Sunday, January 22, 2012

Composer Eric Lacy on 'A Dream of Conscience: A Tribute to MLK' & 'Three Question Marks'

[Eric Lacy]

AfriClassical's first post on composer Eric Lacy was on Jan. 17, 2012: “Eric Lacy 'holds a Master's degree in film music composition from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.'” We subsequently read a news article about the concert "A Musical Tribute to Martin Luther King" performed by the Reston Community Orchestra: 

The Reston Patch
Jan. 16, 2012
“In keeping with RCO’s tradition of bringing new music to their audience and championing young composers, they debuted
Eric Lacy’s A Dream of Conscience: A Tribute to MLK. Lacy, a Maryland native, took his inspiration from the speeches of King to craft this piece, specifically written for the RCO and the tribute concert.”

Maestro Dingwall Fleary of the Reston Community Orchestra put AfriClassical in touch with the composer.  We then invited Eric Lacy to tell us a bit more about A Dream of Conscience: A Tribute to MLK.   He has kindly done so:

“Hi Bill,

Thanks so much for your interest in my music! I'd love to see The Dream of Conscience performed again, it's a special piece to me and always will be. I'll share with you what I had written to the Reston players during the Christmas holidays as a bit of background on the music.”

(Composer Eric Lacy's Message to Reston Community Orchestra)
When Maestro Fleary asked me if I’d be interested in composing a piece for the Martin Luther King, Jr. concert, I didn’t have to think about it at all. I was delighted and thrilled to have the chance to do it. I figured this would be a great opportunity for me to write something that could serve as a small tribute to an incredible person who was taken from the world way too early.

My process in composing this piece was to come up with an appropriate title. Usually, I do just the opposite and save the title for last, but this time I thought that the title would be very important for how the audience would receive the music. The title for this piece was derived from a compilation of speeches that Dr. King made in 1967. The book contains five speeches about social change and the non-violent method to obtaining peace. It is titled The Trumpet of Conscience.

“I didn’t want to take the title of the book directly because I wanted the music to have its own identity so I took something Dr. King said in the book about being the victim of 'dreams deferred' while still retaining hope, and I combined those two concepts. The result was the title The Dream of Conscience.

When I began to compose the piece, I originally conceived of something up-tempo and celebratory.  Once ideas start coming to me, I have a tendency to write pretty fast and it took me about a week and a half to finish it. It was highly syncopated and had a jazz feel without the jazz chord progressions. Once I had finished it, however, I realized that the music seemed inappropriate for the title. To me, The Dream of Conscience conjures up images of a tribute to a fallen hero and so I went back to the drawing board and spent two days revising my original concepts. Once I finished my revisions, I was extremely happy with the result. I felt that the music had some honor and dignity this time. It was majestic and it contained elements reflecting the tragic loss of a great and influential man of peace.” (END) 

“That's the basic story behind the music for that particular piece. The Reston Community Orchestra did a wonderful job performing it and I'm grateful to Mr. Fleary and the players for working so hard on it. I don't know if they will perform it again, but I certainly hope they will. As a young composer, I'm always looking to have my works performed, but right now the only definite thing I have coming up is my master's degree recital at UNCG. I'm also hoping to get a solo cello work called Three Question Marks performed in the near future. It was premiered last fall and was really well received. After that, my goal is to get commissioned to compose for the upcoming 2012-2013 season.

“Again, thanks so much for your interest! 
Best regards,

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