Volume II, Number 2
Martinů in Prague
Birthdays and anniversaries of one type or another are notorious as occasions to focus the attention of scholars and the curious to a particular point in history, when the person being honored occupied a bright spot in his or her cultural milieu, or it has been determined that if this was not the case it should have been. But once the event is over the honored parties, like the characters in Brigadoon, are often destined to sleep for another hundred years.
Such does not seem to be the case with Bohuslav Martinů. Each year
in Prague one organization or another puts together a series of events and
concerts to honor the birthday of this now favored son. Aleš Březina of
the Martinů Foundation informs us of the special colloquium planned for the
composer's birthday on December 8 as well as other exciting projects that are
- Judith Mabary, St. Louis (USA)
CZECH MUSIC AND ITS ROOTS
Smetana, Dvořák, Janáček and Martinů
December 8, 1998
Guy Erismann: Bedřich Smetana. Ce qu'il doit au sol, a la
societe, a l'histoire. Etude comparative avec ses contemporains et Antonín
Karel van Eycken: Le soleil dans la musique de Martinů
Jarmila Gabrielová: Dvořák's Early Chamber Music - Nationality and Universality
Harry Halbreich: Centre et peripherie. La musique tcheque dans le paysage culturel européen
Francis Maes: Towards a New Paradigm of Symphonic Analysis: the Case of Dvořák's Eighth Symphony
Jaroslav Mihule: The European Roots of Martinů's Oeuvre - Martinů in Belgium and the Netherlands
Ivan Štraus: Performing Czech Elements in the Music of Martinů
The colloquium will be followed by a concert with the Czech Philharmonic featuring works of Smetana, Dvořák and Martinů.
Bohuslav Martinů Festival '98
Prague, December 6 - 18, 1998
December 6 - 11 a.m. Martinů Hall, Academy of Music and Performing Arts
The Concert of the Bohuslav Martinů Piano Trio and
String Quartet Competition Laureates
December 8 - 7:30 p.m. Martinů Hall, Academy of Music and Performing Arts
Martinů and his Teachers
Suk Chamber Orchestra, JESS - Trio Vienna
B. Martinů - Partita (Suite Nr. 1) for String Orchestra, H.212
A. Roussel - Sinfonietta for String Orchestra
B. Martinů - Piano Trio with String Orchestra, H.231
J. Suk - Meditation
I. Stravinsky - Concerto in Re for String Orchestra
B. Martinů - Sextet (version for String Orchestra), H.222a
December 15 - Film versions of The Tears of the Knife and The
2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Cinema MAT, Karlovo náměstí 19
December 16 - 7:30 p.m. Martinů Hall, Academy of Music and Performing
Academy of Chamber Music Sándór Végh
W. A. Mozart/ Josef Triebensee - Don Giovanni Ouverture for Wind Octet
and Double Bass
B. Martinů - Serenade for Violin, Viola, Violoncello, and 2 ClarinetsH.334
W.A. Mozart - String Quintet in d minor
B. Martinů - Piano Quintet No.2 H.298
December 17, 18 - 7:30 p.m. Rudolfinum, Dvořák Hall
Czech Philharmonic, Neeme Järvi, Michal Kaňka
B. Martinů - La Bagarre, H.155
B. Martinů - Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra No. 1, H.196
B. Martinů - Symphony No. 2, H.295
The film Bohuslav Martinů - Out of Exile (60 minutes) by Aleš Březina and Jiří Nekvasil, director. Topics include Martinů's strong personality, his exile, attitudes toward religion and his death. The focus of the film is more on Martinů the innovator than on his Polička origins, although both aspects are covered. The film also contains interviews with Peter Rybář - violin; Margřit Weber - piano, to whom Martinů dedicated his 5th piano concerto; Rudolf Kundera - painter and a close friend of Martinů since 1939; and Max Kellerhals - priest, who celebrated the church-sanctioned marriage of Martinů and his wife Charlotte at Martinů's deathbed and spoke at the composer's funeral. The film provides a very personal view of Martinů, one that is both moving and dramatic.
