Ukraine and Different Trains

by Bob Schwartz

Viewing the endless reports of trains leaving Ukraine, filled with pieces of divided families maybe never to be made whole, music of Different Trains by Steve Reich came to mind.

Reich was inspired to compose this groundbreaking piece as he remembered the train trips he took as a young child, moving every six months between the homes of his divorced parents in New York and Los Angeles. Other trains then came to his imagination, especially the trains that carried Eastern Europeans Jews by the millions to their death. Different trains.

Art like Reich’s cannot change history, personal or global. Art can change us, or let us realize who we are and might be. And maybe change history after all.