Mount Madonna School alumnus David Kerr (’15), now a student at Santa Clara University (SCU), was commissioned to compose a choir piece for an SCU senior at Santa Clara University SCU and it will be performed on two upcoming dates.
Kerr’s composition will be performed on May 18 at 7:30pm in the SCU Music Building recital hall. Admission is free and it is part of the senior project presentation.
The composition will also be performed June 9 at 7:00pm at Mission Santa Clara at SCU as part of the SCU chamber choir performances.
The June 9 performance is a ticketed event (it is also the same date and time as MMS’ first Ramayana! performance). However, if you’re not attending Ramayana! that evening and would like to attend, buy tickets here.
“Acquiescence was written as a setting of Oscar Wilde’s poem Requiescat for Maggie Simons’ Pathway to Peace Project,” shared Kerr.
“What initially enticed me to use Requiescat as the text for the composition was the delicate imagery, lyrical grace, and dark suspense with which Wilde approached the experience of his sister’s untimely passing. Wilde’s ideas, combined with the subject I was pursuing when composing the piece, provided the ideal means to guide me through the process of composition, in which I primarily employed text painting to portray accurately the emotive aspects and inspiration with which Wilde wrote the poem, and with which I approached the writing of the music.
“In terms of the actual structure of the composition,” he continued, “I chose mostly to follow the same path as Wilde when it came to the positioning and emotional interpretation of the lyrics, but I took many liberties aurally when it came to emphasizing certain aspects of the text which I thought to be important. The method I chose to go about accomplishing this was to match my harmonic language with the character of the poem, transforming the poem word by word until what was written on the page became what was heard in the ear.
“I chose the title Acquiescence because of the essence of the idea I was trying to capture when I wrote the piece, that being, the process and ideal of coming to peace with forces that are out of our control. Specifically speaking, the force portrayed in this piece is one of the omnipotent forces of the natural world: Death. Nearly everyone is familiar with what immense emotional consequences are experienced when death occurs, especially when that death is the passing of a loved one. When it comes to Wilde’s lyrics and my own music, we are drawing from very similar experiences. Wilde spoke of his experience of the passing of his sister, Isola, and I wrote of my own experience with the passing of my grandfather, Joseph. As reflected by the composition, it was a time of extreme emotional vulnerability, in which sadness was the prevailing emotion. However, as time passed, I came to peace with his departure by remembering all of the wonderful things he had brought into my life, and now I stand stronger than I have ever been, by his grace, and the presence of many other influential figures in my life.
“With that being said, I’ve dedicated this piece to my Grandfather, Joseph Blankrot. May you rest in peace, and I hope to see you again someday, in a better place.
“I had never thought myself capable of writing music for anything other piano, but here I am now, one ridiculously challenging yet rewarding process later, with a complete choir piece in my repertoire as well as a wealth of experiences and knowledge that I will use to further develop my studies as a Composition Major at SCU.”
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