On October 6, we celebrated a new CD with historical recordings of Martinů's music made by Peter Rybář, a friend of the composer since the 1930's. Rybář is a legendary violinist of Czech origin and studied with all the members of the České kvarteto (violin withHoffmann; composition with Suk; chamber music with Herold and Zelenka). He met Martinů in Paris where the two became friends and was at Martinů's side in the hospital during the last week of the composer's life. At his friend's funeral, Rybář played the second movement of the Sonatina for Violin and Piano.
The CD includes, among other works, Martinů's favorite recording of La revue de cuisine and Concerto for 2 Violins andOrchestra (Rybář, Konzelmann, Jascha Horenstein conducts the Zürcher Tonhalleorchester). The CD also marks the celebration of Rybář's 85th birthday.
- Aleš Březina, Prague
Note: Click here for additional information on the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation in Prague and the projects it sponsors.
Washington Cathedral and the founding of Czechoslovakia
On October 28, 1998 Frances Motyka Dawson and the Columbia Pro Cantare presented a celebratory concert in Washington Cathedral to honor the 80th anniversary of the founding of the independent Czechoslovak state. The concert also commemorated the brave efforts of countless Czechs and Slovaks who quietly, without thought of reward, labored to foster the ideals expressed when the state was founded; the generations of 1938, 1948 and 1968; and the generation that brought about the Velvet Revolution.
In the audience were many who cared deeply about such matters: the émigrés who prayed and worked for a free Czechoslovakia during fifty years of oppression; a Czech delegation led by the Speaker of the Czech Senate, Paul Pithart; and a delegation from the Czech embassy, led by Ambassador Alexander Vondra. Ms. Dawson, the conductor and organizer of the concert, is of Czech descent and has championed Czech choral music in Washington for over twenty years. Thus, the singing of the Czech and American national anthems at the beginning of the concert was an extraordinarily moving experience.
The Cathedral commemorates heroes of both world wars. Perhaps its most significant memorial is the grave of President Woodrow Wilson, friend of Masaryk and the architect of the League of Nations and post-World War I Europe. In straightforward, eloquent speeches, the dean of the Cathedral, Ambassador Vondra, and Speaker Pithart told of their personal involvement with Wilsonian ideals and the consequences of these ideals in world history. Pithart thanked the émigrés for their support in difficult times, and spoke of the blend of idealism and pragmatism that continued to enable Czechs to accomplish remarkable deeds. Together with Ivan Dubovický, cultural attaché of the Czech Embassy, they then laid red and white roses on Wilson's grave to honor his role in the formation of Czechoslovakia.
The works on the concert intensified the mood of reverent thanksgiving appropriate for this remarkable occasion. Matoušek's Fanfare of November 17 was commissioned by Pro Cantare shortly after the Velvet Revolution, and evokes the extraordinary atmosphere of the unaccustomed freedom of those times. A full brass choir is skillfully deployed to produce dazzling effects. This work, written in the resplendent tradition of coronation music, was entirely appropriate for the acoustical space and setting and established a jubilant mood of striding assurance and celebration which intensified as the concert progressed.
Jan Dismas Zelenka's Dixit Dominus is a setting of Psalm 110, a psalm of victory and thanksgiving for God's protection. It contains a reference to Melchizedek, the biblical priest about whom nothing is known except that he was worthy to bless Abraham -- a very appropriate way to honor the multitude of unsung Czechoslovak heroes. It is a clear, beautifully balanced, lively, and engaging work. Columbia Pro Cantare has sung Zelenka's compositions before, but never in an acoustical setting that was so favorable to the noble grandeur of his style. The performance evoked the splendor of the baroque court tradition in which Bohemia participated.
Dvořák's Te Deum was written for performance in this country, and once again evoked an authentic American response from the audience as well as the musicians. It opens exuberantly with the pealing of bells. It is an adventure of the spirit, an expression of untroubled faith. Remarkably, it anticipates the music of Mahler and Janáček, who were just then establishing their mature style. The choir identified fully with the music and showed empathy for Dvořák's shading, idiosyncratic and sinuous vocal line, and chromatic and rhythmic inflection. The work is orchestrated marvelously. For example, the entrance of the bass-baritone is prepared by a fanfare-like passage indicating how the music should be sung, a sound which seems to echo Dvořák's own inner voice. Andrew Wentzel fully met the challenge, singing with a natural nobility and manly grace, and an introspective and beautiful tone.
