Symphony: This Will Be Our Reply

“It was one of the most exquisite pieces of music I have ever heard.”

~Harold Duckett,
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In celebration of the Leonard Bernstein Centenary (August 25, 2018), Lucas Richman received permission from the Leonard Bernstein Office to create a new work for chorus and orchestra inspired by the speech Maestro Bernstein delivered to the United Jewish Fund two days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Known as “An Artist’s Response to Violence,” the speech addresses the manner in which musicians might best use their abilities in the aftermath of tragedy:

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”  *
~Leonard Bernstein

The three movements of Richman’s “Symphony: This Will Be Our Reply” expand upon these three directives, exploring the contrasts of great beauty and horrific violence that pervade our modern era. In the process of musically capturing the daily struggle to rise above the steady onslaught of incomprehensible savagery, certain motives can be traced throughout the work as they evolve from a place of benign passivity to orders of an imperative nature.  The work ultimately resolves with an anthemic setting of an original poem which frames the ancient Hebrew text, “L’Takken et Ha’Olam (Repair the World),” uplifting the essence of Bernstein’s profound message.

I. Intensity
II.  Beauty
III.  Devotion

“Symphony: This Will Be Our Reply” was commissioned by a consortium of organizations including the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, Bemidji Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Jewish Symphony for performances in the 2018-2019 Season.

*Used by permission of The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc.


Va’anachnu text from the Jewish Liturgy
Tikkun Olam text by Lucas Richman

Va’anachnu kor’im, BUT WE BEND OUR KNEES
Umishtachavim umodim    AND BOW DOWN AND EXPRESS THANKS
Lif’nei Melech,  BEFORE THE KING,
Malchei ha’m’lachim,  KING OF KINGS
Ha’Kadosh Baruch Hu.   THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE.