In what should have been a night of melodious victory at Carnegie Hall on Sunday, one aspect made the performance come crashing down: the cancellation of it. Jonas Tarm’s piece was booted from the show after an open letter was written from a Nazi survivor expressing their distaste of the use of an melody that highlighted the very group she was forced to escape from.
Tarm’s piece was entitled, in Ukrainian, Marsh u Nebuttya (March to Oblivion) and house one short melody from a Nazi anthem called Horst Wessel. Ironically, Tarm had won the right to showcase his piece from the New York Youth Symphony after winning a contest.
Tarm defended his musical formulation and stated that there should be no inferences placed without listening to the piece itself. Still, he never shared this information with the youth within the orchestra that may have inveighed playing such tunes.
When confronted, he never seemed to take these aspects into account. He stated, “I strongly believe that the music should speak for itself". We feel the music and the composers have spoken.
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