Programme Notes and Track List
The City Sleeps
The Last Stop
Impact! Ave Maria
The Towers Fall. Dies Irae
Aftermath. Ground Zero
Elegy for the Fallen
Song of Hope
1. The City Sleeps was originally written as an unaccompanied prelude for the soprano cornet. My intention had been to “mash” this up and add some sort of synthesiser accompaniment. Instead, I opted to retrospectively write an accompaniment for it. The mood here is dark, showing New York sleeping as the new day breaks around it.
2. Interlude: c.1911 is a short piece of ragtime-style music which takes a light-hearted view of New York around about 1911.
3. The Last Stop is about trains specifically but is more broadly a reflection of the many thousands of people who commute into the city every day. I decided to write it as a piccolo trumpet duet, both parts performed here by Steve Stewart.
4. Impact! Ave Maria introducing Rachel Hickman, mezzo soprano for the first time. Although the Ave Maria is not a traditional part of the Requiem mass, I chose to include it anyway for it’s simplicity and raw power when juxtaposed against the movie images.
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
ora pro nobis peccatoribus.
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and in the hour of our death.
5. The Towers Fall. Dies Irae is a tour de force. Scored for both soloists, huge orchestra, full choir and organ, this terrifying description of the Day of Judgement perfectly describes the fear and panic of these terrible, tragic moments. Of all the album, this music is perhaps the most descriptive. The music is broken into sections portraying several verses of the Dies Irae.
Dies Irae, dies illa
Solvet saeclum in favilla:
Teste David cum Sibylla
Quantus tremor est futurus,
quando Iudex est venturus,
cuncta stricte discussurus!
Tuba mirum spargens sonum
per sepulchra regionum,
coget omnes ante thronum.
Mors stupebit, et natura,
cum resurget creatura.
Lacrimosa dies illa,
qua resurget ex favilla
Iudicandus homo reus:
Huic ergo parce, Deus.
The day of wrath, that day,
will dissolve the world in ashes:
the testimony of David and the Sibyl.
How great will be the quaking,
when the Judge is about to come,
strictly investigating all things!
The trumpet scattering a wondrous sound
through the sepulchres of the regions,
will summon all before the throne.
Death and nature will marvel,
when the creature will rise again,
to respond to the Judge.
Tearful [will be] that day,
on which from the glowing embers will arise
the guilty man who is to be judged:
Then spare him, O God.
6. Aftermath. Ground Zero is an aria for the mezzo soprano. The range of the piece is substantial, well outside of the comfortable tessitura, from top B flat to the E below middle C. I used another liturgical text, Lux Aeternum for this section and it is similar to Ave Maria in that the music is juxtaposed with the movie and not deliberately descriptive. The scoring deviates from the standard orchestral timbre, consisting of small wind section, 2 solo violas, 4 solo cellos and a single contrabass.
Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine:
Cum Sanctis tuis in aeternum:
quia pius es.
Requiem aeternum dona eis, Domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
quia pius es.
May light eternal shine upon them, O Lord,
with Thy Saints for evermore:
for Thou art gracious.
Eternal rest give to them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them:
for Thou art gracious.
7. Elegy for the Fallen is an act of remembrance, delivered by the soprano cornet. The emotive sound of the soprano cornet, is perfect for this simple elegy. This movement is based upon a short fragment from the previous track
8. Song of Hope, our finale, is based upon the famous Celtic Blessing. I have again mustered my full forces for this track, which builds throughout, culminating in a resounding finale.
I always felt that the words of the blessing, although tinged with sadness, portrayed kindness and hope.
Once again, there are some unusual instrument choices, including the Uillean pipes which may be heard after the first verse.
May the road rise up to meet you,
may the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again, may God
hold you in the palm of His hands.