CHAMBER ORCHESTRA WITH SOLOIST
SOLO VIOLIN AND PERCUSSION, 1•1•1•1 1•0•0•0, Harp, 2•1•1•1•1
Duration: ca. 17 minutes
Programme Note: Over a span of 100 days in 1994, the Rwandan genocide, by conservative estimates, claimed the lives of 800,000 people. General Roméo Dallaire was an eyewitness to these events as the head of an underfunded and doomed peacekeeping mission. It marked the first time a Canadian soldier was chosen to lead a UN peacekeeping mission, yet there was no peace to be kept. As General Dallaire was arriving to head the mission, foreign countries were scrambling to evacuate their troops and resources leaving Dallaire with very little to work with.
General Dallaire returned from Rwanda a broken man. He suffered from depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and will most likely require medication for the rest of his life.
Despite attempts to discredit him and even blame him for the failure of the mission in Rwanda, General Dallaire staunchly defended himself, and presented the world with an eyewitness account in his memoir Shake Hands With the Devil – the Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.
Dallaire was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for the Israelievitch Duo, and is dedicated to Jacques and Michael Israelievitch. The piece is scored for wind quintet, harp, and string quintet accompanying the two soloists. It is in two movements which are played without break. The first movement, Sorrow, is introspective. It deals with the very human emotions of sadness and regret, and the haunting spectres of those things we are powerless to change. The second movement, Redemption, is driven and powerful. It illustrates the strength of the human spirit to overcome even the harshest of trials.
Premiere: First performance by Jacques and Michael Israelievitch with principals of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Toronto, June 5-6, 2008.