The word “book” gives the feeling of a larger collection of material, something extensive and varied, and something that may have a story to tell. And there are two David’s involved, myself and David Collier, for whom this piece was written.
Because of my longtime and persistent use of chorale melodies, it has been suggested that I am somehow proselytizing for the Christian faith. This is not the case. My attraction to these melodies is that they are the product of countless generations of human seeding, and have about them an aura of depth and power.
They invariably unlock something unknown and powerful in my imagination. That they have overtones of spirit (fundamentals as well) is not a bad thing. Music is about spirit, and about finding one’s connection to a “bigger” self and to universals. If it didn’t do this, we would find something that did. Every path to spirit is a good path, whatever the label.
The story told by the movement titles is unspoken, and personal to each hearer. The titles are mere hints that can open the mind and heart in different ways. Chorale melodies from the 371 Four-Part Chorales by J.S. Bach are the starting points for the first, second and fifth movement. I have taken only the melodies; harmonizations are my own.
I. Today Is the Great Day of Suffering (Heu’ist, o Mensch, ein grosser Traurertag)
II. We Believe in One God
(Wir glauben all’ in einen Gott)
V. It Is Enough
(Es ist genug)
The titles of the 3rd and 4th movements are images from the book “The Old Gringo” by the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes.
Program note by David Maslanka