Jazz Music Piano Violin
Portraits of Civil War Heroes
Portraits of Civil War Heroes, is a suite of five compositions commissioned by the Rosenbach which focus on prominent ﬁgures from the early days of the Civil War, including John Brown, Elmer Ellsworth, Ulysses S. Grant, and Robert E. Lee.
“While researching, it became clear that through conflict emerged a stronger music,” said Dave Burrell. “The Civil War brought the refinement of several blues forms and forced the evolution of rag time which segued into jazz by the 1890's.”
The special performance is just one of several programs offered by the Rosenbach commemorating Civil War 150 – the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Companion programs include a look at the War’s causes and earliest days through the exhibition The Civil War Begins (December 15, 2010 – July 17, 2011) and the five-year blog project Today in the Civil War which presents the unfolding saga of the War online at www.rosenbach.org/civilwar.
Portraits of Civil War Heroes features Dave Burrell on piano, with accompaniment on violin by accomplished Philadelphia-based musician Odessa Balan. The five suites featured in the program include: Championship Colors (a reference to Elmer Ellsworth's prize-winning Zouave Cadets); the avant-garde arrangementsJohn Brown: Life and John Brown: Death; Robert E. Lee: Nocturne; and Ulysess S. Grant: March.
As part of the program, Burrell participated in a discussion about the new works and the ways in which he found inspiration in the Rosenbach’s collections. For example, Robert E. Lee: Nocturne embodies the struggles of Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the Confederate Army, particularly in deciding his allegiance during the early war period. The composition conjures up images of Lee sitting in his parlor late at night contemplating the war and writing letters, like his resignation letter to Winfield Scott, which is part of the museum’s Civil War collection.
This commisssion was made possible by a grant from the Helen Keeler Burke Charitable Foundation.
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