4 women’s voices (SSAA) (amplified)

2 Flutes
2 Oboes
2 Clarinets
2 Bass Clarinets
Contrabass Clarinet
Soprano Saxophone
Alto Saxophone
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
4 Horns
3 Trumpets (in C)
2 Trombones
Bass Trombone
4 percussion:
1: Marimba, kick drum, suspended crash cymbal, brake drum, wooden wind chimes, claves, güiro
(mounted on a stand)
2: Xylophone, chimes (tubular bells), vibraslap, Aztec death whistle, ratchet, rute (bundle of sticks, as
in Mahler’s fifth symphony), 2 cowbells (small and large, mounted on a stand)
3: Vibraphone, snare drum, 2 log drums (large and medium), conga, tam-tam, maracas, hammer (either rawhide or a
household hammer from any hardware store, as in part one of De Materie by Louis Andriessen)
4: Glockenspiel, concert bass drum (large), 2 woodblocks (small and large), 3 tom-toms (small, medium, large), tamtam, ratchet.

Electric Guitar
Electric Bass
Double Bass

Commissioned by the wind ensembles of San Jose State University, David Vickerman, director,Indiana University Bloomington, Eric Smedley, director,Santa Clara University, Anthony Rivera, director,Fresno Pacific University, Erik Leung,, director,Arizona State University, Jason Caslor, director,Montclair State University, Thomas McCauley, director,Rowan University, Joe
Higgins, director,The College of New Jersey, Eric Laprade, director.
Written between May and November, 2019 in Laurel, MD.
Text: Requiem, by Anna Akhmatova. Translated by Lenore Mayhew and William McNaughton. Used by permission of Oberlin College Press.
Movements 2 and 3 of Akhmatova may be performed independently under the title, Requiem.
Program Note
Akhmatova, my fifth symphony, is that rare example of a composer returning to a text they had set many years in the past. Where my original setting, now discarded from my catalogue, was motivated by a hypothetical notion of facing the circumstances faced by the poet, Anna Akhmatova, and her family under the Soviet regime of Joseph Stalin, Akhmatova is motivated by the very real and disconcerting
fact , widely reported in 2019, that the American government had separated the children of migrants entering the U.S. from Latin America from their parents and holding them in, essentially, concentration camps.
Under Stalin, Anna Akhmatova, celebrated poet and intellectual, faced the murder of her husband and the imprisonment of her son for seventeen months. The poet recalls this period of uncertainty and terror in her poem, Requiem, composed, from memory (for fear of a manuscript being discovered by authorities), between 1935 and 1961 (appearing in print for the first time in 1961 in Munich, and not
published in the USSR until 1987!). Her terrifying and moving poetry, which, in my 20’s put me to mind of my mother facing similar conditions, as a child, in Fidel Castro’s Cuba, now, in my 40’s, and under a real fear of recrimination for simply
belonging to the wrong demographic, put me to mind, impossibly, of my two daughters possibly needing to flee or face the same fate as Akhmatova’s son in 21st century America.
As a composer of what is, unfortunately, still referred to as “classical” music, I have a modest platform to lend my voice to important causes. This has motivated me, especially in the last decade, to create works that cry in anger at the barbarous and seemingly unending cruelties perpetrated by a government from which such behavior was unthinkable less than a decade ago. Akhmatova is a requiem for the
lost children of families who were simply looking for safety in a new country in the best way they could, but were met with cavalier cruelty that fills many of us with intense shame. As time and the parade of terrors go on, I hope that this piece will serve both as a reminder that we, in the United States of America of the 21st century, allowed this to happen, and as a cry for action against such behavior.
Akhmatova is dedicated to my children, Olivia and Elena, as well as to the lostchildren of Donald Trump’s concentration camps. May they find their way home.