Global News Journal

Beyond the World news headlines

“Give peace a chance….”


What if they gave a concert for peace and nobody heard it?

That twist on the old peace slogan – “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” – came to mind after the World Orchestra for Peace -– an occasional ensemble of some of the world’s best classical musicians –- played a concert in Krakow on September 1 to mark the Nazi invasion of Poland 70 years ago that started World War Two.

With Russian conductor Valery Gergiev on the podium, the orchestra played a “Prelude for Peace” by composer and Krakow native Krzysztof Penderecki, and a rousing account of Gustav Mahler’s gargantuan Fifth Symphony – but for whom?

Several hundred invited guests in a Krakow church, anyone who cared to look at a big screen on Krakow’s enormous main square, and listeners on Polish television and radio and over the Internet – world, were you listening?

It’s hard to judge the value of such efforts. For example, the New York Philharmonic was the first major Western orchestra to visit North Korea, but the audience for the 2008 concert in the almost walled-off communist state consisted largely of the party faithful. The orchestra was playing for the unconvertible.