Peace Ritual and Resonances (2005)
Peace… was composed in celebration of the building of the Frauenkirche in Dresden. The Frauenkirche was destroyed after the firebombing of Dresden in WWII. The rebuilding of the church stands a beacon of peace in our contemporary time as well a sign of healing with respect to the past.
The content of Peace… draws from fragments of Heinrich Shütz’s compositions. Schütz was the Kapellmeister at Dresden and died there about fifty years before the construction of the Frauenkirche was underway. The quotations that I borrow contain his settings of the word “friede” (or a derivatives thereof such as “zufrieden”) and “pacem,” which both translate into English as “peace.” In my composition, I quote Schütz and I use his harmonic/melodic material from the fragments as a springboard to create synthetic sound events.
The structure of the work yields a palindrome through which musical events are experienced in their original temporal position and then in reverse. In reverse they are recomposed to greater or lesser degrees. These musical events consist of exact quotations of Schütz’s original vocal compositions and then my own synthetic re-compositions, or variations thereof. From a structural and analytical perspective, the quotations serve as harmonic targets to and from which the piece flows. I interpret these quotations metaphorically as a ‘rituals’ signifying peace. The events between these quotations, where I construct and deconstruct my synthetic musical material, serve as the ‘resonances’.