Hymn for the Innocent is a tribute to all the innocent lives that are lost whether by accident, disease or acts of violence. It also includes all those who serve, here and abroad, military and domestic who have sworn to protect the innocent and have lost their lives or lead a handicapped life as a result of this service. What has been lost by their passing is an infinite list of possibilities. What they could have been, could have accomplished or achieved and the holes left in all the lives they touched and would have affected surely is a sorrow above all sorrows. Loss is never easy but when loved ones are taken before their time the loss and grief seem to be compounded. This hymn is for them. My prayers will always include them. This hymn is for the survivors as well. My hope is that this music, this hymn can be a part of a healing process for some listener out there. Grief never goes away but music can be an instrument that can help you live with it.
Notes to the Conductor:
The tempo markings are a general suggestion and certainly other tempos, slower or faster are acceptable unless extreme. There are NO ritards or accelerations notated in the score by design. Those musical affections should come from you, the conductor and should be tailored to your own musical expression. Express yourself and let the performers know they need to bring a pencil to all rehearsals and that even on the performance to watch you because again, you may do something different than you did before. The piece should be fluid and expressive in the ways that healing, love and grief can be.
Thoughts while composing this work:
I often tell my students, composition and clinics alike, ... that to be a musician you have to be able to submit and surrender to the music you are playing. You have to let it take control of your emotions and your soul and experience the journey AS the music, not just with it. As musicians when we play music, we are gifting the listeners with not just the music but our souls. And as that vessel we must be willing to lose a part of ourselves in the giving.
When composing you must be willing to leave a part of yourself in the music and on the page. There can be no walls, no hesitations. When you are finished with whatever it is you have just written, if you feel protective of the notes, the music, have a need to keep it from harm, a need to know that whoever you hand it to will care for it and help it be what it was meant to be, then you know what you have written was worth putting on the paper. I left a great part of me on these pages and for what its worth, I am happy to call it mine, if only for now. Once it is published it isn't mine any longer. It belongs to whoever is playing, hearing & experiencing it and that is the magic, the gift of music.