Růžička's Jazz Celebration Mass was completely at home in the hall where Bernstein conducted his own Mass. This work is a skillful blend of the best of jazz and choral music, with references to the great tradition of Baroque choral music, to the French tradition exemplified by Poulenc and Messaien, to the jazz idioms of many Americans, including Gershwin, Monk, and Charlie Parker, and perhaps to the American celebratory jazz mass by Dave Brubeck. Its choral passages are very singable and reverent. The composer-pianist, Karel Růžička, Sr., and his son, jazz saxophonist Karel Růžička, Jr., had a concertante role, crystallizing and embellishing the work in their highly personal jazz idiom. The result was electrifying.
The Růžička's had the opportunity to show their impressive musicality in two interludes which had an improvisatory flavor; both interludes stopped the show. In addition, the second interlude was a remarkable psychological transition from an introspective, soul-searching Agnus Dei, a passage through darkness guided by the spark of the spirit, gradually emerging into an exuberant Hosanna -- perhaps a depiction of the passage of the country from despair to freedom.
According to Dr. Barbara Renton's informative program notes, Karel Růžička, Sr. developed his jazz style under severe difficulties, relying on such sources as Voice of America broadcasts. The remarkable success of his effort was shown by how completely, how joyfully the American choir accepted that style as fully authentic, as their own. The soprano, Brenda K. Witmer, had an appealing, graceful voice and manner, conveying Růžička's musical and emotional message clearly and sympathetically.
The concert evoked prolonged, enthusiastic applause. There were three standing ovations, including one in the midst of the Jazz Celebration Mass. Only the sacredness and the majesty of the Cathedral itself kept the audience from cheering.
- Judith Fiehler
NEW LIST FOR CENTRAL AND EAST EUROPEAN MUSIC
Colleagues are invited to join a new list for Central and East European Music that has been opened by Ann Buckley of Cambridge University, and is managed by Dr. Buckley and Dr. Geoffrey Chew, Royal Holloway College, University of London.
Participation is welcome from all who study any aspect of music, past or present, in which the primary focus is on regions to the east of a line running roughly north-south from Germany to the Adriatic.
The List, which already numbers some 250 subscribers, exists in order to
communicate ideas and develop international networks for scientific discussion
on all aspects of musicological research on Central and Eastern Europe.
Musicology is here defined in the widest sense to include historical
musicology, theory, analysis, criticism, ethnomusicology, sociology,
iconography, organology, and interdisciplinary studies which include a music
component. We welcome contributions on current research, announcements of new
publications (including books as well as audio-visual materials), conferences,
requests for information about particular topics and the whereabouts of
specialists. The list also has a website at <http://www.mailbase.ac.uk/lists/centr-and-east-euro-music/>
where materials such as working papers, and databases of information on library and archive holdings may be permanently stored for access by all subscribers.
We urge you to use the discussion list and visit our website. The more active we are, the better we will be able to develop our work and our possibilities for international collaboration.
To join the discussion list, send a one-line message, no header:
join centr-and-east-euro-music Firstname Secondname
(putting in your real name instead of Firstname Secondname)
to the following address:
For assistance with problems, please send a message to the List Managers at
the following address:
(Submitted by Dr. Ann Buckley, Cambridge University)
Vranitzky String Quartet - The debut recital of the Vranitzky String Quartet will be held on Friday, November 20, 1998 at 8 p.m. at the Church of the Ascension, 2330 Viewmont Way West, in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, Washington (USA). Members of the quartet are: John Kim & Hyekyung Seo, violin; Thane Lewis, viola; and Rich Eckert, cello. The Vranitzky players are dedicated to exploring rare and little-known string quartet literature of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Their program for the first recital is as follows:
Joseph Haydn: String Quartet No. 23 in F minor, Opus 20, No. 5
Pavel Vranitzky (Vranický): String Quartet No. 27 in B flat major, Opus 15, No. 3
Anton Reicha: String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Opus 49, No. 1
The performance of the Reicha quartet will be a 20th-century premiere. In the week following the recital, the group will be recording the quartet for submission to a major record label.
