Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic To Launch MUSIC OF CONSCIENCE
Next week, Jaap van Zweden and the New York Philharmonic will launch Music of Conscience, three weeks exploring the ways in which composers have used music to respond to the social and political issues of their times.
The first program features two composers' responses to tyranny: Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony - derived from his String Quartet No. 8, written in Dresden 15 years after it was razed in an Allied bombing and inscribed "in memory of victims of fascism and war" - and Beethoven's Eroica Symphony - dedicated to Napoleon until he crowned himself Emperor, whereupon Beethoven denounced him as "a tyrant ... who will think himself superior to all men." Music of Conscience: The Orchestral World Responds (on display in the Bruno Walter Gallery in David Geffen
Hall, May 16-June 8) will present the Philharmonic's history of politics in the concert hall and how musicians have responded to current events. Highlights include:
- A letter from 500+ New York musicians - including members of the Philharmonic - to Arturo Toscanini thanking him for his stance against Fascism during World War II (pictured, top right)
- A letter from First Lieutenant Thomas Holt, a POW in Germany during World War II, requesting the Philharmonic's weekly program notes and other literature so as to keep up with the Orchestra
- The program from the World Premiere of John Adams's On the Transmigration of Souls, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music, including a composer's note that describes the piece as a "memory space ... where you can go and be alone with your thoughts and emotions."