In the fall of 2010, I decided that I would write a piece to commemorate and honor those lost in the September 11 attack in 2001. My goal was not to literally recreate the events, rather create a musical representation of the struggles, heartbreak, and memories of those lost in the disaster. This also served as my thesis for graduation of my Master of Music in Composition/Theory. This piece holds a very close tie to my heart as I have a great desire to honor those who fight to keep us safe, and whose sacrifice will never be forgotten. “Remember Us,” is an encompassing work for me. I believe as of this date in 2011, I have not written something of this magnitude. The program notes are as follows, but may be subject to change…
Remember Us is a very encompassing work for me. As a crafter of music, I always try to speak to things I feel move people in ways words can no longer express. In musical theatre, music is added because spoken word can no longer express the emotions that are occurring on stage. I do not believe any amount of words can express my gratitude toward the men and women who fight to sustain our freedoms and way of life. In my heart, my gratitude has reached a point where words cannot express my emotion and the end result has been poured out into this piece of music. Where this piece of music is certainly a memorial and honorary to our current soldiers and veterans of foreign wars, there is a larger means of inspiration lying deep within the notes on the page.
In 2001, the United States was hit with one of the most devastating acts of violence since the attack on Pearl Harbor. While I am certain I need not go into detail about the events of September 11, it is through that catastrophe this piece emerged. This is a piece of music written for The United States of America and all those who have sacrificed all they possess to keep us free.
In keeping true to my compositional voice, I have crafted this work in modernly classical way. Example, the piece opens very sombre, reflective and reminiscent of years past as the trumpet calls out a fair “hello” to the awaiting listener. I have exploited the use of the leap and stepwise motion in order sound out a prideful tune. This opening motif echoes throughout the entire wind section and the majority of the work. For this, I have crafted a melody that is filled with leaps complemented by stepwise motion. The sound should be regal and a sense of pride should overcome the player and listener. As the piece progresses, the melody returns, but not always regal and majestic. At times, it is downright distorted and corrupt, exploited by minor second and major seventh intervals. Though this is the case, it should remain a type of bugle call, for no matter how many times the nation is faced with destruction we rise to the challenge and overcome our strife and oppression.
At the onset of panic, clusters of harmonics, mutes, and col legno strings set the tone. The trumpet remains echoed in the horn. There is a sense of restlessness and uncertainty. In my mind, the moments of bravery from citizens, military, and law officials are what helped me to complete this work. After the commotion, there are brief moments of clarity represented by the brass in the form of a chorale. Again, the opening theme returns as we regain pride found in a waving flag. Amidst the commotion, I have crafted a rather sombre, reflective violin solo that speaks of loved ones lost. Again, I have exploited leaps, specifically the major-seventh. This is a lament for all we yearn to see again.
The closing is designed to look forward and was crafted to have a very “American” sound. Again, the brass dominates this section, soaring to new heights as our spirits are lifted, never forgetting those lost and always honoring their memory.