Songs Of Struggle, Compassion, And Redemption

Works by Bach, Thompson, and Betinis
Sunday, January 23, 2022
concert-clock 5:00 pm
concert-pin All Souls Church

Troubled by the onslaught of killings of unarmed black men, Emmy Award-winning composer Joel Thompson wrote his Seven Last Words of the Unarmed in 2015, after finding Brooklyn-based journalist and artist Shirin Barghi’s #lastwords project on the same subject. The piece that resulted has resounded strongly in the choral world, and Musica Viva NY and the Aeolus Quartet are honored to share it in a program that also features music by J.S. Bach, Abbie Betinis and another exciting emerging voice, the multifaceted composer-performer Shelley Washington. Join some of the artists and creative team for a “talkback” after the concert.


Aeolus Quartet
Musica Viva NY choir and orchestra
Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, artistic director & conductor

Abbie Betinis, Chant for Great Compassion
For female chorus and narrator

Shelley Washington, Middleground
Aeolus Quartet

Joel Thompson, Seven Last Words of the Unarmed
For male chorus, string quartet, double bass, and piano

  1. “Why do you have your guns out?” – Kenneth Chamberlain, 66
  2. “What are you following me for?” – Trayvon Martin, 16
  3. “Mom, I’m going to college.” – Amadou Diallo, 23
  4. “I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting.” – Michael Brown, 18
  5. “You shot me! You shot me!” – Oscar Grant, 22
  6. “It’s not real.” – John Crawford, 22
  7. “I can’t breathe.” – Eric Garner, 43

J. S. Bach, Cantata BWV 4 Christ lag in Todes Banden
For choir, strings and portative organ

Versus 1: Christ lag in Todes Banden – Halleluja
Versus 2: Den Tod niemand zwingen kunnt
Versus 3: Jesus Christus, Gottes Sohn
Versus 4: Es war ein wunderlicher Krieg
Versus 5: Hier ist das rechte Osterlamm
Versus 6: So feiern wir das hohe Fest
Versus 7: Wir essen und leben wohl

Post-concert discussion, immediately following the performance.

All Souls Church

1157 Lexington Avenue,

New York, NY 10075