Ode to the Deserters

Music theatre ‘FleeTheFrenzy’: Performances

The Brussels Brecht-Eislerkoor and sister choirs from Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia ( NoveCanto from Ghent, C'est Des Canailles from Liège, Omroerkoor from Hasselt, Ik zeg Adieu, Chorale Rue de la Victoire and Stemmer from Brussels) will stage a performance on 20 and 21 September 2014, in coproduction with the Kaaitheater . Directed by Ruud Gielens and Marijs Boulogne, it will bring together testimonies and songs about war, desertion and resistance. It is a multilingual presentation where stories and songs are woven together. The choirs will also perform the world premiere of a new composition for large choir. American-born composer Frederic Rzewski has composed 'Ode to the Deserter' at the request of the Brussels Brecht-Eislerkoor. This performance will be repeated in Ghent and Liege next autumn, and possibly also in Leuven, Yper, Mechelen, later on. about the composition
Composer Frederic Rzewski wrote a cantata in eight movements for a large four-part choir. The starting point was the working title 'Ode to the deserter'. The composer chose different historical snippets in seven languages ​​relating to refusal to serve, desertion and the call to pacifism. The eight movements are :

  • 1. I will not serve (in English): a famous quote from James Joyce's A portrait of the artist as a young man (1916)
  • 2. Non serviam (I will not serve) in Latin, BC 626: a historically important biblical quotation from Jeremiah, because it is the oldest text in which the individual formula "I will not serve" is preserved
  • 3. Sag Nein (Say No) in German on the poem fragments of Wolfgang Borchert (Dann gibt es nur eins! (1947) and Kurt Tucholsky (Drei Minuten Gehör!) under his pseudonym Theobald Tiger (1922)
  • 4. Aan een Moeder (To a Mother) in Dutch

    , a poem by Paul van Ostaijen from the compilation "Het Sienjaal" (1918)

  • 5. Ne servir plus (Serve no more) in French, 1549 from Discours de la Servitude Volontaire by the 19-year-old Etienne de la Boétie
  • 6. Povero Disertore (Poor deserter) in Italian, based on an old Italian folk song
  • 7. Polla ta Deina (ancient Greek ) the famous first verse chorus from the play Antigone by Sophocles (BC 442). Antigone mourning her brother refuses to obey an unjust law, and thus stands at the cradle of civil disobedience.
  • 8. Finale: Down by the Riverside (English, < 1860 ) an old slave song that was sung later in the First World War and then during the Vietnam war as an anti-war song.

'Ode to the deserters' by Frederic Rzewski

  • Regie: Ruud Gielens & Marijs Boulogne
  • Music: Frederic Rzewski e.a.
  • Musical conduction: Lieve Franssen, Francis Danloy, Tom Deneckere, Luk Cluysen, Mouchette Liebman, Peter Spaepen en Lucy Grauman
  • Choirs: Brussels Brecht-Eislerkoor, Novecanto, C’est des Canailles, Omroerkoor, Chorale Rue de la Victoire, Stemmer en Ik zeg adieu
  • Actors: Amber Goethals, Gorges Ocloo, Gökhan Girginol, Karim Kalonji e.a.
  • Solists: Kobe Baeyens, Noémie Schellens, Lucy Grauman
  • Musical support: Triatu
  • contact: info@desertie.be


    Kaaitheater Brussel
  • saturday 20 september 8pm: première
  • sunday 21 september at 2 pm and 6 pm
  • info and reservation: Kaaitheater

  • Minardschouwburg, Gent
  • Walpoortstraat 15, 9000 Gent, Minardschouwburg
  • sunday 12 oktober at 2:30 pm and 6 pm
  • info en reservation: Minardschouwburg

  • Cité Miroir Liège
  • Place Xavier Neujean, 22 - 4000 Luik
  • saturday 13 december 8 pm
  • info and reservation:Cité Miroir

'Ode to the Deserters' elders

Choirs from different places in Europe have decided to perform (parts of) the Ode to the Deserters:
at this moment (28/06/14) :
  • Duitsland
  • Bremen www.1914-2014.de
  • 20/09/14 Frieden schaffen ohne Waffen: Bremer Chöre, Musikgruppen, Schauspiel, Literatur und Umzug zum Langemarck-Denkmal)
  • 21/09/14 Stell Dir vor, es ist Krieg - und keiner geht hin: Sechs Chöre singen gegen Kriegswahn
  • 20/09/15 WahnFlucht - Ode an den Deserteur (o.v.) mit verschiedenen Chören

  • Oldenburg Bundschuh Chor
  • 23/11/14 Gemeinschaftskonzert mit drei anderen Chören/li>
  • ?/02/15 Lieder aus der Ode und Axion Esti von Theodorakis

  • Berlijn Hans-Beimler-Chor www.ernstbuschchorberlin.de/
  • 20/09/14 Friede auf unserer Erde (Hans-Beimler-Chor & Ernst-Busch Chor)
  • 1+2/11/14 Schluss mit dem Totentanz (Hans-Beimler-Chor)
  • May/15 Für den Frieden der Welt (Ernst-Busch-Chor)

  • München Quergesang Münchner Gewerkschaftschor
  • 18/10/2014 Gemeinsam gegen den Krieg (met Gegenstimmen uit Wenen)

  • Austria
  • WenenGegenstimmen (Partner: NGO-committee on peace vienna der UNO)
  • 2/06/14 Premiere “Sag NEIN! Lieder gegen den Krieg”
  • 21/09/14 “Sag NEIN! Lieder gegen den Krieg” im Rahmen von WahnFlucht
  • 28/10/14 “Sag NEIN! Lieder gegen den Krieg”

  • Netherlands
  • Groningen4 mei projekt
  • ?/04+?/05/15 “De moed om nee te zeggen (de waanzin van de Eerste wereldoorlog)” (werktitel)
  • HengeloKanaljerood
  • 10/10/14-?/05/15 De Grote Oorlog / WOI

  • Great Britain
  • LondonStrawberry Thieves Choir
  • 2/4/14 Don’t mention the … (An evening of prose, poetry and song about war from the point of view of those who opposed it)
  • Dit project komt tot stand dankzij de steun van het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest / VisitBrussels, De Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie en de Vlaamse Overheid, Minister voor Brusselse Aangelegenheden.
    coproductie: Kaaitheater | i.s.m. vrede vzw |