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 Clausen's composition.
"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 religion department.
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.