Instrumentation: bassoon (contrabassoon double) and piano
Duration: ca. 11:00
Premiere: March 30, 2018 | Divergent Brass | Hart Recital Hall, East Lansing, MI
For purchasing information, please contact Ryan.
Semper was composed for Embracing the Stories of War, a collaborative event created by students and faculty of the College of Music and the School of Social Work at Michigan State University. This event was designed to raise awareness of the mental health difficulties faced by many veterans upon returning home, in particular the alarming rate veteran suicide. In addition to the premiere of this composition, the event consisted of veterans sharing their stories and resource organizations presenting their missions. Those who attended were invited to listen to the stories of those who served and to honor those who have been victims of war, both abroad and back at home.
The Latin word semper translates to always, and it is used in a number of military mottos, perhaps the most famous being semper fidelis of the United States Marine Corps. Each movement is inspired by a different facet of the experience of veterans. Patriae: veterans are patriots, willing to sacrifice more than most for their country and fellow citizens. Bellator: veterans are warriors, trained to fight and endure significant trauma. Vulnerasti: many veterans return home wounded, whether physically or psychologically, in ways that are lasting.
When I was approached and asked to write this piece, it was an incredibly easy decision to say yes. Both of my grandfathers were Navy veterans, and both served in wars. Additionally, both endured physical trauma that affected them for the rest of their lives. Writing a piece that honors veterans like my grandfathers who sacrificed so much was an opportunity I could not pass up.
Thanks to Ryan Gerhardt, Glenn Stutzky, and Tina Blaschke-Thompson for their collaboration and guidance in this composition, as well organizing Embracing the Stories of War.