In my next Carnegie Hall recital, I shall play the Torture Sonata

In my next Carnegie Hall recital, I shall play the Torture Sonata


norman lebrecht

January 17, 2012

I’m excited to receive a press release about the first piece of classical music to reflect abuses by the US military in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. It’s by the Chicago-based composer Drew Baker and the pianist is Marilyn Nonken.

The title track, we are told, ‘is an artistic response to a torture technique used in Abu Ghraib and Guantanomo, and Mr. Baker has found an extremely creative and unique way to make a political statement in instrumental music.’

The label owner, Daniel Lippel, adds: ‘Because of the broad relevance of this type of art making, we are reaching out beyond the contemporary piano community to try and promote this release and hopefully engage in a discussion about what the nature of political music really is.’

If you’re still wondering, there’s an audio sample here.

(photo: Christian Science Monitor)


  • Doug says:

    Ah, I see, a chance for the audience to experience the same torture the Taliban, excuse me, the US inflicts on prisoners.

  • ariel says:

    Total nonsense –

  • Galen Johnson says:

    Probably, no iPhones will go off during the performance–unless we can get organized.

  • Guilherme Fontão says:

    No matter if a good composition, perhaps American people is waking up to the fact that USA has no right to stand above other countries and above international laws. Whether civil rights and sovereignty of other nations continue to be disrespected, certainly USA can be considered an outlaw country.

  • I just put up a post on this interesting piece on my blog:

    in which I compare it to similar pieces for piano by Terry Riley and Erik Satie and discuss what this is all about.