by James Whitbourn (b. 1963)
Dr. Heather J. Buchanan, Director of Choral Activities at the John J. Cali School of Music, has fostered collaborations between Montclair State University (MSU) and school music programs in the greater New Jersey area. In doing so, Dr. Buchanan has invited public school music students to attend free performances of specific choral works at the Kasser Theatre at MSU, in this case Annelies by James Whitbourn. In relation to this, what follows is a resource to support teachers in teaching students to make meaningful connections with Annelies prior to them experiencing a free performance of the work in April 2015. The National Association for Music Education Collegiate Division (NAfMEC) at MSU was asked to manage this project, and has focused its energy on the project during the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 Semesters.
This Curriculum Map is not intended to be a book of lesson-plans, but a guide to Annelies offering ways to engage students in musical discussion about the work via comparative analysis in terms of context, as well as critically reflective questions. While including related works in concert repertory along with this curriculum map would be beneficial, doing so is in no way necessary for students to learn through Annelies. It should also be noted that all questions and concepts addressed are not hard facts, and are not necessarily representative of the opinions of NAfMEC.
Dr. Marissa Silverman
Abigail Aska, Ken Barry, Stephanie Bush, Harmony Chau, Alexander Conley, Jessica Finkelstein, Victoria LeCount, Hope Miladinovich, Nick Mossa, Becky Orlando, Dana Rizzo, Justin Romano, Monika Szumski
I. Layout of Curriculum Map
II. Historical Information
III. Lessons (by movement)
V. About Us
I. Layout of Curriculum Map
What follows is a series of conceptual tools and critical thinking exercises that helps to integrate Annelies into your classroom. We organize this by localizing each movement so that it can yield contextual considerations and understandings, and act as a springboard to other pieces of music that align thematically with the given movement. Each movement’s deliberation is thematically driven as based on the text (lyrics), or if there is no text, the music and theme.
Movement Number and Title
Theme of that Movement
|English Text||Text Translation (if any)|
Includes questions and thematic material to be used to initiate lessons.
Theme in Other Musical Examples:
This section includes links and YouTube clips of contemporary, popular, and classical music that relate to this movement in terms of theme, text, or genre/style.
This section bridges the theme and the above examples to the concept and musical content of Annelies.
Examining the Theme in the Text/Music:
This section includes a musical and textual analysis relating back to the original theme. This may involve listening, as well as following along with the words for a deeper understanding of the movement itself.
Connecting Concepts and Context:
This section pulls together all parts of the lesson, which may involve real-life examples demonstrating the main theme of the movement, as well as questions posed to promote deeper thinking. For example, the idea of Fear may be connected across genres of music, throughout WWII (as in historical context), as well as in every day life. This section brings together the history, the music, and students’ own knowledge/experiences. In some cases, this section may be omitted, depending on the nature of a movement’s theme.
NOTE: In various cases, examining the theme through music will be linked directly with the historical context, thus the two sections will be merged.
II. Historical Information
Anne Frank wrote the following amidst the horrors of the holocaust:
“Whoever is happy will make others happy, too.”
“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”
“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”
“I simply cannot build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death…I think…peace and tranquility will return again.”
The real-life story of Annelies (“Anne”) Marie Frank likely needs no introduction. By way of reminder, she was born in 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany to Otto and Edith Frank. Her early years were happy ones, though Hitler took power over Germany in 1933. Otto and Edith became extremely nervous not only because they were Jewish, but because the economic climate in Germany at the time was very dismal. So, even before World War II (WWII) emerges, they begin to discuss finding a way out.
Otto Frank set up his business in the Netherlands, and the family soon followed. They felt safe again. Anne and her sister Margo attended school. All was well until Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940. When WWII breaks out, the family learns that Margo will likely be sent to a labor camp. Otto and Edith decided it’s best to go into hiding. Hence, the Frank family, along with four other Jews, moved into the Secret Annex in 1942. Anne started writing short stories as well as her diary. She hoped to publish when she is free, though that day never came; she was arrested before the diary was completed.
On August 4, 1944 everyone in the Annex got arrested. They all were eventually sent to Auschwitz. Otto Frank was the only one from the Secret Annex to survive. After being liberated, Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam. He saw to the publication of his daughter’s diary.
Though the diary was translated and adapted into a play and a film, it was never set to music. That is until 2005. Internationally recognized composer James Whitbourn (b. 1963) studied music at Oxford University. He is known for his musical versatility and accessibility. Interestingly, Whitbourn’s compositional style can be seen as juxtaposing musical genres, spaces, and landscapes that do not typically “belong” together. Case in point is Annelies, a 14-movement oratorio for soprano and chorus with the texts adapted from Anne Frank’s diary. This musical work traverses European classicism alongside American jazz with ancient Hebrew motifs and effects, as well as the sounds and symbols of Anne Frank’s sonic experiences of WWII such as the Westerkerk bells. However, this “tapestry” of diverse musical landscapes is not done so as kitsch, but respectfully and honorably. Indeed, Whitbourn is the first composer given permission to set the actual diary. This work was commissioned by the Jewish Music Institute. He, with writer Melanie Challenger, created the libretto of newly translated material from Frank’s diary.
