What inspired “Requiem for a Stranger“? And why now?
I can’t predict inspiration. Instead, it sneaks up on me.
Can inspiration come from negative experiences? It does. I wrote music long before I thought deeply about creativity and inspiration. Back then, I assumed that the only muse was a positive muse. I figured any source of creative spark would uplift: inspiration = a mountaintop experience. Eventually, I changed this view.
This means that inspiration is tricky. Too often, creativity comes from downers. For example, think about how many songs or other artwork have come from tragedy. Well, the pandemic is no exception. It is a significant source of inspiration. And it was clearly a source of this requiem.
First, I feel sad about the losses during this pandemic. Many of my friends have told me how vast the illness and death have been (already). I agree. That’s why I grieve the people who have died from COVID-19 — even the ones I don’t know at all.
Next, not all the losses have been from the virus. However, I already talked about that here, so won’t repeat myself here.
Finally, my point in this Requiem is to honor those who have died. Also, I want to support and uplift everyone else who is grieving. If you are a human being, this musical work is for you.
For me, creating this requiem has been incredibly moving. I hope that you can hear in these five pieces the emotional effects of the times we live in.
If you want to know more about what a requiem is, visit this page. On the other hand, if you’re curious about the technology tricks I used in these recordings, read this. Otherwise, please listen and let me know how this music affects you.
Highlights of the first movement, “Don’t Forget (Introit)”, are the soprano duet and the strident strings. As the choir joins in, their lyrics are part of the Latin, traditional opening for a requiem that translates, “Rest eternal and light perpetual…”
In the second movement, I break away from the traditional approach. Initially, you hear the French horn and brass choir playing the melody. Soon, a children’s choir and soloists sing this same tune to deliver the poem:
Your love was True like springtime: Full of colour, Bright with hope.
I chose instrumental music for the third movement. More importantly, the title and concept for this piece, “Spirit Filling”, comes from my friend Daniel Duwa. We have had many online conversations about creativity.
In the remaining two movements, the children and adult choirs all lend their voices. First, in movement four, they sing this poem:
I feel your tears Wash over me Like a wave: Powerful and calm.
And finally, the full choirs, string trio, orchestra, and four improvisational singers deliver “Epicology (Benediction)”. This movement is inspired and dedicated to Ephemera Improvisational Vocal Ensemble. May we soon be singing together again!
Still to come: scores (music notation) are in the works; looking for reviewers and influencers to get the word out; and a music video is under consideration. So keep watching this space for more on the Requiem.