On the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, Rembrandt presents a special event five years in the making. War and the Human Heart combines chamber orchestra, chorus, film, and live narration in a moving performance that honors the experience of war for every veteran, past or present. Join Rembrandt Chamber Musicians, the Valparaiso University Chorale, the Valparaiso University Bach Choir, and conductor Craig Jessop (former director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir) for a thought-provoking journey into the veteran experience. Works by Beethoven, Strauss, Holst, Schumann, and others.
FEATURED GUESTS: Craig Jessop (former Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir), conductor; Carl Grapentine (WFMT Morning Program), narrator; Christopher Cock (Director of Choral and Vocal Activities at Valparaiso University), tenor; Anne Marie Bice, soprano; Daniel Eifert, baritone; Steven Ovitsky (Executive Director, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival), shofar.
PRE-CONCERT TALK – 6:15 pm: “France in the Great War: The Divide between Home Front and Front Line — and How a Song Bridged the Gap.” Dr. Charles Rearick, Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, will deliver a unique and engaging presentation on Quand Madelon, the “hit song” of World War I in France. Through the lyrics and history of this popular song, Dr. Rearick explores the collective emotions of the troops and the enduring memory of the war in the public imagination. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to view photographs and other materials from Dr. Rearick’s private collection while hearing a dynamic talk by one of only a few experts in the popular music of WWI. The presentation will begin at 6:15 p.m. in St. James Commons, adjacent to the Cathedral. Co-sponsored by the Valparaiso University Music Department.
Support for this concert generously provided by the Chansons de Guerre Fund.
What we are trying to do with this concert
The concert program and presentation operate on several different levels:
- In connection with the 100thAnniversary of Armistice Day, it is meant to honor veterans, but in a particular way. Due to the institution of an all-volunteer armed services many years ago, a dwindling percentage of US families have any direct contact with the military. This phenomenon has been called the “civilian-military divide” and has been discussed extensively. When people thank me for my service, most don’t understand what my service really was. So one object of the program is to help the audience understand what a veteran has really experienced—and of course music communicates on a different (emotional) level, different from reading a book or article.
- War seems always to be with us, so the concert will give the audience the opportunity to contemplate war: for instance, one of the musical themes is, what if your country is attacked? You don’t give up, but you are forced to fight back to preserve or obtain your freedom. Is war effective as a dispute-resolution mechanism? The composers and librettists—several of whom were veterans themselves–portray war in different ways. The music is intended to be thought-provoking. The title of the concert was derived from the surprisingly many disparate persons who have juxtaposed “war and the human heart” in their writings. These range from 1731: “The human heart is the starting point of all matters pertaining to war.” (Marechal Maurice, Comte de Saxe, Mes Reveries) to 1891: “By the very law of our nature, it thus appears, the well-spring of war is in the human heart” (Rear Admiral S. B. Luce, The Benefits of War); to 2006: “[W]ar and peace start in the human heart” (Pema Chödrön, Practicing Peace In Times of War). In other words, “war is us” and it is ultimately our responsibility to think about it as servicemembers are sent overseas to fight for us.
- The musical program contains music from many countries, illustrating that war is universal and affects people all over the world.
BEETHOVEN: Krieger Chor [Soldiers’ Song]: Wir Bauen und Sterben [We Build and Die], WoO 96, from incidental music to Leonora Prohaska, a drama by Johann Friedrich Duncker, cabinet secretary to the King of Prussia (1814)
STRAUSS: Feierlicher Einzug der Ritter des Johanniterordens (Solemn Processional of the Knights of the Order of St. John), TrV 224 (1909)
GRAINGER: We Have Fed Our Sea for a Thousand Years (1911)
What Do You Do if You Are Attacked? Or Your Country is Occupied?
READ: The Reveille, Op. 89b (1962)
MARLY: Chant des Partisans (Song of the Partisan Fighters) (1940)
Anne Marie Bice, Soprano
The Veteran’s Experience: Camaraderie, Sacrifice, “Battle Madness”
ROBERT: Quand Madelon (1914)
ROUSSEL: Le Bardit des Francs (War Song of the Franks) (1926)
HOLST: A Dirge for Two Veterans, H121 (1914)
Veterans’ Fear and Commitment
BLISS: Fanfare for a Dignified Occasion, F. 61 (1947)
MARTINU: Polni Mse (Field Mass/Soldier’s Mass), H. 279 (1939)
Daniel Eifert, Baritone
Loss and Hope for the Future
BOUTRY: Marche de Novembre (Commemorating the Battle of the Verdun) (1975)
SCHUMANN: Beim Abschied zu Singen (Parting Song), Op. 84 (1847)
HOLST: Turn Back O Man, Op. 36a/H.134 (1916)
More information: rembrandt chamber players website