If you’re an I Care If You Listen reader, you should be pretty familiar with their “5 questions to” segments they run with composers and performers. Well, they’ve turned the questions towards new Delos composer Sean Hickey in regards to his new Sean Hickey — Concertos release.
Here’s one of the questions and answers from the interview:
“ICIYL: The second movement of your cello concerto is an evocation of the “anguish of the innocent people in war’s crossfire” (I read that you wrote it with the Iraqi people in mind.) What prompted you to express these ideas in a concerto and not—for instance—an opera?
Sean Hickey: Well, for one, opera doesn’t really interest me nor do I think I could do it well. I also don’t think I could adequately express the futility of war on a stage carpeted with singers. Truthfully, I had no intention of creating any sort of pictorial description of the Iraq War in the piece, but since it was in the news daily and certainly affected me, the movement grew into what you hear now. The middle portion of the movement is for percussion battery and solo cello and has a quasi-militaristic sound before the cello dissolves into a falling chord on its bottom two strings, a keening lament perhaps for the dead and the innocent. A song-like English horn joins the solo cello over pizzicato strings. One moment of satisfaction came when the Russian orchestra, after rehearsing the piece for days, picked up on the buried quotation from Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony – it a notable wartime work of course – in the final pages of the piece. It’s easy to forget in the glittering and watery metropolis, which rivals any European city for beauty and culture, that St. Petersburg is a city full of ghosts.”
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