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NASA Wants Your Best Work To Share WIth Exoplanet Intelligent Life

 OK, not yet, but we did find water on Mars which has gotten me thinking.  
 
This is the second of three questions on this topic.  If YOU were asked for your ONE, best piece to represent humanity, what would it be? (Links to sound and PDF would be useful) Don't be humble, this isn't an ego test.  I actually could use the help identifying your best works for future Spotlight articles and I think self-evaluation has a lot of value.  If you haven't answered the first question, please do so. http://choralnet.org/view/426906
 
 
Sorry for the bait and switch, I'm still honing my marketing skills.
Replies (9): Threaded | Chronological
on September 29, 2013 6:29pm
Hello Jack,
 
It's not quite clear to me whether you are looking for what composers considers their 'best' piece ("identifying your best works") or whether you are looking for composers' works which they feel best represents humanity ("best piece to represent humanity"). I'll take the option "best piece to represent humanity" as I can not say with any degree of certainty which is my 'best' work. That being said, I think of my large-scale works it IS my best. So maybe my choice does applies to both interpretations. Hard to judge apples and orange!
 
The twenty-five minute Titanic Requiem was performed some 16 times in almost as many venues throughout the USA and Canada in 2012, the 150th anniversary of the demise the great vessel and over 1500 of its passengers. Much has been documented about the bravery of those on board the unsinkable Titanic, but perhaps none as brave as the musicians on board who played until they could play no more, before they disappeared into their cold, watery grave. This selfless gesture is heard in the final moments of music, just before the inevitable descent of the fatally wounded ship and it's captives.
 
'Humanity' most certainly comes to the fore in the face of possible death, and I feel that of all my works, this piece best represents the finest that humanity has to offer. But the Titanic Requiem also reminds its listeners of the other side of the coin– human folly. It spans the spectrum of humanity – its highest and lowest aspects – in a way that none of my other works even seeks to aspire to. Of course this all starts with an eloquent text by harpsichord builder and Titanic buff Wolfgang Kater. This was my real inspiration; my goal was to honour the intent of his poetry as best I could. It warns all humanity: "Yet we press on. Full Steam Ahead! To meet our fate in that cold pink dawn."
 
The work may be heard in its entirety at
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-Y36RPK_7I  (The actual Requiem begins at 2:40.) The video is from the August 2013 performance at XXI Choralies Vaison-la-Romaine, France, in the Cathédrale Vaison-la-Romaine, under Maestro Brady Allred.
A full score pdf is found at http://donaldpatriquin.com/SATB_Sacred.html  
A five-minute of the work under my direction, along with period photographs may be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHuP6D3U4C4
 
Thanks for the opportunity to put this work forward.
 
Thank-you Houston...
 
Donald
 
 
on September 29, 2013 8:58pm
I know it is hard to choose one of your children over the next and I don't mean to cause a Sophie's choice sort of situation.  You can love them all, but I need to see just one that shows me your soul.   It was a pleasure to see you picked Titanic Requiem.  I remember reading about this piece before.  I enjoyed watching the video.   The possibility of facing death and how we cope with being mortal is certainly a good test of humanity. 
on September 30, 2013 1:39pm
I am torn between From the Odes of Solomon, a set of my earlierst choral works, and Three Gnostic Poems, a set of my latest choral works, because I find the poetry in both particularly resonant to the concept of humanity and the role of each of us within humanity.
 
In From the Odes of Solomon, I am particularly fond of the first piece of that set, From Odes 1 & 3 of the Odes of Solomon, because of the message that the devine loves me.  The PDF score and recordings for From the Odes of Solomon are available in the Composition Showcase as well as on my website (www.gregbartholomew.com/odesindex.html).
 
The poetry of Three Gnostic Poems has special meaning for me because my father wrote it and because I selected these texts as representative of the best lessons my father taught me.  The PDF score and recordings are available on my website (www.gregbartholomew.com/gnosticindex.html).  This set of three pieces works together to convey a particular approach to life, my father's.
 
