What Can Orchestral Music Say About War? Ask the Oregon Symphony

Audio: Carlos Kalmar on the Oregon Symphony

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The concept behind the Oregon Symphony’s concert Thursday night at the Spring for Music festival may seem ripped from the headlines. With the U.S. engaged in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the global response to terrorism fresh in people's minds, a program of war-themed works couldn’t be timelier. But Carlos Kalmar, Oregon’s music director, insists that current events played no part in the programming.

Editor’s note on Oct. 29, 2015: The writing that initially appeared on this page has been removed because some words or phrases in it were copied from other sources without attribution. We have moved the material that was on this page to another location, highlighted the words and phrases that were at issue and added links to show where the material was originally published. NYPR’s policy is clear: “Plagiarism is an unforgivable offense. NYPR staff members do not take other people’s work and present it as our own” For more on what happened, you may read this statement.


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Comments [3]

Kenneth Bennett Lane from BOONTON, NJ

Besides those mentioned earlier, there is Prokofieff's scoring of "Alexander Nevsky" of the battle on the ice between the valiant Russian defenders and the Teutonic invaders, Frank Loesser's "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition", 'When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again" "This is the Army, Mr. Jones" , and the "Star Spangled Banner" and hiundreds more of war-related thematic materials in symphonies, oratorios, and songs. From the beginning of time brute force has functioned as the determinant of who owns what and who has "say."

May. 12 2011 05:43 PM
Sid from Brooklyn

Who programs Vaughan Williams these days? Especially the Fourth.
Good choice by Maestro Kalmar.

May. 12 2011 01:01 PM
John J. Christiano from Franklin NJ

What did the sound track from the Victory at Sea series say to us?

What does the 1812 Overture say to us?

Battle Hymn of the Republic?

We appreciate these musical works for what they are, and forget why they were written or what they commemorate.

When we re-connect them to the events that caused them to be written, they take on a different, and often somber, meaning.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Muisc was meant to draw out the emotions of the listener and perhaps invoke thought and reflection.

May. 12 2011 09:57 AM

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