From KERA News:
American history has been marked for centuries by lynchings and the murders of unarmed African Americans. It’s a vast and violent topic, but it’s not inspired much in the way of classical music.
Until now. Saturday, the Fort Worth Opera will present a new, classic requiem commemorating the many Black victims of America’s racial violence.
A requiem is based on the Catholic funeral Mass — complete with a “dies irae,” or “day of wrath,” a musical section evoking the Last Judgment. But although “An African American Requiem” follows many such traditions, it explicitly addresses the conflicted and often violent situation of Black Americans the past 400 years.
During a recent rehearsal, pianist Charlene Lotz played a jarring version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” until she reached the line, “the land of the free” — and everything halted.
The musical note for “free” was never played.
“It’s the moment that people remember the most,” said composer-conductor Damien Geter.