Wind Ensemble. (2013) 11′
University of North Texas Wind Symphony, Dominic Talanca, cond. Live Performance, November 21, 2013
University of Louisiana Wind Ensemble, William J. Hochkeppel, cond. Live performance: 13 April 2014
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Their performance of David Maslanka’s Requiem was not only the highlight of their selections, but far and away the highlight of the entire concert
Requiem is a single-movement fantasia written in response to an event of the Holocaust in World War II. It is not possible truly to grasp the deaths of millions of people, but the death of one, in this case a year-old baby – brought me face-to-face with the horror and revulsion of the whole. We think that history is past, and nothing can change it. But the effects of such things as the Holocaust are still immediately with us; the open wound has not been healed. It is my feeling that music can bring closure, and it is my hope that Requiem will serve in this capacity.
A Requiem is a Mass for the dead. This relatively brief instrumental piece with the title Requiem is not a Mass, but serves a parallel function – the need to lay to rest old things in order to turn the mind and heart toward the new.
I have an abiding interest in why humans go to war. I have recently read much about World War II, and was confronted once again with the awful fact of fifty million needless deaths. Shostakovich thought of every one of his compositions as a tombstone, and wished that he could have written a separate memorial piece for every person who died in war.
I do believe that we are in a major transitional time, and that this transition happens first in each of us. My Requiem is both for the unnamed dead of all wars, and for each person making their own inner step, saying goodbye in order to say hello.