Notes against nukes The Concert for Global Harmony, envisioned by Musicians Against Nuclear Arms and sponsored by nine antinuclear groups Monday night, was a mixed bag of musical and extra-musical messages as well as audience participation.
John Williams led off the Boston Symphony Orchestra Concert Chorus with the famous prayer of Thanksgiving (''We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing . . .''), then wheeled 180 degrees to direct the near-capacity crowd.
After excerpts from Haydn's ''The Creation,'' Gloria Emerson, a former foreign correspondent with the New York Times, spoke. She recalled an anti-Vietnam rally she covered in Times Square, 1968, in which protesters, without signs or sounds, registered their strong ''no'' against the war. She urged the audience to register an equally powerful ''no'' against nuclear weapons.
The most poignant message of the night was musical, however: Krzysztof Pender-ecki's ''Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima.'' This tonal lamentation for 52 strings ranged from what sounded like eerie variations on a beehive to otherworldly sirens. What could have been gimmicky and affected held the audience spellbound.
Broadway playwright and director Andre Gregory (who also acted in ''My Dinner with Andre'') lent both comedy and eloquence to the second half of the evening. He drew a comic parallel between the Soviet-US stalemate on nuclear weapons buildup and a New York street crazy who recently cleared a subway car by repeating, ''You got yourselves into this, now you have to get yourselves out of it.'' Speaking between Bach's ''Verleih' uns Frieden Gnadiglich'' and Beethoven's ode ''To Joy,'' he expressed gratitude for the artists that joined together for the ''most significant statement of our lives'' - against ''instruments of genocide.''