MRSCP has helped co-sponsor the Rachel Corrie cantata "The Skies are Weeping" in London. MRSCP member Jennifer Loewenstein will attend the opening.
"The Skies are Weeping" is the cantata inspired by Rachel - and includes some of her words. "The Singer of Wind and Rain" is five Palestinian poems set for mixed choir and composed by Gregory Youtz whose father Byron (now deceased) taught at Evergreen. Concert patrons include Noam Chomsky, Harold Pinter, Ilan Pappe, John Pilger, Avi Shlaim, Susannah York, Julie Christie, and Uri Fruchtman. Craig, Sarah, Kelly, and I will be at the premiere in London.
Eighteen months ago I wrote a press release for what I thought would be the upcoming performance of a memorial cantata about a dedicated American college student, to be performed by other dedicated American college students. It was not to be. Some of the premises I had accepted in creating the work were seriously flawed.
The first flawed premise was that in the environment of the ongoing Iraq War, one could expect an even table when presenting an antiwar argument - especially in a work of fine art. I was wrong.
The second flawed premise was that once I explained the content of the work to people who thought "this shouldn't even be played," an agreement could be reached that this performance should be allowed to proceed, and the work judged upon its merits. Wrong again.
The third flawed premise was that this might be a work which could be offered at American colleges and universities which might engender discussion about the humanitarian problems which Rachel Corrie had engaged herself in trying to solve. I'm now convinced that no American college or university will ever present this work.
Although I dedicated the work to the Gen. Mark Hamilton, president of the University of Alaska, for his "unfailing support of freedom of expression on the campuses of the University [of Alaska]", he has never acknowledged the dedication, despite several attempts to seek such acknowledgment. So I am now withdrawing that dedication. UAA was very supportive at the time of the cancellation of the initial performance, but promises from administrators to find a way to ultimately perform the piece have understandably lapsed into apparatchik spheres of nothingness.
The three lyricists - Phil Goldvarg, Linda McCarriston and Thushara Wijeratna - have had to endure the flaws of the work into which I projected them. I'm sorry about that, but they've stated they'll stay along for the ride. That being said, "The Skies are Weeping" is perhaps my most important composition, and its upcoming premiere in London on November 1st is an event of interest.
"The Skies are Weeping" will premiere on November 1 at the Hackney Empire Theatre, performed by Deborah Fink, soprano, the Coro Cervantes, the London Percussion Ensemble, with Dominic Saunders, piano, directed by Peter Crockford. Other works will be "The Singer of Wind and Rain" by Gregory Youtz, and Palestinian song and dance music. The concert will be a benefit for the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions and the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme. I am hoping that should the music prove to be worthy, we will be playing it in Anchorage and other cities.
October 09, 2005