to ‘discover’, little by little, just how much music had been lost through the war. Yet today, unknown compositi- ons from those years are regularly discovered, and works thought to have been lost are found again.

The music performed on this CD is by Jewish composers whose lives were destroyed in World War II by persecution, murder or exile. The title of the CD refers to the book by Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel: After the Darkness: Reflections on the Holocaust. The project After the Darkness means a lot to The Hague String Trio. They feel it is a privilege to let the music of these composers be heard, to create a lasting testament so their music will never be forgotten and shall live on After the Darkness.

The Hague String Trio was founded by Justyna Briefjes, Julia Dinerstein and Miriam Kirby in 2006. They came together to share their love for chamber music and have formed a strong bond over their many years as an ensemble. The trio enjoys exploring the extensive string trio repertoire, from treasured masterpieces to lesser known compositions which they feel deserve more recognition. They also work closely with composers such as Robin Holloway, Kerry Woodward, Arne Werkman and Reza Nakisa as well as fellow musicians including oboist Pauline Oostenrijk & pianist Daniël Kramer with whom they play regularly. The Hague String Trio performs throughout the Netherlands, and gives concerts every year in England and Germany, where it has built up devoted followings.


Passacaglia - Sehr ruhig
Fuga - Allegro molto
Tanec - Presto
String Trio - Allegro
String Trio - Lento
String Trio - Molto vivace
String Trio Serenade - Andante
String Trio Serenade - Adagio
String Trio Serenade - Allegro
Trio a cordes - Maestoso
Trio - Allegro con moto
Trio - Andante
Trio - Moderato assai

Additional information


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Recording date:

July 2018

Editing Software

Pyramix, Merging Technologies


Acoustic Revive

Digital Converters

Hapi, Merging Technologies

Recording Engineer

Tom Peeters

Mastering Engineer

Tom Peeters


Tom Peeters

Recording location

Koepelkerk, Renswoude (NL)


B&K 4003, modified by Rens Heijnis

Recording Type & Bit Rate



KEF 105.3


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Press reviews

MusicWeb International

Well documented, superbly performed and recorded, this is as good an advertisement for the string trio as you could imagine, and I would be prepared to lay a bet that a majority of listeners would think this was a string quartet on a first encounter. This CD is also a fine testament to a group of composers who all suffered under the oppressive regimes of the mid-20th century; well worth anyone’s attention, and what the Dutch would call an ‘aanwinst’ for any collection of good chamber music. Dominy Clements


The Hague Trio’s accounts of Klein’s Trio, Krása’s Passacaglia and Fugue and Tanec (‘Dance’, a miniature tone poem on the idea of dance) are nothing if not competitive with the best of their rivals (listed below). Their ensemble is as tight as their collective intonation is sure, and they bring a keen expressivity to these scores written under appalling conditions. Rival recordings tend to couple them with music by other ‘Holocaust’ composers, though Weiner and Kattenburg will be new names to most collectors. Kattenburg (1919 44), a one-time pupil of Willem Pijper, was for many years known only by a flute sonata until the chance location of a box of manuscripts in an attic in 2004. His compact Trio is a real find. Weiner studied with Kodály, whose influence is manifest throughout this charming Serenade – Guy Rickards

BBC Music Magazine 6.25 out of 5

This outstanding music burns bright, and The Hague String Trio brings energy and soul to this heartfelt collection. A highpoint of the disc is a world premiere recording of Dick Kattenburg’s Trio à cordes, completed on the brink of World War II, when Jewish participation in professional musical life effectively vanished…Concise and powerful, the trio is a vibrant single-movement work packed with invention, and performed here with dizzying verve. – Kate Wakeling

Luister 5 out of 5

Ook de Nederlander Dick Kattenburg (1919-1944) overleefde de oorlog niet: op 19 mei 1944, werd hij naar Auschwitz gedeporteerd. Zijn Trio à cordes beleeft hier zijn wereldpremière. Ik kan hier niet met droge ogen naar luisteren. Ja, ik weet het, ik weet het, men moet zich tot de muziek sec beperken, maar soms is het zo verdomd moeilijk! Maar neem van mij aan dat de kwaliteit van het gebodene van de grootste kwaliteit is en dat het nog steeds zo weinig wordt uitgevoerd ligt aan… Aan wat eigenlijk? Onwil? Schuldgevoel? -Basia Jaworski

Pizzicato 5 out of 5

Sie gestalten die Werke mit technischer Raffinesse und einem stupenden Gefühl für die Stimmungen. Die ruhelosen gehetzten Passagen überzeugen mit ihrer Intensität und Unnachgiebigkeit. Das kurze Trio von Kattenburg stellen sie als Ersteinspielung in einer überzeugenden Interpretation vor. Das Andante in Weinbergs Trio ist einer der wenigen melancholischen Ruhepunkte auf dieser Aufnahme. Eingefangen hat die Technik das Spiel mit einem warmen, aber keinesfalls verwaschenen Klang, der verhindert, dass diese Musik zu trostlos wird.===String Trios written by composers who suffered from totalitarianism show the high quality of a music created under difficult circumstances. The Hague String Trio plays intensely and atmospherically, so making this a really rewarding and exciting release. – Uwe Krusch

