…in hora mortis nostrae
cl, perc, pno, e.gtr, cb
Commissioned by Wild Rumpus New Music Collective
Premiered by Wild Rumpus, May 3, 2014, Center for New Music, San Francisco, CA
...in hora mortis nostrae was inspired by a setting of the "Ave Maria" text for soprano and continuo by J.M. Gletle, a Swiss composer of the Baroque era. I fell in love with Gletle's Ave Maria after hearing it in a YouTube video, beautifully performed by soprano Marina Bartoli and theorbist Michael Leopold. As a player and teacher of historical music, I often fall in love with elements of historical style or performance practice, but feel it is impossible for me to use them authentically in my own time and place as a composer. Gletle's Ave Maria posed this quandry: I felt so close to the piece as a listener, but far from it as a composer. It is a product of its context - a perfect nugget of Gletle's idiosyncratic take on the Baroque style. So the piece I wrote is an attempt to reach across time and interact with the Gletle piece, both on its own terms and in a way that feels authentic to me. This interaction is not easy, and sometimes communication is impossible. At times Gletle's musical language speaks over mine, or mine over his, but for the most part the relationship is something more complex: a discourse in the misty spaces between autonomy and integration, style and sound. The title, ...in hora mortis nostrae, is an excerpt of the "Ave Maria" text that means "in the hour of our death" - when we stand at the edge of earthly time and space, perhaps with the hope of transcending them.