About the Music
Who hasn't been horrified and heartbroken over the Russian invasion of Ukraine—the bloodshed, the enormity of fleeing refugees—one wonders: is this the way the world ends?
This solemn yet poignant composition was written as a musical reflection on the tragedy of wars—all wars: past, present and depressingly... future wars. It features three alternating quartets: trombones, Native American flutes and strings; as well as excerpts from speeches1 by Winston Churchill and John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
No man is so foolish as to desire war more than peace: for in peace sons bury their fathers, but in war fathers bury their sons."
Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die.
- Herbert Hoover
War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
- Bertrand Russell
Only the dead have seen the end of the war.
- George Santayana
Way back in 1960, a Norwegian statistician set a computer to work counting history's wars. The machine quickly compiled data that indicated in 5,560 years of recorded human history there have been 14,531 wars, or, as the computer pointed out, 2.6135 wars a year!
Although—according to a Rutgers University-Newark study in 2018—there is no scientific proof that war is ingrained in human nature; sadly, if we look back into the history of mankind, its clear that there have been wars since prehistoric ages. Needless to say, with growing regional populations all competing for valuable resources, greater divisions in social hierarchy, and the establishment of enforceable boundaries—war, far too often, became inevitable. Now as severe environmental changes occur, and the world struggles for ever-dwindling land and water resources, the chances of the outbreak of war becomes even greater.
(a) British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: before the House of Commons as the French retreat from Hitler, May 13, 1940.
(b) British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: House of Commons - September 3, 1939
(c) President John F. Kennedy bracing the nation for the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 22, 1962
“We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many many long months of struggle and destruction. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war by sea, land and air... with all our might ...with all the strength that God can give us. To wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalog of human crime. That is our policy.'”
- British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: before the House of Commons as the French retreat from Hitler, May 13, 1940
“We are fighting to save the world from the pestilence of Fascist (Nazi) tyranny and in defense of all that is most sacred to man. This is no war of domination or material gain; no war to shut any country out of its sunlight and means of progress. It is a war, viewed in its inherent quality, to establish, on impregnable rocks, the rights of the individual, and it is a war to establish and revive the stature of man.
- British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: House of Commons - September 3, 1939
“The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are; but it is the one most consistent with our character and courage as a nation and our commitments around the world. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it.
Our goal is not the victory of might, but the vindication of right; not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom ... we hope around the world.”
- President John F. Kennedy bracing the nation for the Cuban Missile Crisis, October 22, 1962
2 - Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian and geographer and is often referred to as "The Father of History" for having written a detailed account of the Greco-Persian Wars (or the "The Father of Lies" depending on your historical perspective).