(Submitted by Ron Drummond, Seattle)
Czech Musicological Society Annual Conference
(Prague, Nov. 30 - Dec. 1, 1998)
Click here for program.
The Czech Musicological Society, in cooperation with the Institute of Musicology (Charles University, Prague), Institute of Musicology (Czech Academy of Sciences), Antonín Dvořák Society, and Bohuslav Martinů Foundation, will be arranging an international conference "Antonín Dvořák - the Present State of the Critical Edition of his Complete Works." The conference will be held (as a separate part of the Annual Colloquium on Prague Musical Life in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century and the Works of Bohuslav Martinů) on May 28-29, 1999 at the Bohuslav Martinů Foundation's Study Center, nám. Kinských 3, CZ-150 00 Prague 5.
The purpose of the conference is to initiate a critical discussion on the existing volumes of the edition (the first volume having been published in 1954) from the viewpoint of present standards of editorial and performing practice and to reflect upon the perspectives and problems of resuming and completing the entire project. An urgent task of this conference will be the designing of the editorial rules ("Editionsrichtlinien") for the critical edition.
(Submitted by Dr. Jarmila Gabrielová to the Czech and Slovak Music Society Discussion List)
Nusle Theater Reopened
The newly reconstructed Na Fidlovacce Theater in Prague's Nusle district was reopened October 28 with a performance of the 19th-century Czech play Fidlovačka by Frantíšek Škroup and Josef Kajetán Tyl. The same play had been staged on the theater's opening night 77 years ago. The theater had been closed for several years because of its poor physical condition. The Fidlovačka Foundation, established by actor-director Tomas Topfer and actress Eliška Balzerová, organized the reconstruction.
(From the Czech E-mail news weekly Carolina, November 6, 1998)
DEFYING THE HOLOCAUST WITH MUSIC: A VIKTOR ULLMANN CENTENNIAL
Held in Ann Arbor, Michigan
September 27-October 7, 1998
* OPENING TALK "Terezín, 1944: The Emperor of
Atlantis and Its Composer."
The annual Robert F. Klein Lecture, delivered by Siglind Bruhn, Sunday, 9/27/98
* PERFORMANCE Der Kaiser von Atlantis
Concert performance of Ullmanns 1944 chamber opera, directed by Bradley Bloom (W. Bloom, J. Broxholm, M. Carroll, R. Gardner, C. Grapentine, N. Phan, M. Ryan; the Ullmann Orchestra)
* PERFORMANCE CHAMBER MUSIC
Concert featuring Ullmann's works from the years 1943-44, including String Quartet No.3, String Songs, Piano Sonata No. 7, Cornet: melodrama after Rilke (S. Bruhn, F. Herseth, R. Kolben, W. Patterson - a University of Michigan graduate string quartet) Sunday, 10/4/98
* MINI SYMPOSIUM Viktor Ullmann: Composer, Jew,
Talks by Marcus Gerhardts, Ullmann Archive, Dornach ("Viktor Ullmann and Anthroposophy") and Robert Kolben, Munich ("The Emperor of Atlantis: A Late Mystery Play"). Discussion followed. Monday, 10/5/98
* CD CONCERT "The Symphonic Ullmann: Symphony Without
SKR Classicals Jim Leonard guided the audience through an evening of recordings with symphonic music by Viktor Ullmann. Tuesday, 10/6/98
* PERFORMANCE Vocal Music
Concert featuring Ullmann's song cycles for soprano and piano, mezzo-soprano and piano, as well as Jewish choral music (J. Broxholm, S. Bruhn, F. Herseth, members of the Zamir Chorale with B. Cohen) Wednesday, 10/7/98
Dr. Siglind Bruhn reports that the week was a great success and, at least in Ann Arbor, put Ullmann on the map of the great composers.
(Printed with permission of Dr. Siglind Bruhn,
Life Research Associate
Music and Modern Literatures, Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan)
A message from the President of the Slavic and East European Folklore Association. . .
Currently we are trying to attract new members in related fields so as to expand the interdisciplinary coverage of SEEFA, the Slavic and East European Folklore Association. In particular we are seeking people interested in giving papers or organizing panels at the AAASS convention to be held in St. Louis, November 18-21, 1999 in areas such as history and folklore, beliefs and the occult, interaction of literature and folklore, field methods, genres, and urban folklore. For further information please contact me at this address: JOBailey@facstaff.wisc.edu.
