An orchestra dares to confront Covid death toll

An orchestra dares to confront Covid death toll


norman lebrecht

September 29, 2020

This week, Brazil reached 140,000 deaths by coronavirus, the highest toll outside the USA.

By way of response, the University of São Paulo Chamber Orchestra has issued a video – “I hope names can play!” – to confront the scandal and commemorate the dead.

Our aim, they say, is ‘to show that the political, economical, ethical questions that were brought up by the pandemic may lead us to forget the stories of those who battled hard against covid, but couldn’t win.’

They worked in close proximity with pandemic victims among them conductors Martinho Lutero and Naomi Mukatana (pictured) and the songwriter Aldir Blanc. OCAM’s director Gil Jardim created a Prelude quoting Bachianas Brasileiras (No.1 and No.4) mixed with Beethoven’s 7th Symphony.

It’s a brave, necessary, harrowing human reaction.

You wonder – don’t you? – why no US orchestra has thought to do the same. Too political, perhaps?