Dear Opus 7,
I’m still recovering from Saturday night. You made a dream come true for me, and, I imagine, all the other composers on the program as well!
Your performance was so luminous, reverent, and warm. A few Buddhist friends compared your final amen with “an endless Ommmm of return.”
If you can speak across denominations with your sound, that’s one thing. For me, the humbling emotion was to observe that you CARE so much about the score. When I wrote this as a 22 year-old, I just assumed any choir who might perform it would honor what was on the page. I can’t tell you how many tapes I’ve received over the decades that contain one dynamic (generally a kind of diffuse mezzo-forte throughout) and no regard for balance or color. Some of these groups have recognized names. But Opus 7 is the first to give a damn about actually doing honor to those black dots on the page which I was lucky enough to filter.
I gave myself ten years after I wrote that piece to make it financially as a composer. I didn’t hit the mark. And I gave up, because the cost-benefit ratio was not working out. The only pieces that sounded like what I wrote were the ones I personally performed, and I resented having to become a control freak.
But with Loren at the helm, I get to turn over the freakitude to a pro! What a pleasure! (Also special thanks to John Muehleisen for his general awesomeness and efficiency suggestions) You actually give me hope that writing for a group, under a conductor, can be gratifying. Yes, there are things I can learn from watching your rehearsals, and from those moments that NO choir ever gets (can you say Fructus?) so that the next edition can be less time-wasting for everyone.
A quarter of a century of delayed gratification. Hey, that’s pretty good. On King FM, I talk all the time about how “Schubert died without ever getting to hear this,” or “Mahler never felt he heard what he wrote.” So there! Not only do I get the pretentious glow of putting myself in a sentence with Mahler and Schubert, but thanks to you, dear singers, I don’t have to die never knowing the sound of what I heard in my head, made flesh, finally.
I can’t thank you enough. The sculpting of the phrases was so beautiful, and will stay with me a long, long time. I hope I get such a privilege at ANY time again before I die in this city I chose as my nest for life, where, after decades, it turns out the right choir was already waiting.
Radio Host & Producer, Northwest Focus
98.1 Classical King FM
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