Preview three of 16 album tracks:
Thieves of Dreams: Songs of Theresienstadt's Secret Poetess
ABOUT THE PROJECT ‘THIEVES of DREAMS,' a "haunting set of musical gems" (The Bangkok Post, June 9, 2022)
This project is about women. Creative, strong, breaking social taboos, and in some ways... invisible. My maternal grandmother Anna Hana Friesova was a stunning, well-educated woman from an entirely assimilated Czech Jewish family: assimilation was fairly common; in her case, it was based on fears of pogroms witnessed by her husband. She was an accomplished artist both with a pen and a brush, and nobody took her seriously - I suspect not even herself: she never mentioned her art to me. Only when my mother recently passed, I discovered two worn notebooks among her possessions: poems Anna Hana wrote between the years 1940 and 1945, just before and during her two-and-a-half-year incarceration (1942-1945) in the Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp during WW2. I was stunned by the intensity of her words, the erudite vocabulary, the raw and often disturbing honesty. I find her words just as poignant today as they were eighty years ago.
Daniel Rosenberg's EPK - interviews, stories, photos and all you need to know about the history of the project.
Thanks to generous Canada Council for the Arts and Ontario Arts Council grants, and the Czech agency SoundCzech which enabled my collaboration with Milli Janatková, I have been able to commission other women composers to help me create musical settings for Anna Hana's poems, in order to bring about multiple voices and perspectives. Each of us brings our own history and musical sensibilities into the project.
ALBUM Thieves of Dreams - description:
Thieves of Dreams: Songs of Theresienstadt’s Secret Poetess
Texts: written by Anna Hana Friesová while she was in the Theresienstadt concentration camp during World War 2. The poems, mostly about love, relationships and dreams of far-away places, range from the hopeful (“In the bleakest, darkest night, remember the sun”) to the visceral ("With the last tear, the final darkness tumbled down, and God couldn’t see our faces. The end fell into our eyes like a stone onto a mirror”). Lenka brings these unearthed treasures to life, weaving the powerful poems into a stunning musical and spoken word performance.
16 tracks; 8 songs composed by Lenka, 8 songs commissioned from Czech and Canadian composers Milli Janatkova, Zita Petrak, Rachel Cohen, Jessica Deutsch, Lorie Wolf and Shy-Anne Hovorka.
Arrangements feature 19 recording artists from Canada, the Czech Republic and Germany.
Recorded and produced by Lenka Lichtenberg at her Melody Meadows barn studio.
Mixed and mastered by Jim Zolis.
Total time: 57 minutes.
RELEASE: May 6, 2022. Digital distribution: 6 Degrees, Supraphon in the Czech Republic
Album release concert: Paradise Theatre, Toronto, May 8, 2022, 2:30 pm
Lenka gratefully acknowledges grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council that enabled this project.
NB: Thieves of Dreams will exist in multiple art forms.
- - an album with 16 tracks, as described above. This music is offered as a concert, both in English and Czech.
- - a second disc to complement the first, with the poems in English translations - in total, 12 compositions and spoken word pieces. The Czech and English discs will be released as a deluxe box set.
- - a multi-media stage production, hybrid live/virtual
- - poetry book in Czech and English, featuring illustrations by Milli Janatkova and my grandmother's original ink drawings. Editing in collaboration with Alena Jirasek (Sydney, Australia).
- - a film of the show, as filmed at Melody Meadows Farm.
- - a shorter, concert version of the stage production.
Rave reviews and responses to Thieves of Dreams album, a list compiled by Daniel Rosenberg:
"A Haunting set of musical gems" - John Clewley, The Bangkok Post (June 7, 2022)
"Incredibly touching... A moving way to honour history and make sure we never forget" - Talia Schlanger, CBC's Q (May 17, 2022)
"An unfogettable tribute to Lenka's mother and grandmother, to which we say, l'chaim!" - Evelyn Frick, Kveller (May 12, 2022)
"A glorious achievement" - David Olds, The Whole Note (Scroll down) (May 2022 reviews)
"Harrowingly beatutiful" - Bernard Clarke, RTE (Ireland), Blue of the Night, part of a 4-part feature and interview about Lenka Lichtenberg's Theives of Dreams
Part 1 (May 30, 2022)
Part 2 (May 31, 2022)
Part 3 (June 1, 2022)
Part 4 (June 2, 2022)
Interview and 2-part feature about Lenka Lichtenberg's Thieves of Dreams on Detour Radio with Paul Hartman.
Part 1 (May 22, 2022)
Part 2 (June 5, 2022)
Feature on "Sedmé Nebe/Seventh Heaven" with Petr Doruzka (Starts at 30:50) (June 3, 2022)
One hour feature on Lenka Lichtenberg's "Theives of Dreams" on Conzertzender (Netherlands) with Benno Wormgoor (May 28, 2022)
"Beautiful" - DJ Madame B. Part of 14-minute feature on "Thieves of Dreams" on Donne Del Mundo (Starts at 17:10) (May 27, 2022)
45-minute interview with Lenka Lichtenberg about "Thieves of Dreams" on Araceli Tzigane's "Music Before Shabbat" (May 27, 2022)
"An amazing album" - The Bangkok Post (May 24, 2022, part of their "Summer Music Preview)
"An amazing musical experience" - Novy Domov, Masaryktown Magazine(May 2022 issue)
Songs for New and Old Worlds - Christopher Cameron, Watershed Magazine (May 2022 issue)
Feature on Globofonie Radio, Italy (Starts at 56:20 into broadcast) (May 23, 2022)
Thieves of Dreams named on “Best New European Music / Alternative to Eurovision” Radio program/Pet Door Vision Song Contest with host Hannah Werdmuller. Medium Article (May 21, 2022)
Thieves of Dreams featured on CBC's "Big City, Small World" (May 21, 2022)
Feature on KVMR's "Earth Music" with Don Lipari (May 17, 2022)
Highly Recommended - Zsido (in Hungarian) (May 16, 2022)
"Beautiful" - Pandora Peoples, Part of feature on "Pandora's Jukebox" on WOMR radio (May 15, 2022)
25-minute feature and interview on WORT-Radio (Madison, WI) with Jeff Spitzer-Resnick (May 12, 2022)
"An amazing album" - Rochelle Zucker, Winnipeg's Jewish Radio Hour(part of 15 minute feature and interview about "Thieves of Dreams" (May 8, 2022)
Featured on "Sounds Jewish's Mother's Day Special" with Andy Muchin(Link to broadcast) (May 8, 2022)
Lenka Lichtenberg discovers how her grandmother survived in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp - Roots Music Canada (May 7, 2022)
Feature on "Serenity Now" (University of Washington radio, with Sophie Heeter) (May 6, 2022)
Rave reviews for Thieves of Dreams - Kerry Doole's May Music Digest, FYI Music News (Scroll down) (May 5, 2022)
Interview on WSFM's "Musical Migrations" with Gypsy Flores (May 4, 2022)
"Fantastic... A powerful project" - Ken Stowar, CIUT. 20-minute feature and interview about Theives of Dreams on CIUT-FM (Toronto's) Global Rhythms with guest Dan Rosenberg (May 4, 2022)
Named one of "May's Hot Tracks" - CBC's Frequencies with Errol Nazareth(May 3, 2022)
"Amazing" - Paolo Pietropaolo, CBC's "In Concert" (May 1, 2022)