© 2012 by Sunny Knable.  Photo by Misha Kaufman

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The People United Will Never Be Defeated! (1975) by Frederic Rzewski 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Musical characteristics
-Theme and variations based on the model Beethoven's Diabelli's Variations
-Written for Ursula Oppens, premiered at Kennedy Center
-Polystylistic: elements of folk music of the Americas, jazz, and serialism; improvised cadenza
-Grouped in 6 cycles: 1) simple events; 2) rhythm; 3) melodies; 4) counterpoint; 5) harmonies; 6) combinations
 
Political inspiration:
-Based on  Sergio Ortega's unofficial anthem of the Chilean democratic movement
-"The result is a form of music which functions... as a symbol of the broad unity of social classes which was the ideal of Chilean society at that time." - Rzewski
-Additional songs: Italian revolutionary song "Bandiera rossa" about refugees from Chilean fascism
      and Hanns Eisler's 1932 antifascist "Solidaritatslied"
-The length of composition alludes to the idea that "unification of people is a long story and that nothing worth winning is acquired without effort."
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rzewski performing 2007, Miami Piano Festival, FL             Ursula Oppens performing 2007, Berkeley CA