"Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past."
– George Orwell, 1984
“The past is never dead. It's not even past.”
– William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun
Balancing their iconoclastic, explosive style with tender reverence for works of great beauty, ETHEL presents a program which delves energetically into the fallibility of human memory and the mutability of the past.
In the wake of World War II, George Orwell published his brilliant and terrifying novel about a totalitarian future, burning the year 1984 into the popular imagination. As it approached, many musical artists released tributes and commentaries, including Rick Wakeman, David Bowie, Van Halen and the Eurythmics. The year itself was artistically rich and vibrant in the rock world, with the release of several epic masterworks, such as Prince's album, Purple Rain, and Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA.
At a distance from history's 1984 almost equal to Orwell's, our political climate, global tension, increasingly subtle technology raising privacy concerns, and the need for enhanced security, elicit daily references to Orwell, often simply by invoking this year.
ETHEL offers a pop-conscious meditation on 1984, bridging the year as remembered by history with that presaged by literature. The program will include works by Don Byron, Sofia Gubaidulina, Arvo Pärt, Michael Hedges and Ladysmith Black Mambazo from their 1984 album Ibhayibheli Liyindlela.