Thesis

Choral Reflections on War and Peace

The project explores choral music written in response to events of warfare or to issues directly and causally related to them, with the goal to promote nonviolent ways of communities living together by initiating reflections about nature and necessity of warfare and possible nonviolent alternatives. Starting from an argumentative dialectical triad, choral musical selections embody these argumentative insights and questions. A first set of pieces reflects the despair, the cruelty and the agitation resulting from lack of resources, a desire for oppression, a feeling of being threatened and nationalistic enthusiasm, which are identified as possible sources for the emergence of war. To illustrate the question whether war is worth its costs, a second set of music shows the melancholy resulting from exilation, juxtaposes the invocation of a formerly intact nature of places like Vietnam against its historically known destruction, expresses the individual terror of the battlefield and finally arrives in speechlessness in face of the many civil victims of war, culminated in the atomic bomb. The frequent assumption that war is a historical necessity and inevitably tied to Human nature must be challenged to achieve a peaceful future. Therefore a third set of pieces illustrates moments of successful nonviolent action giving the relief of a moment of pausing the weapons, and a vision of a collaborative community, woven in an optimistic musical texture, ending with a signature piece of nonviolent action.

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