Shabbat Shalom. This has been a week, a month, a summer. As we write this, we recall that a week ago the latest worst thing was the Bulgaria bombing. And then we awoke last Friday morning to the next latest worst thing.
Questions abound amidst the sadness, grief, anxiety. Was it preventable? Could it have been better/worse with more/different/fewer laws? Did someone/anyone see something/anything? Are we/can we/will we be safe here/there/somewhere?
The brother of one of the victims has led a push to focus media coverage on the victims, not the perpetrator. To connect us with the people behind the numbers – who they were, what they dreamed, how they contributed as members of our community. As has often been said among us – who knows what might have been created by those whose lives were cut short?
We have been privileged this season to participate as cosponsors of the Colorado Music Festival’s Rediscovered Masters series. Last Sunday evening, as the names of the Aurora victims were just becoming known, we had the opportunity to hear Robert Elias, President of the OREL Foundation, speaking with Michael Christie and Professor David Shneer. Why the OREL Foundation works to encourage interest in and performance of these works:
There are three aspects to be taken into consideration when approaching this music: moral, historical and artistic. Undoing injustice, when one can, is a moral mandate for all citizens of a civilized world. We cannot restore to these composers their lost lives. We can, however, return the gift that would mean more to them than any other–to play their music.
“Our perspectives on the history of twentieth-century classical music are incomplete because an enormous quantity of works has remained unplayed, and the lives of these composers largely ignored. History is not only made by its “big names,” its warrior kings, dictators and most famous artists, but also by the collective action of all of those artists who lived in a given era. The twentieth century needs to be re-scrutinized after we acquaint ourselves with the voluminous music cast out by the Nazi suppression.
“Neither moral nor historical considerations would be reason enough for revival were it not for the artistic quality of what was lost. This cannot be judged by a single hearing of tokenistic or uncommitted performances. Judgments, if indeed they must be made, can only be made after those performing and listening over the course of years have given the spirit of that era sufficient time to be fully digested.”*
As I processed the news over the last week, that mantra from Sunday night stuck with me – moral, historical, artistic. The aspiring reporter, the dad who protected his children, the single mom going back to school – how will we remember them? Who knows what they might have created?
May August be better for all of us.
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- Federation Launches Fund For Aurora Shooting Victims