Gaza Cantos

There is no such thing as polit­ical music. It is an il­lu­sion to think that notes – sounds – can teach you how to be­have, be a good cit­izen or con­tribute to so­ciety. Music is an ex­per­i­ence, a cel­eb­ra­tion of our ex­ist­ence, not a lan­guage which can convey meaning. Beauty can be ex­per­i­enced by everyone re­gard­less of polit­ical af­fil­i­ation, re­li­gious tenets, morals or habits, but does not have the power to change these. Nonetheless, it is a form of com­munity. We share our mu­sical ex­per­i­ences: our souls lifted by the sounds of Beethoven’s A minor quartet; the ex­hil­ar­a­tion, blood-pounding in our ears, of Messiaen’s Turangalîla; glit­tering med­it­a­tions on the mo­ment in the music of Salvatore Sciarrino. While taking care never to use music as a pulpit from which to preach, it is an op­por­tunity to pro­voke thought and contemplation.

After the in­va­sion of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli Defence Forces on 27 December 2008 and the en­suing con­flict, I felt the need to give voice to a des­per­a­tion I felt at the seem­ingly never-ending legacy of vi­olent idiocy in the re­gion, a legacy in which we are all im­plic­ated. I do not wish to present any par­tic­ular opinion, each must think for them­selves. This is written in solid­arity with all those cit­izens of Palestine and Israel whose hearts are filled with love and peace – 11 mil­lion songs of hope.

Gaza Cantos was written for Robert Guy and was premiered at a lunch­time con­cert on 9 May as part of Wrexham Arts Festival 2009.

  • Instrumentation

    • Solo viola
  • Details

    • Duration: 3’30”
    • First performance: 9 May 2009, Robert Guy, Wrexham Arts Festival
    • Subsequent performances:
    • 21 May 2012, Robert Guy, Royal Northern College of Music
    • 30 September 2010, Emma Richards, Hexham Abbey Festival
    • 28 May 2009, Robert Guy, University of Manchester