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Hope Reaching Beyond the Limit (2009)

Six movements for string quartet and bass-baritone

Duration: ca. 24 minutes

Premiere: 05.12.2009 by Tim Bruno, bass-baritone, Ioana Galu and Margaret Townsend, violins, Rafael Lizama, viola, and Jennifere Psujek, cello

Program notes: Hope Reaching Beyond the Limit, my Master’s Thesis composition, is a musical setting of a six-poem cycle by Karol Józef Wojtyła (Pope John Paul II, 1920-2005) for bass-baritone and string quartet. This poetry explores the deepest and most fundamental questions of the human person: what is the meaning of life and death?

In an effort to wrestle with such lofty questions, I use a variety of techniques to enhance the listener’s experience of the poetry. For example I create various textures and rhythms so that the listener can more easily enter into the scenes which the singer is describing. I also portray changes in mood by shifts in harmonic centers. And for ideas that may be a key to understanding the entire work, I alter pitch material to create a sense of freshness or important arrival. Additionally, to reinforce the main message of the poetry, I incorporate fragments of the traditional Gregorian chant sequence, Victimae Paschali Laudes, whose message is similar to that of the poetry being used. (Texts permissions were granted by the Vatican Publishing House).

Listen to first movement of Hope Reaching Beyond the Limit  below: JPII

Listen to movement VI (final) of Hope Reaching Beyond the Limit  below: