Triumph of the Human Spirit: Symphony in Hell


Do you like music? Who doesn’t? I find great music a bit overwhelming myself. I once went to hear the London Symphony and had to leave at intermission, I was so overwhelmed by that much beauty. In my defense, I wasn’t the only one in the audience crying like a baby.

In WWII, Germany invaded Russia. All bets were off, all rules of engagement were cancelled; it was total war against everything that breathed. Thousands of villages were torched, men summarily shot and their families left to starve-until they reached Stalingrad where the Russians held them off for eighteen months. The life expectancy of reinforcements was measured in hours and the people subsisted on a slice and a half of bread a day. Nearly two million Russians died in this one battle.






In the midst of all this horror, a musician wrote a symphony. The surviving musicians gathered and performed it, though they barely had the strength to play the wind instruments. But play they did and when it was over-silence. Then a little girl approached the stage and handed a bouquet of flowers to the conductor. The crowd went wild. Survivors said they knew from that moment that they would prevail.

Prevail they did, pushing the Germans all the way back and utterly defeating them. But think-in the midst of mud and blood and smoking cinders, musicians summoned up the strength to put on a symphony.

We humans are amazing, with the potential for total war and symphonies in the middle of hell. As Samwise said in Lord of the Rings, “There’s still good in this world… and its worth defending.

People’s Century: Total War
Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No.7 “Leningrad” 4th Movement Part 1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s