This year I had the great honor to be invited to participate in a charity concert, a fundraiser for a Rwandan school and hospital center Mukungu, run by Slovenian Sisters of Mercy: Vesna Hiti, Bogdana Kavčič, Vida Gerkman and Anka Burger. The sisters ignored many threats to their lives during the Rwandan civil war to save the helpless, and to this very day stay among the poor, showing them a way to a better tomorrow. Their dedication and courage was the inspiration for the Two Impressions of Rwanda for solo piano that were composed for the event and performed live (by me) that evening.
The songs portray both the horrors of the war, the rise of the military and the suffering of the refugees, and the new hope for life, song and dance that rises from the love and faith brought by the Sisters.
Here's a rendering with GPO's Steinway (from actual practice one day before the show)
Injustice. Given the scale of what you allude to, what good is a message in a forum? What is the value of musical criticism or appraisal in such a context? Who are we to judge in such matters?
Well, it's a great performance. I can't really hear all the events you describe, knowing what happened, but the language of music is too limited to echo such history. I do hear agitation, relief, uproar, and indeed, song and dance.
Stylistically it's a rather eclectic work. It seems you choose separate styles to represent the different periods, is that right? Some passages are musically more interesting to me than others, but I guess for this work the story matters more than the notes.
If that's the case, then the knowledge of Rwanda's recent history makes it a rather haunting performance. Trying to link historical to musical events while listening is a sobering task. In that context, even the uplifting finale sounds as a shallow happiness, relief devoid of real joy.
Still, it's a noble undertaking to tell a story that should not be forgotten, even if there is no happy end, and all that remains is our frail human condition. To do so in a musical form is certainly worthy of being heard, and I praise you for doing so, and sharing it with us.
Thanks for the review Theo!
Agreed, no piece of music can ever encompass such a disaster, especially not by a musician of my humble skills.
The first part is supposed to express a lot of violence and fear, the second should reflect a sort of "picking up the broken pieces" feel and also contains many paraphrases of Gounod's Ave Maria, but many themes in both were done by studying Rwandan music and dances found on Youtube.