The creative spark for “The Desired Hour” began with a poem by my incredibly talented writer friend, Michelle Brittan. It was my introduction to a style of writing called poetry of witness, which offers a writer’s historical and cultural testimony in poetic form. Michelle had written the poem mid-flight, later explaining to me how she was moved by the story currently in the news about the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. In her words:
“I’m hoping it speaks to the larger idea of empathy and loss, even as it takes issue with whether it’s possible to achieve such empathy at such a safe distance, as well as mortality being an equalizer of differences. Of course the topic at the surface is timely and there may be other things that could develop over the ensuing days and weeks, potentially making the poem dated by what it doesn’t know yet. And yet I feel a strange urgency because of that timeliness, and so I thought I’d share in the event this is something you might like to set to music.”
During the creative process, the original version read, “like a green clock that never reaches the desired hour” which was later edited to read “like a green clock always seeking the desired hour.” In the musical setting, feelings of urgency and desperation that were felt during the search process can be heard in several musical themes. Yet, my goal was to capture that same sense of hope and tranquility that people strive to find in times of desperation and loss, with the moment where they finally reach a sense of peace as the desired hour.
Los Angeles, May 2014
“The Desired Hour” (2014)
for Tenor, Horn, and Piano
Text by Michelle Brittan
Music by Huei-Yuan Pan
World Premiere at Boston Court Performing Arts Center
May 9, 2014
Adam Geis, Tenor
Anne-Marie Cherry, Horn
Lisa Sylvester, Piano
Recording engineer, Adam Borecki
Special thanks to Arnold Geis, Anne-Marie Cherry, and Lisa Sylvester for their incredible musicianship.
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For instant digital download of parts (Score, Solo Voice, Piano, Horn), please click here.