The Stonewall uprising in 1969 marked a new chapter in the Gay Rights Movement.
And so did AIDS, in the early 1980s.
One of the responses to AIDS in the gay community is represented by John Corigliano’s Symphony No. 1 (whose first movement is aptly titled “Apologue: Of Rage and Remembrance,” expressing two chief emotions within the community, to the slow reaction of the culture at large to the plague and to the ongoing loss of friends and family), and you might prepare for the January concert simply by listening to the work and reading Corigliano’s program note at johncorigliano.com.
But you might also want to put this symphony in context by, say, viewing a short video on the unveiling of the AIDS Quilt in 1987 and then another, made 25 years later.
And a personal note: the late writer, Paul Monette (1945-1995) was a classmate of mine at Yale and our Class Poet. He chronicled his coming out in two powerful memoirs, Borrowed Time and Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story.
The first was about his relationship with his partner, Roger, who died of AIDS in 1986; the second--winner of a National Book Award--was his coming-out story and frank commentary of his own illness, to which he succumbed just shy of 50. For a vivid, stirring, and funny look at Monette’s life, visit On the Brink of Summer’s End (). Just as Corigliano uses his art to call attention and mourn, so, too, did Monette.
Paul Lamar, Albany Symphony Patron