Lament - Anne Wilson


Lament - Anne Wilson

(in memory of Matthew Shepard)

for Cello Solo and four cellos

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In five movements:

I. Premonition (1:28)  
II. Tavern Scene (1:57)  
III. Reflection (1:48)  
IV. Torment (1:52)  
V. Requiem (3:17)  

Description

Program Notes

More by Anne Wilson

Anne Wilson Richard Aaron, a member of the cello faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music, approached me with the idea of writing a cello ensemble piece at the same time that the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student, was in the news. The sadness I felt as I viewed televised accounts of this young man's memorial service (painfully disrupted by persons holding homemade signs proclaiming messages of hate) found expression in this work for cello quartet and solo cello. The solo cello part represents the voice of Matthew, and the five sections of the work depict the last hours of his life: Premonition (the sharp, initial chords representing his anguish appear throughout the piece); Tavern Scene (he meets his killers): Reflection (he fears what is to come); Torment (he is beaten and left to die, tied to a fence); Requiem (rest in peace). Though this work has specific references to Matthew Shepard's death, I would very much like it to be thought of as a statement against hate crimes of all natures. Anne Wilson

Anne Wilson’s works have been performed at such venues as the Chautauqua Institution, the Aspen Music Festival, the Julliard School, The Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, D.C.), the Amsterdam Cello Biennale, the Cincinnati Classical Guitar Workshop, and conventions of the American Guild of Organists.

Excerpts from November 9, 2007 interview with the composer:

On Composing the Piece:

“I was really horrified first of all because of the murder, but the pain of what happened was really brought home to me by a Newsweek article that showed [Fred Phelps’ organization] picketing Matthew’s funeral with signs saying “No Fags In Heaven,” and “No Tears For Queers,” and “God Hates Fags.” And I mean they actually went to his funeral, and in front of his parents had signs like that. And that just really incensed me, and suddenly I knew what I was going to write about, you know. So when I put pen to paper I was thinking about his last hours, his last day…”

“[This piece] is meant to be a statement against hate crimes of all kinds, not just this specific crime… Its just the anger and frustration anyone feels, or I probably shouldn’t say anyone, what most people feel when they hear of something so senseless like this.”

“Just thinking about what happened to him, and the grief of his family and his community, and particularly these Newsweek… as I speak to you now, I’ve got my file out, and I still have these Newsweek articles from October 1998 that show these pictures of people holding up signs, it just… I cried when I read the article. Unfortunately this group is still doing this today. They go to funerals of service men killed in Iraq and hold up these signs that say they died because our country allows homosexuality. It’s just totally crazy.”

On Mvt. 1 – “Premonition”:

“I’d read about Matthew Shepard and he’d always had kind of a premonition or fear that something bad might happen to him, sometime in his life… and I know that he had had some run-ins before the fatal one, and had been beaten up – once he had even lost consciousness. So I’m sure it wasn’t an easy life. He was a premature baby and grew up very small, and he was barely five feet tall. And there he is living out in the west, kind of, you know - “Macho land.” And he’d had some pretty cultured schooling in Europe, I believe, with his parents. So he probably didn’t fit in with that cowboy macho culture. He was a gentle kind of man, from what I’ve read. I’m sure he must have had fear from a lot of different angles, living out there in cowboy land.”

On Mvt. 2 – “Tavern Scene”:

“He actually met the two men that ended up killing him in a local bar. So that’s the movement that’s kind of jazzy, which is supposed to evoke kind of a bar scene.”

On Mvt. 3 – “Reflection” (solo cello cadenza):

“The solo cello line of course is the voice of Matthew… [Reflection] is a time for all of us to think about the pain someone like Matthew might go through. You know, identity crisis things, coming out, and fear, and all the issues that a gay person deals with in their lives.”

On Mvt. 4 – “Torment”:

“The fourth movement, obviously is what happened to him that day, being beat up and tied to the fence.”

On Mvt. 5 – “Requiem”:

“Requiem,” is the Latin word for “rest.” That’s just a way of ending the piece in a kind of “rest in peace”… The solo line is marked “lacrimoso,” which means “sadly,” and it’s definitely sorrowful…

Advanced Players
Lament (in memory of Matthew Shepard) (Cello Quintet or Cello & Piano)
Clare's Cancion (Cello Quintet or Cello & Piano)

Intermediate Players
Clare's Cancion (Cello Quartet)
Suite for Cello Trio (Cello Trio)
Fantasy on Nursery Songs (Cello Quartet)

Beginning Players
Bug Pieces (Cello & Piano)

A soulful, expressive lament written in memory of Matthew Shepard for solo cello and cello quartet. For advanced cellists.

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