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Music and the 9/11 Anniversary

It is, as we used to say in the newsroom, a “significant” anniversary.   It ends with a zero.

The tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks has brought out all kinds of somber reflections on the day, remembrances of lives lost, and a lot of huffing and puffing about how “safe” America is these days.

While there’s been some of that on NPR, there’s also been some thought given to artistic expressions around the events of that September day, and their website is exploring 9/11 in the context of a lot of musical genres.  Under the classical tab, they’ve been interviewing composers who have written music in tribute to 9/11, including such notables as John Corigliano and Ned Rorem.

I don’t know if Krzysztof Penderecki’s extremely moving Piano Concerto “Resurrection” will make the NPR list.  Penderecki had been commissioned to write his first piano concerto for Carnegie Hall, and was working on it when the towers came down.  It became a sound poem of the day, with echos of the fire truck sirens and the horror, captured in music.

Last year, Chuck and I heard the Nashville Symphony Orchestra perform the work with Penderecki himself holding the baton and  Barry Douglas at the keyboard.  Penderecki and Douglas have been working collaboratively to perfect the work, which is now in its third and final form.   They recorded the work with the Polish Symphony Orchestra over the winter.   The recording is supposed to be available on Naxos, but I have not been able to locate it.   But Chuck did find this on YouTube.   The quality is good — and it’s worth plugging headphones into your computer to get the full effect.

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