Composer’s Program Note:
Throughout 2012, Bashar Al Assad’s regime has been murdering men women and children who have been asking for change in Syria. A recent news report displayed dozens of children found dead in Homs. The reporter commented on how they looked peaceful “as though sleeping”.
A few days later I sat down to write a new piano miniature in response to a commission from the International Beethoven Project. Their theme was “revolution” and the new miniature was to be inspired by the Eroica Symphony, Beethoven’s most revolutionary (and politically laced) work. It seemed natural for me to respond by commenting on the current revolution and loss of life in Syria. The result is a simple little elegy called For Syria in which the piano’s singing line is a lullaby for those sleeping children: a lullaby that they have been robbed of the chance to hear.
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From BUT BEAUTIFUL, a new project from pianist Lara Downes. Renowned as one of the preeminent interpreters of American concert music, Downes offers a deeply personal tribute to the legendary Billie Holiday, approaching the 100th anniversary of her birth. In this extraordinary solo recital, Downes brings her radiant lyricism and musical sensitivity to an intimate exploration of the iconic songs that are forever associated with Lady Day.
A holiday greeting from pianist Lara Downes-
This is the Waltz from The Christmas Tree Suite, Op. 21 by Vladimir Ivanovich Rebikov (1866 -1920), late romantic 20th century Russian composer.
Lara Downes: Tango from the Exiles’ Cafe
A film by Brawlio Elias
How do you deal with the phenomena of being “too American” for your home country yet “too xyz” for the United States?
Where do you find your safe place/sense of home?
Do you even have one? Is this even possible?
Do you find yourself compromising aspects of your cultural background?
And you think it’s time, delighted
Eagerly seize pen in hand and
Triumphant, begin to create, or
Scribbles which began in Greece,
Detoured through Paradise, won
Stage-acclaim in England, and
Preened at a Paris salon,
Before arriving in America,
Where red wheelbarrows
March 1936. “Heavy black clouds of dust rising over the Texas Panhandle” — evidence of the forces that were driving thousands of farm families in Texas and Oklahoma to the West Coast in the great Dust Bowl migration chronicled in “The Grapes of Wrath.” Medium format negative by Arthur Rothstein. (via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive :: Doomsday: 1936)