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Interview with Ian Kellam, composer

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audio Listen to Agnus Dei

More interviews
document Interview with John Scott, organist
document Interview with Huw Williams, sub-organist
document Interview with Carey John Franklin, composer

document About the concert
linked document Saint Paul's Cathedral, London

MICHAEL BARONE : We know the impetus for the composition...


Surely. How did you approach your conception? How did you take your events from 9/11 and make it come out in music like this?

Well, the whole thing was so horrendous when it appeared on our television screens, we all thought it was a film to begin with and then whole horror of it sank in extraordinarily quickly. And it was immediately afterwards, a day or so afterwards, that I determined that I had to mark it, in some way and the Agnus Dei sprang to mind and the two opening chords, the two dis-chords: the twin towers. And then we have the first lines of the Agnus Dei and then a third chord is added for the Philadelphia crash and the fourth, of course, for the Pentagon. And then the whole thing is resolved up into the ether, as it were, and hopefully all the souls are taken up into heaven. That was the idea anyway.

How many times has the choir performed this piece?

Well, they've put it onto record. Wonderful and marvelous record. The whole thing is absolutely beautiful. A record called “Remembrance,” issued by Hyperion.

Where was the first performance?

Yes, it was written for Gerre Hancock at St. Thomas Fifth Avenue and he did the first performance of it and very beautifully too, and then John did it, and then, of course, the wonderful Philip Brunelle, masterly musician that you are so fortunate to have here, has done it at his church, the Plymouth Congregational Church here as well.


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