We Lived Happily During the War (2021)

Soprano and Six Percussionists


Commissioned by the Fromm Foundation, written for Jamie Jordan and Talujon Percussion


Mathew Rosenblum’s We Lived Happily During the War is comprised of four songs and a percussion interlude, all of which reflect the isolation, pain, and political call to action — and the resulting inaction — that the 2020 pandemic came to represent. It is also a further contemplation about the composer’s family history, specifically his grandmother’s escape from Ukraine with her seven children after the massacre in her town during the 1919 pandemic. The piece takes on a devastating new meaning in light of the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Cantaloupe Music CA21195

Plurabelle Music Publishing

Movement I, “No Words,” translates the phrases “no words” and “there are no words” into ten languages. Movement II is based on a Yiddish folk song (“I’m laughing at you, for God is with me”) and incorporates the pre-recorded voice of Rosenblum’s grandmother. Movement III uses the text “The Loneliness One dare not sound” by Emily Dickinson. After a substantial percussion interlude, Movement V presents the powerful poem “We Lived Happily During the War” by Ilya Kaminsky.

World Premiere
September 30, 2022, DiMenna Center, New York City

We Lived Happily During the War (Full Video)

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We Lived Happily During the War (Movement II)

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