Fringe in Sketch: SONGS OF WARS I HAVE SEEN (Heiner Goebbels)

Songs of Wars I Have Seen juxtaposes modern and period instruments, electronic atmospherics, baroque compositions, modernist harmonies, and the haunting text of Gertrude Stein’s World War II memoir to create a bittersweet lament on war’s insidious effects. Read the Phindie review >>>

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An American Jew living in the Nazi puppet state of Vichy France, Stein detailed everyday life in a neutral, descriptive style, pausing as much on the food she ate as the atrocities engulfing Europe. Her Wars I Have Seen tells us what is happening, without telling us how to feel about it.

songs_of_warConducted by Estonian maestro Anu Tali, the staged concert sees female performers from Philadelphia’s leading classical music groups — Philadelphia Orchestra and Baroque ensemble Tempesta di Mare — speak Stein’s words.

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Male and female musicians play compositions that bridge centuries of music, with melodies ranging from jazzy bursts to plaintive moans, incorporating melancholic and violent segments by the 17th-century English composer Matthew Locke.

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[FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Boulevard] September 7-8,


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