On April 19th, at 8:30 PM, in Duke Chapel in Durham, NC, there was the premiere of my “Haitian Requiem.” The work is a 9 movement, 35 minute funeral mass set to music memorializing the victims of the Haitian Earthquake that happened in January 2010. It is written for full choir, brass quintet, carillon (the bells in Duke Chapel), and percussion, which includes music written for a traditional Haitian drum ensemble that plays at Vodunist religious rituals. Vodunism is the indigenous religion of Haiti. This work seeks to give hope to those who survived the earthquake while asking for the repose of those who passed away in the traumatic event. Towards this end, there is a dramatic dialogue set-up between the mundane (“earthy”) Haitian Creole language and the transcendant, etheral (“sky”) Latin.
You can see the video below. Skip to 21:41 to see my lecture before the performance about just what exactly the work is, and how I structured and composed it. Skip to 31:49 for the music, but I strongly suggest you watch the speech.
You can download the movements here, at soundcloud.
Duke decided to do a short news report on the project. You can see it below; it’s a good 4 minute summary of the project.
Please consider donating to Haiti to help the ongoing relief efforts there.