This CD is a live recording of a Remarkable Theater Brigade Production. The Remarkable Theater Brigade creates and produces new musical works for theatrical performances in New York City. We are dedicated to introducing these works to new audiences.
Christian McLeer’s Requiem, written to honor our veterans and service men and women, recognizes with musical passion, the immeasurable loss that war brings. In honoring the veterans of war and those currently serving, we are also paying tribute to those heroic individuals who died in action. In honoring these heroes, RTB proudly offers this Requiem as an expression of thanks to everyone who has fought for our great country and our freedom. We mourn those lost to war and celebrate the return of those who survive. Let us honor the brave men and women who risk everything with this Requiem and let us hope for a future of peace.
Christian McLeer received his first commission at the age of 14 for which he wrote HOPE, which was included on the CD Encores 2. Musing, his composition for solo flute, can be heard on the CD Musing and his song cycle Longing Eternal Bliss will be included on the CD Long Island Songs to be released by Capstone in 2008. Film commissions and sound design include Nova Rock, FFK, Joey Piscopo, Joachim Wiese.
Maestro Steven Crawford has been conducting for the Metropolitan Opera for 8 seasons. An excellent symphonic conductor and proponent of contemporary music, Maestro Crawford was engaged by the New York Philharmonic as cover conductor for Maestro Kurt Masur for the American premiere of Minoru Miki's Symphony for Two Worlds. He returns to RTB next season to conduct Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied.
Monica Harte recently premiered David Buddin’s Fabric of this Vision, to be released on the CD entitled The Tempest Project in 2008. Other future releases with Capstone Records in ’07 and ’08 include the contemporary chamber CD, Songs from Another Place and the American song CD entitled Long Island Songs with Tom Cipullo.
Jessica Miller recently spent two seasons with the Deutsche Oper Berlin where she sang numerous roles. She can be seen performing regularly in NYC with Opera on Tap, a company she co-founded that brings opera to new audiences by performing in unlikely venues.
Wayne Hobbs is becoming one of the most talked about tenors in the field of opera. He will make his La Scala debut singing Syme in Lorin Maazel's 1984, his New York City Opera debut singing the Auctioneer/Judge in Richard Danielpour’s Margaret Garner, and his Carnegie Hall debut as the tenor soloist in Carmina Burana.
Henry Runey has performed more than 60 operatic roles in the US and Europe including the telecast of Un Ballo in Maschera with Pavarotti and Live From Lincoln Center’s Telecast of Rossini’s Birthday Gala, recorded for EMI. He is Artistic Director for De Vive Voix, International Festival d’Art Lyrique de Vivonne.
Notes on the Requiem:
Christian McLeer began writing the Requiem of Independence in June 2006 and it was completed in January 2007. His 5th composition for RTB, the Requiem was clearly inspired by elements of war. McLeer’s Requiem uses modal counterpoint, 12 tone, tone clusters, and 19th century romanticism.
The Requiem begins by interpolating the military Taps theme and is followed by an ostinato in the flutes and strings, which represents the pulse of a gun. In the development section, the main theme of the Requiem is sung as an 8-part fugue, complemented by a 3-part fugue in the woodwinds, building in layers to the climax. The Kyrie, inspired by the text, is a simple plea that leads us into the Gradual, the antithesis of simple. The melody is derived from a 12-tone set that starts in the brass and repeats in the bassoon with different transpositions. A new melody is introduced in the chorus as a double fugue with the orchestra, moving around the circle of 5ths. This against a driving beat, represents escape and stops abruptly for McLeer’s first homage to Verdi with a solo soprano line at the end of the piece.
With the first 2 notes of Taps as the basis for the melody in the Tract, we get a romantic depiction of the rise of a new day and a glorious arrival of hope. The Offertory, inspired completely from the text, free the tortured souls from hell, has an unrelenting pace. As it transitions into Hostias, there is an angelic a capella vocal quartet. The following chord progression is derived from the climax of this movement and the climax of the 1st movement. The chorus links the chords together with a chromatic line.
The dramatic whisper at the opening of the Sequence turns into a shout, bringing in an instrumental ostinato representing a dirge that is reminiscent of an inevitable enemy presence in war. This piece uses 5 levels of syncopation. Each syncopated unit has its own text. The driving tempo increases in the Tuba Mirum, which features the trumpet to bring us back to Taps.
In the Rex Tremendae, McLeer varies the syncopation in the instruments to compete with the straight 4/4 rhythm in the vocal line. Portraying the relentlessness of war, he uses a 4-part fugue with fast descending passages. This movement stops, evoking the end of a great battle, and segues into the Recordare. With a complete change in emotions, a string quartet and tenor solo give us an overwhelming mournful feeling.
McLeer’s second homage to Verdi is heard in the Ingemisco, with the tenor and bass singing in parallel octaves. This is a complete contrast to the Confutatis, in which the melody travels from 1 instrument to the next then ends with the inversion of the main theme of the Requiem. McLeer uses a rolling melodic line in the strings and swells of crescendo in the voices to create the motion of waves in the Sanctus. His Agnus Dei is lyrical and sad with a descending, chromatic bassoon line that brings in the solo vocal melody.
In the last movement, Communion, McLeer pays homage to Ligeti with the opening phrase. The wall of sound between the instruments and voices is taken over by the orchestra with a recap of the first movement. Then, beginning with the flutes, we hear variations on the Taps theme, turning into the full melody when the French horn enters. The strings continue with the rhythmic pulse that now represents a heartbeat, eerily the same pulse of the gun in the first movement. The piece ends perfectly with the Taps theme one last time as the voices sing Amen.