The purpose of SEEFA is to promote the study and teaching of the folklore in this region of the world. SEEFA is affiliated with AAASS, holds its annual meeting during the AAASS convention, and organizes a number of panels at the convention. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in Slavic and East European folklore; dues are $20 a year for regular members and $10 for students. For information contact the secretary-treasurer Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby, Jrouhie@pop.uky.edu. SEEFA publishes a small journal twice a year and includes short articles on folklore, reviews, notes about field work, notices and comments about conferences, and surveys of recent publications. We welcome contributions to the journal. Our editor, Sibelan Forrester (firstname.lastname@example.org), and our co-editor, Anne Ingram (email@example.com), maintain a web page containing all past issues of our journal as well as other information. The address is: http://ash.swarthmore.edu/slavic/SEEFA.
James Bailey (President - SEEFA)
1102 Hathaway Dr.
Madison, Wisconsin 53711 (USA)
The Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
and the Graduate Slavic Society of the University of Chicago present
SLAVIC FORUM 1999
Graduate Student Conference
on Russian and Central/East European Literature and Culture
April 9-10, 1999
Deadline for submission of abstracts: FEBRUARY 8, 1999
Slavic Forum 1999 will be held on the campus of the University of Chicago on April 9th and 10th, 1999. We invite graduate students working in the literatures and cultures of Russia, Central and Eastern Europe to submit abstracts for a twenty-minute presentation. Although we will gladly accept proposals for any work in this area, we are particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to literature and culture.
Please send a one-page abstract (approximately 250 words or less) to Professor Howard Aronson at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 8, 1999. Although we prefer to receive abstracts via e-mail, they may be sent by post to the following address:
Attn: Prof. Howard Aronson
University of Chicago
1130 East 59th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 (USA)
More information about Slavic Forum 1999, as well as the original call for papers, can be found at the following URL: http://humanities.uchicago.edu/orgs/slavgrad/slaforum99.html
Slavic Languages and Literatures
University of Chicago
The Slavic Dungeon: http://humanities.uchicago.edu/orgs/slavgrad
Jewish Musicians in Prague - An article by Gerben Zaagsma of the Netherlands on the Jewish musicians guild in Prague will appear in the upcoming December issue of the Dutch historical magazine Groniek. The article is designed for the lay audience but the author hopes that those familiar with the writings of Walter Salmen and Paul Nettl will also find something new in it. The article is in Dutch but it may be possible to obtain an English translation from the author by e-mailing him at email@example.com.
Commemorative volume for Dr. Jiří Fukač - A website has been set up with information regarding the new commemorative volume for Dr. Jiří Fukač, Chairman of the Institute of Musicology at Masaryk University in Brno. The volume contains a variety of studies, including several on Czech music, by both European and American scholars. Visit the website at <http://uweb.ucsb.edu/~jpearl/csms/fukac.html>
Outside the Czech Borders. . . .
POLISH MUSIC JOURNAL
This new electronic journal is an academic, peer-reviewed publication devoted to musicological studies of Polish music and music in Poland. The Journal's purpose is to provide a convenient, modern forum for publication of studies of the music that is not well known in the West. Its first issue has just been published on the web page of the Polish Music Reference Center. The content includes three articles (by Tyrone Greive, Jill Timmons and Sylvain Fremaux, and student winner, Timothy Cooley) that have been awarded the 1997 Wilk Prizes for Research in Polish Music. One more issue will be published this year. In 1999 we hope to be able to convert the journal into a quarterly.
This publication is to fill in the gap between the Polish researchers, publishing in their native language, and the English-speaking world. Therefore, one or more issues of the PMJ will consist of translations of selected articles originally published in Polish, in the Polish Musicological Quarterly Muzyka. In order to make use of the capabilities of the electronic media, the Journal includes scanned musical examples (score excerpts) and samples of sound illustrations (recordings) for some, or all, of the articles published. The Journal's ID number is: ISSN 1521-6039.
