January 13, 2015

Meet the composer Part II: Q and A with Lawrence Siegel

composer Lawrence Siegel
Yesterday on the RPO blog, we introduced you to composer Lawrence Siegel, whose original composition Kaddish: I Am Here will be presented by the RPO this Thursday, January 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. Joining the RPO will be guest conductor Eugene Tzigane, four acclaimed soloists, and more than 150 vocalists from Rochester Oratorio Society with special guest singers from area temples and other affiliates from the Jewish community. The RPO is honored to present Kaddish to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Allied Forces liberation of the World War II Nazi concentration camps. In the second part of Siegel’s interview, the composer discusses his musical influence and process for crafting this moving work that draws its libretto from the actual words of Holocaust survivors.

Q: Were you influenced by any type of music or composers while writing this piece?
A: There is a touch of Yiddish folk song early in the piece. Certainly the texts determined aspects of the musical style, which shifts to reflect the changing mood of the words. Most of my music could be classified as “post-modern.” I embrace whatever style suits the context I am portraying, moving comfortably between folk and musical theater influences, modernist methods, rock ‘n roll, jazz, Baroque. There’s a bit of all of these in Kaddish.

Q: Did you write music to fit the text (the text here being the interviews with the survivors)
or did you fit the text to music?
A: My vocal music is virtually always shaped by the text; the text comes first and is set with the idea of following its contours and meanings.

Q: What are your goals with Kaddish?
A: It is my hope that hearing Kaddish will engender empathy for the victims of genocide, and help to engage audiences in efforts to end it.

Q: At the end of the day, is Kaddish a story of hope, triumph, or something different altogether?
A: Early in the day, it’s a story of the richness and texture of a world that is no more. In the middle of the day, it is a story of the darkest chapter of human history. At the end of the day, yes, it is a story of hope and resilience, and the triumph of the simple virtues that all of us can share.

Tickets are still available to Kaddish. Visit rpo.org/kaddish for more details.

No comments: