The Musical and Personal Legacy of William Byron Webster

Anne Frank

A tone poem

William Byron Webster’ lifelong dedication to human rights and knowledge of history inspired him to write a tone poem that he titled  ‘Prelude to Intolerance: Mediations on the life of Anne Frank.’  Her historically important story is told in music with themes ranging from characterizing her carefree childhood and youthful romantic yearnings, to marches that reflect the Nazi advance across Europe, to the fusion of routine and quiet desperation to the Hell of Auschwitz, and ultimately a dirge to commemorate the victims of intolerance, past, present, and future.  A musical message that could inform us in contemporary times as well.