Movement 6

Movement 6: Courage

Theme: Courage and Bravery

 Text:

If you become part of the suffering,
you’d be entirely lost.Der Winter ist vergangen.
Ich seh’ des Maien Schein;
Ich seh’ die Blumen prangen;
Des ist mein Herz erfreut.
Da singt Frau Nachtigalle
Und manch’ Waldvogelein.Beauty remains,
even in misfortune.
One who is happy will make others happy,
one who has courage will never die in misery.Ade, mein’ Allerliebste!
Ade, schon’s Blumelein!
Ade, schon’ Rosenblume;
Es muss geschieden sein!
Das Herz in meinem Leibe
Gehort ja allzeit dein.Der Winter ist vergangen.
Ich seh’ des Maien Schein;
Ich seh’ die Blumen prangen;
Des ist mein Herz erfreut.
Da singt Frau Nachtigalle
Und manch’ Waldvogelein.
Translation: (from German)
The winter is over,
I see the light of May;
I see blossoms everywhere;
and my heart is pleased.
There sings the Nightingale
and the small forest birds;Goodbye, my beloved!
Goodbye, beautiful blossoms!
Goodbye, beautiful rose flower;
I must leave you.

Concept:

Explore the concept of courage in times of struggle and why/when it is important to demonstrate courageous behavior.

Theme in other Musical Examples:

Mumford & Sons – After the Storm:

James Horner – Freedom Braveheart Theme:

Bloc Party – Biko:

Bridge Concept:

What does it mean to be courageous? How do people show courage, and why is it important to exhibit courage during times of hardship?

Examining the Theme and Historical Context through the Text/Music:

The textual motif “If you become part of the suffering, you’d be entirely lost” appears in the start of this movement and (to my knowledge) it is the only time the message is explicitly expressed in the entire work. It establishes a tone of optimism in the face of darkness. The movement then goes on to an unaccompanied (a capella) section of German text. Oftentimes, a capella vocal music rightly emphasizes and accentuates the text. This practice is evident throughout many of the great choral masterworks. For example, Giuseppe Verdi’s Messa Da Requiem features an a capella section for the chorus in the opening Requiem movement to establish a somber and humble tone while pleading to God for eternal rest. Like Verdi’s Requiem, Whitbourn uses this effect to establish his own highly expressive tone. In this way, the music is able to characterize the message of optimism with great clarity, concentration, and intensity. Without accompaniment, the text is also in the fore and the use of German, Anne Frank’s native tongue, provides even more purity to the conviction behind the message of maintaining courage and hope in even the bleakest of times.

The next section of the movement invites the soloist to sing above the choir. The choir continues to sing in German bidding farewell to loved ones and beautiful flowers, representing a loss of hope and failure to maintain optimism. But the sense of courage and optimism is preserved, in English, through the soloist. The section reaches a climax when the soloist peaks on the word “never” in the line, “one who has courage will never die in misery.” Thus, the soloist’s culmination epitomizes the value of courage against the choir that expresses a loss of hope.

Following the soloist’s injection of optimism, the accompaniment reenters and the first German verse is repeated. The value of courage, now represented by the accompaniment and solo clarinet countermelodies, weaves throughout the repeated German text and transforms it. In contrast to the a capella section, the music flows and the movement takes on a brighter tone. In the end, the message presented at the very start is realized fully through the journey of the movement.

Connecting Concepts and Context:

Consider the following question in relation to the next three historic examples: In what way do these examples relate to Anne’s lyrics in the text above?

The “Tank Man” from the 1989 Tiananmen Square Protest

Students organized peaceful protests in Beijing, China following the death of leader Hu Yaobang in April 1989. They marched through Beijing to Tiananmen Square, gathering over one million supporters to promote democracy and to publicly oppose Chinese communism. Between June 4 and 5, Chinese military was sent to break up the demonstrations and fired upon the crowds. An official death toll was never publicly released, but it is believed that at least a few hundred people were killed. These famous images depict one unidentified Chinese man’s courage in the face of Chinese armed forces.

9/11 first emergency responders (NYPD, FDNY, PAPD)

The United States was attacked on September 11, 2001. Two planes were hijacked and flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center while another was hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon building. A fourth plane was also hijacked and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. The attack on the World Trade Center was devastating and a high amount of emergency responders were summoned to help the victims of the attack. The New York City Fire Department and Police Department as well as many off duty responders and civilians were among the responders that came to help survivors in the wreckage. Today, many of these responders are facing serious health complications as a result of breathing in chemicals and debris from the crash sites. It goes without saying that these responders, and the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 who fought the terrorists on their flight and resulted in the crash in Pennsylvania, exhibited bravery.

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson was a gifted athlete and is famous for being the first black player to play in Major League Baseball. He played his first game as a Brooklyn Dodger on April 15, 1947. In doing so, Robinson spearheaded the movement to desegregate baseball. In a time when discrimination and racism were commonplace, Robinson’s actions and status as a ballplayer in a previously all white league were met with serious opposition. But his perseverance and dedication were admirable and his legacy was a vital contribution to the advancement of civil rights in America.


 Next: Movement 7

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