A Secret Streamlet by Frank Horvat

What Does Freedom Sound Like?

It was earlier this year that the violinist, Ralitsa Tcholakova, asked if I could compose a piece for violin and piano that recognized the fall of the Berlin Wall in the late 1980s. What resulted was A Secret Streamlet, a flowing piece inspired by a defiant letter that the then Czech playwright and activist, Vaclav Havel, wrote to the Czech Communist leader in 1975. The poetic words in the letter were so inspiring and prophetic that this new composition just flowed out of me.

I find that the timing of the premiere performances of this new work taking place in Montreal and Ottawa next week is most ironic, considering the shocking and disturbing results of the recent US Election. History has showed us time and time again that tyranny and a lack of respect for human rights is possible anywhere at anytime. As humans, what allows us to accept or even be open to such hurtful ideologies? What gives me hope is that there’s always hope. So even if we mess up and allow tyrants to have power, eventually we can shed the shackles that keep us down and get rid of them so we can once again be free!

Even in the most dark days of his pro-democracy movement, Havel felt that freedom was right around the corner. If he could think like this then, how can we not imagine better days for us now? I hope A Secret Streamlet can be a reminder of these possibilities for our world.

A Secret Streamlet by Frank Horvat

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