Rice University

Events at Rice

Thesis Defense

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies
Shepherd School of Music

Speaker: Daniel Knaggs
Doctoral Candidate

Floodgates - A composition for full orchestra

Thursday, February 23, 2017
1:00 PM  to 2:00 PM

conference room  Alice Pratt Brown Hall


The present composition is written in response to the apparently escalating global crises in the political, economic, social, and cultural spheres. The current age finds itself in a sort of permanent warzone, too often seeking solutions in heated rhetoric, arms, and pointing fingers. However, in light of these problems, this work’s objective is not to simply “vent” or dwell in negativity. Instead, it points toward hope in an avenue that that the world has left largely unexplored: that of mercy. In order to musically incorporate the idea of mercy, this work includes quotations from Gregorio Allegri’s “Miserere” (c. 1630), a choral setting of Psalm 51 in which King David takes full responsibility for his crimes and faults while asking for mercy. The composition races through moments of both anxiety and determination, culminating in a climactic moment in which the “floodgates” burst and the orchestra evokes images of torrential downpour along with restatements from Allegri’s “Miserere…” Finally, the present work is left somewhat open-ended or unresolved, in order to not prematurely celebrate what is still left up to the world to live out.

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