Norbert Palej is a real treasure.
We had a really moving concert with Polycoro on the 9th of November. It hit close to home for me, thanks to Norbert Palej’s wonderful work – Arise, Cry out in the night. It was written as a commentary/memorial of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, and was commissioned by the Elmer Isler Singers.
This work carries with it a deep despair, desperation, and hopelessness that can’t be ignored. To hear the cries of those voices speaking in terror from beyond the grave is more than haunting. It is scarring. There are many fine composers in the world, but Norbert manages to hit me in deep places in a unique and individual manner. His ability to attach emotional meaning to music is profound, and I’m grateful to him for continuing to share his gifts.
All that was left to the people living in the Warsaw Ghetto was to choose how they would die, for death was surely imminent. The poetry and conduct of the people there speaks to that incredibly clearly. They fought, bled, and died as heroes.
It is a completely tragic coincidence that this is happening all over again. This is NOT in the rear view mirror. It is happening Right Now. In Hong Kong.
People are dying right now, today, for the right to vote, for fair treatment, to protest police brutality. The government has responded with force. The Police has threatened to use deadly force, and have begun to use it with increasing frequency.
Don’t fool yourself. Don’t look away. Don’t dishonor these heroes that way. Even if we can’t do much, we mustn’t allow this to go unnoticed or unspoken.