Friedenfor 9-voice mixed choir a cappella (2013)
“When I was awarded the commission to write a work for the peace concert ‘Leipzig 1813-1913-2013’ commemorating the two hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig, I was deeply moved that I had been given this opportunity to write about peace. It is an extraordinary honour and privilege for an Austrian composer – together with five other composers from Germany, France, Poland, Russia and Sweden – to deliver a musical message of peace at the European peace concert.
While working on my composition ‘Achemilla vulgaris’ for Walter Wehmeyer’s documentary film ‘The Dawn of Women’s Rights’ in 2010, I spent some time studying the life and work of Bertha von Suttner, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. This prompted my decision to set passages of her famous novel ‘Lay Down Your Arms’ to music for my choral work for Leipzig.”
“What a recovery of free breath even that word ‘suspension of hostilities’ caused. How the world would at least breathe again, thought I then for the first time, if on all hands could be heard: ‘Lay down your arms’, down with them for ever!”
“It began to be a fixed idea with me, that war must cease. And every individual must contribute, all that he is able, to bring mankind nearer to this end, were it but by the thousandth part of a line.”
(Passage from the novel “Lay Down Your Arms!” by Bertha von Suttner, published in 1889, Longmans, Green and Co. New York, London and Bombay, 1908)
The choral work “Frieden” by Gabriele Proy was commissioned by the Denkmalchor Leipzig, the city of Leipzig choir based at the Monument to the Battle of Leipzig or the Battle of Nations, for the peace concert to be held as part of the “Leipzig 1813-1913-2013” commemorations of the two hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig.
“Frieden” is dedicated to the Denkmalchor Leipzig, which performed the piece at its world premiere on 20 October 2013 at the concert “Eine Europaeische Friedensmusik 2013” held as part of the “Leipzig 1813-1913-2013” commemorations of the two hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig.
Thanks are due to the City of Leipzig and the Oesterreichisches Kulturforum Berlin for the financial support they provided for the Austrian composer Gabriele Proy while she was in Leipzig for the concert.