18 May, 2008
Many Thanks to Peter Matthews at Feast of Music for the kind words about the recent performance of Soldier Songs at Vox. There are some interesting bits about the piece that I thought I would mention here, just to provide a little background.
In his post, Pete talks about the final song heard at Vox, Two Marines. Like all the movements of Soldier Songs, Two Marines is based on a true story, although it is unique among the movements, in that the story was not culled from the interviews I conducted. Rather, it is based on a news story I heard in 2004 about Carlos Arredondo. I won't recount the story here, but you should check it out. Suffice it to say, it moved me deeply.
At the end of Two Marines, a quotation emerges on the piccolo, glockenspiel, and toy piano. A lot of people seem to think that they know the song was, but no one's quite guessed it yet. The song is, in fact, a World War One protest song, from 1915, called "I Didn't Raise My Boy To Be A Soldier." I included this quotation, first for what it brings to the subtext of Two Marines, but also for its suggestion that protest has always been as much a part of war as fighting, killing, dying, and mourning.
You can listen to the original here, in all it's crackly glory.
Photo (c) Carol Rosegg for New York City Opera