Yannick, this one’s for you

Yannick, this one’s for you


norman lebrecht

May 22, 2020

From the Lebrecht Album of the Week:

….  I was quite thrilled to discover this concert work by the thoughtful Philadelphia pianist and composer Uri Caine. It’s a meditation on the murder of Octavius Catto, an Afro-American schoolteacher who was shot dead in a Philly election scuffle between Democrat-voting Irish immigrants and Lincoln-loyal blacks. Catto’s killer, Frank Kelly, was never charged. The injustice still rankles….

Read on here.

And here. 



  • Bernice Drummond says:

    Democrats have only become more mentally unstable and dangerous since.

    At least black people stopped committing crimes against white people. It would make the leftist news immediately I’m sure…..

    • MacroV says:

      Seriously, Norman. This comment is completely out of place and inappropriate on any site. And rather incoherent. Do you moderate this site or not?

      • Scott says:

        What is wrong with you? People like you disgust me. White trash.

        • Anon says:

          Your comment cannot be understood by anyone reading this blog as anything other than a bizarre attempt to sow dissent. MacroV is a regular contributor and he has rightfully stated that your comment—I mean Bernice’s comment— was inappropriate and incoherent. There is nothing wrong with him, nor is there anything disgusting about his comment. Randomly throwing in ‘white trash’ and your initial—I mean Bernice’s—comment about black people committing crimes is yet another example of trying to create an atmosphere of hostility and division. I urge you to seek fulfillment elsewhere.

          • De’shaun says:

            “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump then YOU AIN’T black!”

            – Joe Biden (expressing Democrat’s RACIST authority over blacks as candidate for POTUS in his own words with a black radio personality)

    • TrollPatrol says:

      Democrats have become more mentally unstable and dangerous since? Who says shit like that? You’re talking about millions of decent people. Boy, are you in a bubble.

    • PFmus says:

      Nice try Comrade. I suppose you enjoy leaving public toilets unflushed too.

  • partly of Irish heritage says:

    It’s interesting how Irish-American identity has developed over time. When the murder mentioned took place, blacks and Irish were in competition for the same jobs which added to ethnic tensions. Today the Irish are in the stages of “late ethnicity,” i.e. they are so assimilated their identity as a group has greatly weakened. Among other things, skin color has been a huge advantage.

    Irish-Americans are not particularly conservative. A small study by the University of Dublin and NYU found that
    in the 2016 presidential election 47 per cent voted for Clinton, 27 per cent for Trump, and 20 per cent refused to indicate their vote (probably mostly Trump voters.) 41 per cent signified as Democrat while 23 per cent said they were Republican. Their preferred news sources were more liberal than conservative; of those who got their news from television, 45 per cent used NBC while 36 per cent used Fox.

    And yet we get a false impression based on Fox News and Trump’s circle of advisors like Steve Bannon. Hence this persiflage, ironic and unfair, though perhaps funny if one has a thicker skin by Barrett Brown:

    “I don’t really mind Fox on ideological grounds, as a nation with this many prisons and military bases clearly merits at least one openly fascist news network, but I do object to the shamelessness with which it insists on coarsening the culture. For half a century, there was an unspoken agreement among the nation’s broadcasters to refrain from giving public affairs programs to anyone with a significant amount of Irish blood. But when Fox News went on the air, it was immediately obvious that the executives had canvassed every riverfront bar in Hoboken in search of the loudest, most obnoxious Irish street brawlers they could find who were not already employed as cops, cleaned them up a bit, and given them prime-time weekdays slots and full creative control. As with so many other bad production habits, MSNBC and CNN felt the need to follow in News Corp’s footsteps, and now half the time you turn on the news, there’s some burly Gaelic bastard shouting out warnings about the fairy folk who steal naughty children before inexplicably collapsing into tears, followed by 15 minutes of drunken song and a demand for additional Benghazi hearings. Certainly this makes for good television; I’m just calling for some decency.”

  • phf655 says:

    Uri Caine has a career as a jazz musician, and in what used to be called ‘third stream’, in his career that is jazz arrangements of classical pieces. Below is a link to one, available on you tube. The brief sample available of this oratorio (link on Norman’s Toronto article) shows music composed in jazz, blues, and gospel idioms. Hopefully YNS will know that this is not the strong point of the extraordinary orchestra he conducts in Philadelphia. It is noteworthy that Mr. Caine is white. To this day Gershwin’s ‘Porgy and Bess’ is sometimes criticized for the exploitation of African-American themes by a white composer.
    In summation, and to paraphrase the heading of this blog post: Yannick, this one’s not for you, as admirable as the concept behind the work may be.
    The narration on the oratorio excerpt states that the Philadelphia performance included an orchestra comprised of some of New York’s (!) finest musicians. Is it easier to find musicians there who are conversant in this idiom?


  • Monsoon says:

    FYI: The Boston Symphony Orchestra was scheduled to play it this March:


  • Sisko24 says:

    My, how times have changed.

  • Arthur says:

    “Woke”. “Timely.”
    Hard pass.

  • #factcheck says:

    The Philadelphia Orchestra gave the premiere of this work at the Mann Center, who commissioned it.

  • Joel Stein says:

    The BSO was to have performed this in March 2020.