If I must choose a piece that is in the Composition Showcase, I would go with From Odes 1 & 3 of the Odes of Solomon.  If I may select from outside the Showcase, I would go with Three Gnostic Poems, and if it is cheating to nominate a set of three pieces, then I would go with An Open World, the first of that set.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 30, 2013 2:27pm
It's a toss-up between two pieces I composed for the Vortex Repertory Theatre's original production of The Elementals: AIR in 2011, so I will submit them both.
 
Ah, the Air Smells Good (SAT, piano and Bb clarinet) takes its text from two poems by the Sufi poet Rumi and is a deliciously languid paean to a beautiful day.

Sing the Air! (SSAATTBB, piano and wind chimes) celebrates the science, mystery and spiritual significance of that which we cannot see but without which we cannot live.
 
Using your "let's pretend" premise that NASA would send something, either of these pieces would express something which is vital to our lives as humans.  
 
Thanks for the opportunity of sharing.
 
Chris Humphrey
 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 30, 2013 4:42pm
My setting of the Madeleine L'Engle poem Trinity 18 (which I call a Definition of Peace)
 
 
Page 2 of the pdf has the entire text.
 
Thanks,
 
Di
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 30, 2013 6:08pm
No question:  Riders on the Earth, composed for Cantaré Vocal Ensemble in 2010.
 
http://choralnet.org/paint/307420 -- mp3 recording (Cantaré Vocal Ensemble, April 2010)
 
Since the lyrics are from an essay written by Archibald Macleish in Dec. 1968, his response to seeing a photo of the earth rising over the horizon of the moon taken by the Apollo 8 astronauts as they orbited the moon, it seems somehow appropriate.
 
Lana Mountford
Bellingham, WA
Applauded by an audience of 1
on September 30, 2013 8:30pm
For some reason, the links to my two pieces did not work, so I'll try again because I'd really like to share them with you.
 
It's a toss-up between two pieces I composed for the Vortex Repertory Theatre's original production of The Elementals: AIR in 2011, so I will submit them both.
 
Ah, the Air Smells Good (SAT, piano and Bb clarinet) takes its text from two poems by the Sufi poet Rumi and is a deliciously languid paean to a beautiful day.
http://www.redhouseartspace.com/air-smells-good.html

Sing the Air! (SSAATTBB, piano and wind chimes) celebrates the science, mystery and spiritual significance of that which we cannot see but without which we cannot live.
http://www.redhouseartspace.com/sing-the-air.html
 
Using your "let's pretend" premise that NASA would send something, either of these pieces would express something which is vital to our lives as humans.  
 
Thanks for the opportunity of sharing.
 
Chris Humphrey
 
on October 1, 2013 10:38am
I never know what's best, but what usually interest me most is the newest: so,  Agnus Dei, SAB a cappella, at http://www.hartenshield.com/0573_agnus_dei.pdf and http://www.hartenshield.com/0573_agnus_dei.mp3  .
 
In this piece I tried to get past 'chords' while still using a strong sense of tonic.   Also, completely tuned in just intonation, despite  suspensions, secondary dominants, etc.   Full description of tuning and tuning symbols in an appendix to the score.
 
Also, what interests me, usually, is bigger is better: my Marian Motets, nearly an hour of music for chorus and orchestra.   Magnificat, O Magnum Mysterium, Ave Maria, Ave Regina Caelorum, and Stabat Mater.     Links to most can be found on the Hartenshield listening room: http://www.hartenshield.com/listen.html .   Not all the recordings are technically very good --- it was a huge synthesis project -- but I'm working to improve them.
 
William Copper
on October 2, 2013 9:20pm
To answer your question, I would choose my recent a cappella piece, The Heart of Night. Fittingly, it has an astronomical theme, which might make it go over well at NASA. :)
 
It explores humanity's wonder and fear of the night sky and the unknown. It's SATB and about 6 minutes long.

Listen to the premiere (just a few weeks ago by the amazing Vox Humana choir of Victoria, BC!) here: https://soundcloud.com/soundstonemusic/the-heart-of-night
See the score here: http://soundstone.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/The-Heart-of-Night-SATB-Sample.pdf
 
Also this is my first post here. Hello, everyone! :)
 
David Archer
Vancouver, BC
soundstone.ca
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