SONG OF SURVIVAL - Woman's Choir Malle Babbe
The music on this CD is called vocal orchestra music because women sing music written for piano or orchestra. During the Second World War this innovative music helped a group of women survive a wartime situation in the Dutch East Indies that had been occupied by Japan (The Dutch colony became Indonesia in 1949). From April 1942 to the end of the war in August 1945 an average of six hundred Australian, British and Dutch women and children were interned in a Japanese camp on the island of Sumatra. Groups of women sang popular songs in English or in Dutch. When after a year no one could remember any new ones, two of the British women created the vocal orchestra.
The impact of the first concert was tremendous. The glorious sounds of the Largo of Dvor˘ák’s New World filled the compound, followed by more music by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, and Tchaikovsky. When almost half the singers had died from malnutrition and tropical diseases, the vocal orchestra sang no more.
The music on this cd is also used in the movie Paradise Road and nowadays the Womens's Choir Malle Babbe performs every year at the Dutch Indies War Commemoration on August 15.