The abstract from this thesis, emphasis added by me:
“Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living is a recent composition that is quickly gaining attention in the choral world. The work exhibits unique aspects of Forrest’s compositional voice in his Requiem, including his textual changes from an original Requiem, formal designs and overall organization, melodic and rhythmic motivic development, and harmonic transformations. Through comprehensive analysis and discussion, this thesis will argue that the primary threenote motive in the Requiem serves as the cornerstone for analytical departure. The number three is the main component of the formal, motivic, and harmonic structure of the Requiem for the Living. The framework for discussion extracts the importance of the number three in the primary motive and draws connections to other aspects of the work that utilize three as an organizing mechanism. Schenkerian analysis and Neo-Riemannian Theory will assist in understanding the melodic and harmonic relationships.”
Hunh? An amazing and moving major work and the whole focus is the number 3 (which took over 80 pages to explain). I’m a numbers guy and likes me my science* but that’s mighty deep for me. Of course, that’s primarily driven by the fact that it’s hard for my little brain to get that analytical when considering a beautiful piece of music (as in Schenkerian analysis and Neo-Riemannian Theory, whatever they are) . I ain’t that smart.
(In deference to the author, I hope Lindsey got her Masters Degree, she put a pile of work into it and it really does explore the often-unintended mathematics of music in a unique way. I’ve never written anything that long in my life…)
I choose to consider the composer, especially a young one (translation: younger than me) and how the piece hits the listener. (Side note: I’ll take it as a positive that he’s from Elmira, NY since I lived there for a few years and know it’s full of nice people.). As a person of deep and committed faith I suspect this Requiem came from a very deep place in his heart and it shines through perfectly. In Dan’s words, “A Requiem, at its core, is a prayer for rest — traditionally, for the deceased. The five movements of Requiem for the Living, however, form a narrative just as much for the living, and their own struggle with pain and sorrow, as for the dead.” I can’t wait to hear it with the entire orchestra…I have to believe it’s going to be one of those defining moments for choral music both on O’ahu and the Big Island; people are going to talk about it for a long time.
Other folks have talked about it, too. The ones who get paid to talk about that sort of stuff (whether they like it or not). I think you’ll sense a theme…
“…nothing prepared me for the grandeur and timeless beauty of Dr. Dan Forrest’s Requiem for the Living.”
“… a work of soaring melody and luminous harmony.”
“…one of the most stunning choral works produced in recent years.”
Now THAT’S analytics. And the quotes number exactly…three.
(*For those 0f you who need an explanation of science, the Blogmeister is here to help you out. If it smells funny, it’s chemistry. If it’s fuzzy, it’s biology. If it doesn’t make any sense at all, it’s physics. You’re welcome.)