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May Festival: Anthems

  • May Festival Chorus
  • May Festival Youth Chorus
  • Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Anthems can represent freedom from suffering or victory in war, celebrate nations, sow peace or even pump up a crowd from the rock ‘n’ roll stage. What they all share in common is the power to unite and remind us of our shared humanity. This program of four unique anthem interpretations opens with the world premiere of Julia Wolfe’s choral work All that breathes, which embraces the massive sound of collective breath and exhalation, while David Lang‘s the national anthems reminds us that freedom is fragile, delicate and easy to lose. Julia Wolfe’s Pretty is a raw and raucous feminist anthem of work rhythms — thwarting notions of what pretty can mean. Closing out the program is Vaughan Williams’ beloved anthem for peace, Dona nobis pacem, written and premiered just a few years prior to the start of World War II.