Maria Anna Harley serves as the Editor. The Editorial Board includes: Prof. Maciej Golab (Associate Professor of Musicology, Institute of Musicology, University of Warsaw; also General Editor of Muzyka, Warsaw, Poland), Dr. Martina Homma (General Editor, Bela Verlag Music Publisher, Cologne, Germany), Prof. Jeffrey Kallberg (Professor of Music at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA), Prof. Zygmunt Szweykowski (Professor of Musicology, Institute of Musicology, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland; also Member of the Editorial Board, Musica Iagellonica), Prof. Adrian Thomas (Professor of Music, Cardiff University of Wales, U.K), Dr. Elzbieta Witkowska Zaremba (Associate Professor, Institute of Fine Arts, Polish Academy of Sciences; also Member of the Editorial Board of Muzyka, Warsaw, Poland).
For more information and guidelines for contributors, visit the Journal's
(Included with the permission of Maria Anna Harley, Editor)
Website for Bulgarian Music - www.voxbulgar.com
Vox Bulgarica is a new venture whose mission is to publish and distribute the music of Eastern Europe, particularly that of Bulgaria. Through strong contacts with the Union of Composers, Academy of Sciences, and the Music Academies in Plovdiv and Sofia, the organization is acquiring collections of choral, solo instrumental, chamber, and full orchestral works from three generations of composers. At present, because of western familiarity and demand, the principal focus is on choral music. A comprehensive catalog of folk music arrangements, liturgical settings, and avant-garde works is also being compiled.
Moreover, in an attempt to present as broad a base as possible, Vox Bulgarica recently signed a contract with the Ivan Dujcev Centre for Slavo-Byzantine Studies in Sofia, to be the western distributor for all of their publications including their study and monograph series. The target audience will be university and research libraries. A price list will soon be available.
(From Gregory Myers [Vox Bulgarica] to the Central and East European Music Discussion List)
SPOTLIGHT ON . . .
THE CZECH AND SLOVAK MUSIC SOCIETY Treasurer's Report
On May 13, 1998 a new account was established for the Czech and Slovak Music Society at Norwest Bank in Denver, Colorado. (Norwest has now merged, and will henceforth do business as Wells Fargo). The opening balance on the account totaled $372.81, which included a balance from the prior Czechoslovak Music Society account in the amount of $72.81, as well as the receipt of 1998 membership dues and contributions in the amount of $300. Additional dues have been received, amounting to $170. Paying members for 1998 total 17. Expenditures for this period were $17.98. The current balance stands at $524.83.
It is anticipated that this fall 1998, all the forms will be filed to register the CSMS officially as a non-profit organization with the proper authorities of the United States Government. This will save the organization from having to file tax forms, and paying tax on the dues, contributions and any bank interest received.
Jonathan Geoffrey Pearl
Treasurer, Czech and Slovak Music Society
Annual membership dues for the Society are detailed on the Czech and Slovak Music Society Membership homepage at http://uweb.ucsb.edu/~jpearl/csms/csmsmemb.html.
THE LISTENING CORNER
The Internet has made it possible to order just about anything from that comfortable chair you're sitting in right now as you gaze into the secrets of cyberspace. Record stores and recording companies in Prague are far from being left behind in this race to provide you with hard-to-find or hard-to-get treasures. Some of the websites you might want to investigate to see what is currently available are maintained by:
BIBLIOGRAPHY (a work in progress)
Click here to access a cumulative bibliography of recently published works, works in progress, notices of courses and lectures, and sources that scholars have found helpful in their own research on Czech and Slovak music.
The bibliography is divided into categories including books and scores; articles; lectures; recordings; courses, seminars, and workshops; and works in progress. The list is further subdivided by composer and/or historical period. Recent additions to the bibliography are indicated with an asterisk (*). Although the newsletter is published only on a quarterly basis, additions to the bibliography can be made more frequently (i.e., as soon as information is received).
The bibliography may also be accessed directly at http://uweb.ucsb.edu/~jpearl/csms/csmsbiblio.html.
Suggestions for other works, lectures, courses, etc. to be added are welcome. Please send your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN PERFORMANCE . . .
(includes the National, Estates [Stavovské], Kolowrat and State Opera theaters)
If you have comments or suggestions concerning this or other sites maintained by the Czech and Slovak Music Society, contact Judith Mabary at email@example.com.
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