The Concordia Choir and Orchestra
Peter Halverson, baritone soloist
René Clausen, composer and conductor
The Concordia College Orchestra performs Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings as
a prelude to René Clausen’s original extended work MEMORIAL.
MEMORIAL, recorded live in New York during the 2003 National American
Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Convention, is an extended work which honors
the New York City victims of September 11, 2001. It was composed by Dr. Clausen
for mixed chorus, orchestra and baritone solo.
For information regarding this composition contact Roger Dean Publishing.
René Clausen was commissioned by the American Choral
Directors Association (ACDA) to write a piece commemorating the
tragedies of Sept. 11. for performance at the 2003 ACDA National
Convention in New York City.
The Concordia Choir, and the Concordia Orchestra along with a
choir made up of Concordia faculty and friends, performed
"This opportunity is, without a doubt, the highest compositional
honor of my life..." René Clausen.
With the premieré choral performance of Memorial (September Morning), Dr. René Clausen, conductor of
The Concordia Choir, joined an exclusive club of composers
commissioned to write the Raymond W. Brock Memorial Commission.
Clausen's work was inspired by the events of 9/11.
Memorial is written for baritone solo, mixed chorus
and full orchestra and is approximately 25 minutes in length. The
text of the solo uses portions of a series of prayers written
during the week of 9/11 by Dr. Roy Hammerling of the Concordia
Presented as one continuous movement, the composition has four
sections.The music of the first two sections, subtitled September
Morning and The Attack, develop evocative imagery.
September Morning attempts to musically paint a picture
of a beautiful, sun-lit September morning in New York City. The
chorus is used as a section of the orchestra, intoning wordless
vocals in a Debussy-like tone poem. As might be expected, the
music symbolizing the attack of the World Trade Center towers
inspires music that is highly dramatic and employs non-traditional
instrumental and vocal techniques that depict the catastrophic
chain of events.
The music is dissonant, rhythmically intense and colorful,
says Clausen. The only text used in the first two sections
is the phrase 'O, God, why have you forsaken me?' The
world for God is also presented in Hebrew - Adonai. The reason
for this minimal text owes to the actual nature of witness responses
to the shocking, unfolding drama of the attack.
The second half of the composition, subtitled Prayers
and Petitions, is a spiritual response to the
events. The Prayers section is for baritone solo,
chorus and orchestra. The final section, Petitions, is
an introspective musical prayer for mercy, mutual understanding
and hope for the future. The primary text is the phrase, Oh
God, shine your light on us, and we shall be saved. According
to Clausen, this phrase is presented first sequentially and then
simultaneously in English, Latin, Hebrew and Arabic.
The Brock Memorial Commission was completed by Clausen for presentation
at the American Choral Directors Association convention in New
York City on Feb. 14, 2003.