Benoit: The war
- Edo de Waart
The composer Peter Benoit (1834-1901) played a fundamental role in the musical life of Flanders, like Glinka for Russia and Smetana for the Czech Republic. He founded the first Dutch-language conservatory in Antwerp, at a time when Belgium was dominated by the French language. And he composed large-scale works on patriotic themes sung in Dutch, such as De Schelde. With the oratorio De Oorlog (The War) for four soloists and no fewer than five choirs he delivered a pacifist pamphlet shortly after the Franco-German War of 1870. Together with the lyricist Jan Van Beers, Peter Benoit called attention to 'the madness that makes people take up arms again and again. For war is the product of the "Spirits of Darkness".' Almost 150 years after its creation, this Dutch premiere takes place.