The history of Whitbourn’s work is just as impressive and important now as it was then. Movements from the work premiered on National Holocaust Day, January 27, 2005. Performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with Louise Kateck as soloist, Clare College Choir, and conductor Owain Arwel-Hughes, Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended the performance as well as the remaining 500 Holocaust survivors in Britain. Conductor Leonard Slatkin led the same orchestra for the full world premiere in London to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Whitbourn later created a more intimate instrumental scoring (for soloist, chorus, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano). This version of Annelies premiered in The Netherlands on Anne Frank’s 80th birthday, June 2009, with Arianna Zukerman in the solo role. This scoring is noteworthy primarily because the inclusion of the clarinet, violin, cello, and piano is the same instrumentation as another important WWII composition, namely Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time.
III. Lessons: Analytical Explorations by Movement
You can start your Annelies Journey here: Movement 1
Movement 1 through 14 can be found in the sub-pages of the ‘Annelies Curriculum Map’ link from the drop down menu above.
Meditations on Annelies Choose an excerpt from this a movement to play for your students. After listening, have students remain in silence and pay attention to the sounds around them, as well as how they feel, physically and emotionally, sitting in silence. Time the silence for 2-3 minutes. When finished, speak only in a whisper and urge the students to do the same. Ask students to share their feelings/what they observed. Read some key phrases of the text in the movement and ask if students can relate to the text after doing the activity.
Visual and Sonic Representations of Annelies In her diary, and throughout Annelies, Anne speaks through metaphors, such as sky relating to peace. Thus, the text conveys several pictures. Have the students get into groups. Each group should analyze the text and have students either come up with their own images or use the ones Anne gives. The images should represent Anne’s messages. Then they should draw or paint their idea of the text with the contrast from the dark introduction to the main theme of peace and hope. Then have students compose a short eight bar melody that reflects their feelings that the picture they made conveyed. Afterwards have students associate specific words with the pictures/images that express how they felt. Possible words include reminiscent, bittersweet, and peace. Tips: when doing this activity it is almost like students are creating their own images, music, and lyrics using Anne’s underlying message as a surce of inspiration.
Soundscape Inspired by Annelies Many 20th-21st century composers create soundscapes that take the listener on a musical journey through abstract yet representative (either through mimicry or allusion) sonic materials. Compose a soundscape composition that traverses each of the main themes from Annelies. To do so, create 20 seconds of musical materials that somehow represents each theme from each movement. Using Garageband or Protools (or whatever music technology software you chose) “marry” each 20 second musical representation to the other. In other words, create a musical collage of 14 sonic vignettes that distinctively features each movement’s theme.
Slideshow of Annelies Using iMovie, create a slideshow of images that correspond to a particular movement of Annelies.
Collage of Annelies In groups (or even individually as a take-home project) students should create a collage of Annelies through magazine/newspaper clippings, words, or pictures (drawn, from the Internet, Kodak, etc.). This could be turned into a presentation where students speak in front of the class about their own interpretations of the symbolism used in this work and why they chose to incorporate what is on the collage. This way, the symbols and collage as a whole serves as a springboard for discussion of text analysis/history.
These selections relate directly to Annelies in terms of historical context:
John Williams: Schindler’s List (Film Score, and Film itself)
The Lady in Number 6 (Documentary)
V. About Us
The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) advocates for music in the public schools throughout the United States. The Collegiate division works to prepare students to be teachers through workshops, events, professional development, and conferences and conventions. Collegiate chapters in each state attend their statewide music education organization’s conference or convention annually (i.e., New Jersey Music Education Association [NJMEA]) in hopes to become better prepared for the world of education.
The collegiate chapter at Montclair State University has a long history of volunteering at the NJMEA conference each February, hosting events at MSU that benefit both the chapter and the community (including a lecture by Dr. Nel Noddings in 2012), Praxis Review workshops each semester, job interview preparations, promoting membership and scholarly activity, and much more! In 2013, our chapter received a NAfME Service Award for our work on the Brahms Ein Deutches Requiem Curriculum Map. Our most recent project includes the Curriculum Map for Annelies.
The mission of the National Association for Music Education is to advance music education by encouraging the study and making of music by all.
2014-2015 Montclair State University NAfME Collegiate Chapter Board:
Monika Szumski, President
Dana Rizzo, Vice-President/President-Elect
Nick Mossa, Co-Vice President
Becky Orlando, Treasurer
Jessica Finkelstein, Secretary
Ken Barry, Media Coordinator
Vicki Rakus, Publicist
Dr. Marissa Silverman, Advisor
2014-2015 New Jersey NAfME Collegiate Executive State Board:
Mary Onopchenko (Rowan), President
Nicole Olearchik (Kean), Vice-President/President-Elect
Becky Orlando (Montclair), Treasurer
Lee Mamolen (Rutgers), Secretary
Ken Barry (Montclair), Media Coordinator
Dr. Rick Dammers (Rowan), Advisor