'All music, be it "abstract" or "descriptive," or "popular" or "serious," must speak for itself. Words about it are irrelevant, unless they be lyrics or narration. That being said, I will attempt a few words about my piece, because I was asked to do so, and the very special nature of the event in which this first performance takes place. Therefore I offer a guide to the musical gestures and terrain that make up the work, and hopefully help communicate my music to the listener.
"Remembrance Day" opens softly with a prologue evoking a distant nostalgic Lullaby. As it fades, a sudden loud chime combines with high Clarinets in an anguished sequence that cries out a musical pattern establishing and shaping the body of the work. The music alternates between elegiac thematic references and the pulsations and accents of chimes and tolling bells. A slight pause-then subdued but menacing sounds from muted Trombones, Tuba, and Percussion. Over this is a variant of the Clarinets initial "cry of anguish"- but this time in quiet grief-turning into a funeral cortege. The cortege proceeds to chants and responses that grow in intensity, changing to hymn-like swelling and embellishments. A sudden explosive interruption, brutal and violent-the previous menacing muted trombone motif now unleashed. This leads to a full-blown and affirmative chorale. Following this climax the work winds down, diminishing in intensity. There are passing references to what was heard before. Now comes a last variation on the chant, and a pianissimo echo variant in muted Trumpets and then Woodwinds of the hymns and chorales. As this recedes comes the plaintive cry of anguish again-unresolved. Once again, quiet pulsations, a short silence-and the epilogue-a few fragments of the opening lullaby-some final pulsings-a few timpani beats-silence.
I am honored to have been asked to write this work, and I thank the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Foundation for making this possible.
I also hope that our children's children, and their children in the next 21" Century, will live in a world of peace and compassion, wondering why we inmates of the 20th Century asylum spent most of the time destroying each other, while fervently believing in the divinity of humankind.' - Morton Gould, August 23, 1995