Eric Sawyer on his music “Civil Disobedience”

The Concord Orchestra premieres Eric Sawyer’s Civil Disobedience with narrator David Gullette on March 31 and April 1, 2017. Eric describes how he used the text of Thoreau’s essay:

“Civil Disobedience for narrator and orchestra draws from the text of Henry David Thoreau’s essay “On Civil Disobedience,” in which he discusses his choice to withhold payment from the tax collector, resulting in his spending a night in jail. While immediately motivated by Thoreau’s unwillingness to support slavery and the Mexican war through his tax dollars, this episode gives occasion for a larger meditation on government, the consent of the governed, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens within Thoreau’s actual and ideal societies. The musical setting follows the wide ranging moods of the text, from righteously outraged to drolly mocking to serenely envisioning. The narration is woven into a dynamic orchestral accompaniment requiring close coordination on the part of the narrator, surrounded by several extended orchestral interludes.”

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