Harbison's Abu Ghraib to Premiere in Massachusetts

Classic Arts News   Harbison's Abu Ghraib to Premiere in Massachusetts
A new work by John Harbison responding to the torture scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison will premiere at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival in Massachusetts on June 18.

Abu Ghraib is a 13-minute work for cello and piano, according to the Boston Globe. It is "not a protest or a moral lesson," Harbison writes in his program notes. "Instead it seeks music in a moment when words can fail."

Pianist David Deveau, the director of the festival, and cellist Rhonda Rider will perform the world premiere.

The piece is divided into two "Scenes" followed by a "Prayer." The scenes, Deveau told the Globe, include "ritualistic, military-sounding music" and an Iraqi song that Harbison transcribed in 1962.

The festival opened last night and runs through July 2. It includes performances by the Brentano String Quartet, pianist Garrick Ohlsson, and the contemporary-music group eighth blackbird, as well as the debut of Les Amies, a trio consisting of flutist Carol Wincenc, harpist Nancy Allen of the New York Philharmonic, and violist Cynthia Phelps, also of the Philharmonic.

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