Camerata Philadelphia celebrated Mozart’s birthday with exquisite performances of one of his Haydn quartets (G major) and his first piano quartet. I was fortunate to be included in that good company – with a performance of my quartet “Afterwards, there were no more wars” in between the two Mozart works. As a composer of string quartets, it feels rather daunting to have one of mine presented immediately following a Mozart masterpiece – but was thrilled to see the reception it got.
“Afterwards” is one of my many works intended to encourage in the minds and hearts of the audience the idea that peace is possible. The title came first, driving the composition of the music, offering the hope, however unlikely given human history, that someday in our future, someone will be able to pick up a history book and read this sentence – and, afterwards, there were no more wars.
It was not lost on me that, coincidentally, this work was programmed on a day that, in addition to celebrating the birthday of one of history’s greatest musicians, was a day of remembrance of one of history’s most horrifying events – the holocaust. In our present time, when neo-Nazism in various guises seems to be again on the rise, I hope the intent of this music, at least for those who heard it, will be fulfilled.
Thanks to Luigi Mazzocchi, Blake Espy, Jonathan Kim and Stephen Framil for their beautiful and expressive performance.