EDITOR'S NOTE: We offer this post in solidarity with the Black community on the eve of Blackout Tuesday. We will not post anything additional on Tuesday.
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The great civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it simply and eloquently: "We cannot walk alone."
This week we offer a compilation of the musical statements generated in response to New York Philharmonic Principal Clarinetist Anthony McGill’s "Take Two Knees" challenge (#TakeTwoKnees), which has inspired musicians around the globe to post performances on social media to support the cause of justice. We've paired each one with a quote by Dr. King.
Violinist Melissa White plays John Rosamond Johnson’s "Lift Every Voice and Sing."
"Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."
Violinist Johnny Gandelsman plays Igor Stravinsky’s "Elegie."
"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality."
Clarinetist Marquise Bradley plays the post-Civil War African-American song "Oh, Freedom!"
"A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true."
Violinist Harumi Rhodes plays an excerpt inspired by the Jewish communal prayer "Kol Nidre."
"I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant."
Violist Adrian Anantawan plays the Sarabande from J.S. Bach’s Cello Suite No. 5 (transcribed for viola).
"If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward."
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Flutist Jennifer Grim plays "Going Home," extracted from the Largo of Antonín Dvorák’s Symphony #9.
"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."
Flutist Demarre McGille plays "Deep River," an anonymous spiritual of African-American origin.
"There comes a time when people get tired of being pushed out of the glittering sunlight of life's July and left standing amid the piercing chill of an alpine November."
Violinist Rachel Barton Pine plays "Nobody Knows the Trouble I See," an African-American spiritual that originated in the time of slavery.
"The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: 'If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?' But the good Samaritan reversed the question: 'If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’"
Violinist Yulia Ziskel plays John Williams’ theme from "Schindler’s List."
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."
Bassoonist Daniel Matsukawa plays Sam Cooke’s "A Change is Gonna Come."
"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."
Violist Caleb Georges plays a solo excerpt from the second movement of Antonín Dvorák's "American" Quintet Op. 97.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for."
Sincere thanks to these artists for their heartfelt, inspired, poignant performances.
"Only in the darkness can you see the stars." — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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