Friday, September 12, 2008

The Gravity of Ockeghem's Requiem: A 9/12 Remembrance

I wrote this for ChoralNet today and decided to cross post it here. Look at the score and spend $.99 if you have it. A great work and story here:

Julie Bryson wrote this yesterday on ChoralTalk:
My most vivid musical memory of 9/11 actually came on 9/12.  Having heard so much about the importance of moving on and continuing with our daily lives, I set out to pursue that goal.  My music theory class stopped me in my tracks, though.  Dr. Hawthorne, a rather eccentric professor, had the Kyrie from Ockeghem's Requiem playing as we entered class; he was not personally in the room at the start of class.  As silly college students, we were more interested in catching up with each other than in listening to the music that filled the room.  Suddenly, Dr. Hawthorne stormed into the room:  "How dare you carry on like that on a day like today?" That's when the gravity of what had happen really sank in.

The passion and conviction with which he delivered our well-deserved scolding branded my mind with the value of reflection and mourning.  We sat there in stunned silence as he replayed Ockeghem's Requiem, and to this day, I find a special connection to that work--one that I had never before heard.

In fact, every year on September 11, I tell that story to my choirs and play for them an excerpt from the Kyrie as a reminder that on days like today, even the busiest choral program needs to stop, listen, and remember what has happened.

If you haven't heard the Requiem, I strongly encourage you to find a good recording.  It is a very solemn, moving piece of music history.
I remember something about Ockeghem's Requiem from my music history classes, but I listened to it with new ears today. Like Julie, I highly encourage you to give it a listen. If you do Itunes, Paul Hillier's incredible group is only $.99 away if you click here. Follow along with this score that I found on CPDL.

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