A Veterans’ Lament was composed as part of the string quartet “Into The Liquid”, commissioned by the New York City-based Ethel Quartet in 2013.
It is included as the 3rd chapter of the quartet version titled, “Adult Years".
A Veterans' Lament as scored here, has an added Introduction, and is orchestrated for full orchestra, wind ensemble and string quartet with piano. These arrangements continues the composers mission to use music to bring visibility to veterans and their service to country.
The Veterans' Lament score has two optional video components:
1. A video representation of data information from the National Archives relating to service members who died as a result of combat duty. During the Lament section each service members name and their date of casualty is presented as a rolling scroll. The names are specific only to the State of the presenting ensemble (e.g., West Virginia had 732 casualties from service in the Vietnam War). What is important with this aspect of the score is that the scrolling names are presented within 5 min (the timimg of A Veterans' Lament without the Introduction) and the audience is asked to focus not on the individual names, (as they move by very quickly and in most cases can not be read) but to transcend syntax and focus on and understand the collective ultimate sacrifice for country (presenting the score with this option might be considered more of a art performance piece).
Click here to see an example of this optional component ( a video rendition is currently being developed)
2. A video representation of images of veterans. All images are requested and provided in advance to the ensemble by their audience members who wish family members or significant other Veterans to be represented as part of a special veterans commemorative presentation.
On September 11th, 2001 I was in Vietnam for a performance of my Symphony For The Sons of Nam by the Ho Chi Minh Symphony Orchestra. While waiting in a Saigon Hotel, the TV displayed the destruction of the World Trade Centers. I immediately called home and made plans to return to Carol and Becky. Once back in Chicago I took a stroll along the Lake, as water has always soothe my soul, and I contemplated where we were heading as a country.
In 2003 we began a new aggressive conflict that sent our young men and women into battle. As with Vietnam, those young souls who were fortunate to returned home had wounds and trauma that we can never truly comprehend.
As a veteran, I have an unbreakable bond with all military veterans as brothers and sisters in arms. We have all contributed to life that we live today.
I have a deep sadness for my fellow veterans who did not make it back from the battlefield. I composed the 3rd movement (A Veterans Lament) of the string quartet Into The Liquid, in memoriam as a sat looking out at Lake Michigan and realizing how truly lucky I was to have returned from war while so many of my brothers and sisters in arms gave the ultimate sacrifice.
I truly mourn those lives lost in service to our way of life.