Freedom of Expression, the first of GNE’s Four Freedoms concerts, focuses on two large works. Joshua Armenta’s Sonetos del amor oscuro, for tenor and ensemble, speak to the need to be true to oneself, even in the face of persecution. In this world premiere work, Armenta sets texts by Federico García Lorca, who, because of the mores of his day, was not only forced to live life as a closeted homosexual but eventually lost his life to a government that sought to violently suppress such voices. Armenta’s setting is a brave and honest reaction to facing those same choices in a culture that is changing, but within which acceptance is less than total.
The second work of the evening, Frederic Rzweski’s Coming Together/Attica, is a classic of political expression through music. A setting of letters from Sam Melville, who was a prisoner at Attica prison in upstate New York, Coming Together/Attica is a testament to the failures of a state to keep control of its population by force. Sam Melville, the author of these texts, was killed on September 13, 1971, when New York state police stormed Attica prison at the orders of governor Nelson Rockefeller.
Tickets available here.