We were moved by your piece "I am grateful to my Lord“ from our very first rehearsal with it. How did the composition come about and why this text?
I asked my wife to search for some Biblical texts, which I could set to music. Of these compositions, "God Has Commanded All His Angels“ became particularly popular. I wrote "I am grateful“ for a composition competition in Japan. Unfortunately, it didn’t win a prize; there were too many submissions and the competition was directed more at proper "New Music.“ Stylistically, "I am grateful“ fits better into the Neoromantic tradition.
The piece was composed in 2014. vodeon is, of course, thrilled to be able to premiere it, but why didn’t this happen earlier?
I didn’t forget the piece after the composition competition, but it seemed to slip to the back burner. The former Chanticleer tenor ChoralTracks - Matthew Curtis recorded it for me in 2014 with him singing all the vocals; this recording came to my attention again in the beginning of 2016. When I happened to meet up with Matthias Becker from Ferrimontana Publishing, I sent him Matt’s recording and the sheet music. Right away Mr. Becker liked the piece.
I’m guessing you had a full choir in mind for the performance of "I am grateful.“ We’re singing it with eight soloists…
In late 2015 I heard a recording of vodeon and we started to talk about a possible collaboration. "I am grateful“ came to mind right away. It speaks for the quality of the group that you can perform the piece with only eight singers…
…We made adjustments to tempo and phrasing for our ensemble…
… and I like to stay in the background when my pieces are being rehearsed. I leave the interpretation up to the artists. I consider it out of the question to boss around the performers if I’m in the room. I’m happy that my music will be heard and I’m excited to hear what the musicians make of the piece.
Apropos "being in the room“: can we expect to see you at our concert on Sunday? [Note: The concert is on Sunday, 5 June 2016 at 7:30 pm in the Gnadenkirche in Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany.]
My wife and I would love to come, but the drive is long and our children have school on Monday… we’ll see!
Interview conducted in German, translation by Hana Katsenes