Publisher: G. Schirmer
Music for the Living (1983),
available in the USA, Canada and Mexico only
Opera and Music Theatre
1 Hours 40 Minutes
SATB chorus, boys choir (treble choir); ballet soloists, dancers
2 Sopranos [1=Mezzo soprano], 3 Tenors, boy treble, Bass, non-speaking actor, dancer
Music for the Living is an allegorical depiction of the physical and moral destruction of war. In Act I, a chorus of young homeless children sing a beautiful melody taught to them by a blind old man on a violin. But a bombastic military band enters, led by a trigger-happy officer. The power of the children’s incantation is more powerful than the military music, but a woman with a whip appears and using violence, finds recruits amongst the children. In Act II, a stylised version of a Romantic heroic opera is performed in a military hospital. As the piece is over, the hospital is hit by a bomb. The old man reappears and muses on the boundaries between real life and art.