Thursday, September 11, 2008

September Eleventh, 2008

The immense tragedies of September 11, 2001 brought forth a huge emotional response from Americans, and from people all over the world. Along with many other composers, I was impelled to write a memorial.

This is a recording of its first performance. It premiered at the Jack Straw Studios in Seattle, on August 15, 2002.

The performers are Greg Powers, trombone, and Kevin Aanerud, piano.

(click on each movement's individual title to hear that movement)

Sonata for Trombone & Piano, Opus 67

This three-movement work was written between mid-September and early October of 2001. My immediate responses to the awful impressions of September 11 and the following week were of despair. I had an overwhelming feeling that the world had changed irrevocably - not so much for me, as for my children. The sadness I felt and continue to feel for innocent people drawn into an immense web of hatred came out in this work, which I wrote carefully, but fairly quickly.

1. Red Recitative: The recurring images of collapsing buildings, smoke, injured and maimed emergency workers spurred this piece. As a former volunteer firefighter, EMT and public safety professional, my thoughts centered on their sacrifice.

2. White/Black March: The images and statements of our National Security and National Defense apparatchiks strutting around in late September, seemed to be in stark contrast to the obviousness of their failure to rationally view our world. This march questions the sincerity of visible American leaders during that time. The movement's conscious evocation of aural images of the work of Hindemith, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, is a reminder that other composers have seen fascism and authoritarianism emerge right in front of them.

3. Blue Chorale: The chorale’s theme is taken from J. S. Bach’s “The Passion According to St. John.” “Er nahm alles wohl in Acht,” No. 56, reads:

He of ev’rything took heed In his hour of dying,
Caring for his mother’s need, On friends relying,
O Man, lead a righteous life, Love God and thy neighbor,
Death will bring an end to strife, Rest from care and labor.

My sadness was almost stifling as I realized in early October that hatred between Muslims, Jews and Christians was increasingly overshadowing the redemptive glimpses some had had over the preceding three weeks.

1 comment:

Unknown said...


Kudos to the Knik Philharmonic Orchestra as well.

Thanks for posting it.