Artists have often used their art as a means of making sense of the horrors of war and taking a political stance: from Salvador Dalí's painting Face of War to Kryzstof Penderecki's string orchestra work Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima. On May 12 as part of Carnegie Hall's Spring for Music Festival, the Oregon Symphony takes the stage and presents a program titled Music for a Time of War featuring cornerstone works by John Adams, Charles Ives, Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughn Williams.
As a precursor to WQXR's live webcast of the Oregon Symphony's performance, this evening, May 12 from 5 to 8 pm, Q2 provides our own somber take on Oregon's programming theme. Opening the segment is Frederic Rzewski performing his own piece, The People United Will Never Be Defeated!, a set of etudes composed in tribute to the struggle of the Chilean people against the oppressive regime of General Augusto Pinochet's government. Steve Reich's Different Trains includes samples of recorded speeches from Holocaust survivors and Q2 brings you a special live recording of the piece from the Chiara Quartet's 2010 performance at (Le) Poisson Rouge.
Finnish composer, Seppo Pohjola's New York New York was written in response to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8 is often regarded as a veiled charge on Stalin's regime. To conclude this exploration into music written in response to political tragedy, John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer Choruses are excerpted from his opera based on the 1985 hijacking of the passenger liner Achille Lauro by the Palestine Liberation Front which resulted in the murder of Jewish-American passenger Leon Klinghoffer.
Frederic Rzewski: The People United Will Never Be Defeated!
Frederic Rzewski, piano
Steve Reich: Different Trains
Seppo Pohjola: New York New York
Lowell Lieberman: String Quartet No. 3, "To the Victims of War"
Dmitri Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 8
John Adams: The Death of Klinghoffer: Choruses
Kent Nagano, conductor
Orchestra of the Opera of Lyon
London Opera Chorus