MusicWeb International

There’s a well-researched booklet note to read and an unproblematic, well-balanced recording to enjoy. The performances are very persuasive and the programme balanced and attractive. – Jonathan Woolfe


Whether it is Hans Krása and his Passacaglia & Fugue and Tanec, or Gideon Klein, who in chronological order follows Krása with his irresistibly impressive and compositionally ingenious String Trio of 1944, the Hague String Trio are always three expressively rich and technically perfect soloists. Which make the Hague String Trio a means to pay tribute and memory to these unfortunate souls. Souls who, despite their misfortune, have left a work that can be enjoyed by music-loving people. László Weiner lived a short life, Mr. Dick Kattenburg even shorter. The first is captivated by the creativity of the three-stroke song called Serenade, Kattenburg is represented by a six-minute contribution in the form of a compositionally conceived composition Trio à Cordes (a world premiere recording).
As if hiding, waiting on the disc to appear as the last song in the order – String Trio Op.48 of Mieczyslaw Weinberg (this year’s 100 years since his birth) in 1950. Weinberg, who left behind an enormous amount of works, is a man whose style and the honest immediacy of the recording of The Hague Trio breathes and is in my view the jewel of the entire disc. I don’t even know how many times I let it go, but it was always like I listened to it for the first time. The darkness of World War II never leaves us. Hans Krása, Gideon Klein, László Weiner, Dick Kattenburg and Mieczyslaw Weinberg. There’s The Hague String Trio. – Milos Bittner

Basia Con Fuoco

Hans Krása(1899-1944) en Gideon Klein (1919-1945) belandden in het concentratiekamp Terezín (Theresienstadt) waarvandaan ze naar Auschwitz werden gedeporteerd en daar vermoord. Maar voor het zo ver was zijn ze, zo goed als het ging blijven componeren. In Terezín, ja. Daar zijn zowel Passacaglia & Fuga en Tanec (Dans) van Krása ontstaan, alsook het waanzinnig mooie Strijktrio van Gideon Klein. De Hongaarse Lászlo Weiner (1916-1944) werd in februari 1943 gedeporteerd naar het werkkamp in Lukov (Slovakije), waar hij een jaar later werd vermoord. Zijn Serenade voor strijktrio uit 1938 heb ik niet eerder gehoord. Waarom eigenlijk? Het is gewoonweg prachtig! – Basia Jaworski

Opus Klassiek

Kort en goed twee geweldige aanwinsten, in muziek gegoten ware monumenten, die niet alleen doen herinneren aan de verschrikkingen van de Holocaust, maar vooral dankzij de hartverwarmende betrokkenheid van de vijf musici de muziek op haar best doet klinken. Hoeveel talent ging niet door harde hand verloren en hoeveel schitterende muziek heeft het in die in creatief opzicht zo onvruchtbare grond niet opgeleverd! – Aart van der Wal

de Gelderlander 5 out of 5

Het driedelige Strijktrio van Klein werd voltooid ruim een week voordat de componist Theresienstadt moest verlaten voor het werken in een kolenmijn nabij het vernietigingskamp Auschwitz. Ook hier speelt volksmuziek een belangrijke rol. Met name in de contrastrijke variaties over een Moravisch lied. Briefjes, Dinerstein en Kirby spelen in dit tweede deel hun sterkste troeven uit. De kleuren en de accenten laten de luisteraar haast in trance achter. Ongelofelijk dat destijds zoveel moois kon ontstaan te midden van de afschuwelijke realiteit van een concentratiekamp….In de catalogus van het Nederlands Muziek Instituut in Den Haag ontdekten de dames van The Hague String Trio het manuscript van Trio à cordes van de jonge Dick Kattenburg uit Bussum. Ze verzorgen hier de schitterende wereldpremière van het magnifieke, zeer eigenzinnige eendelige werkje uit 1937-1939. Kamermuziekliefhebbers mogen zich deze kans niet laten ontgaan. Adembenemend. – Maarten-Jan Dongelmans

Music Frames

‘After the Darkness’ is een schitterend album, waar violiste Justyna Briefjes, altvioliste Julia Dinerstein en celliste Miriam Kirby van het The Hague String Trio de zwarte-2de-W.O.-bladzijde transformeren tot fabelachtige muziek die ze met zeel veel verve uitvoeren!==‘After the Darkness’ is a beautiful album, where violinist Justyna Briefjes, viola player Julia Dinerstein and cellist Miriam Kirby of The Hague String Trio transform the black-2nd-W.O.-history into fabulous music which they perform with great verve! – Mattie Poels


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