‘Astoundingly, inspiringly wonderful’

Guest Editorial

‘Astoundingly,  inspiringly wonderful’The following piece was submitted not as a review of last weekend’s performance by Patrick Rindt & Friends, but rather as an observation marking the apparent history in the making as one of our own continues to make the transition from concert pianist to world-class composer. — Ed.

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I attended Patrick Rindt’s original compositions’ concert, “Songs of the Spirit.” It was astoundingly, inspiringly wonderful.

Music has been with us humans since the beginning — indeed, perhaps before we even became this species. And it seems likely that music in its earliest form was vocal: some primordial member of humanity – I’d like to think it was upon a beautiful dawn – took the sounds of the previous days, rolled in the aborning emotions that come with being human, and sang the very first song deliberately created. (This may have been immediately followed, of course, by yet-more-primitive neighbors throwing rocks and bottles at him or her for waking them up so early on a Saturday. But that’s better left for another essay…)

Whatever the likely unknowable truth about music’s origins, vocal music – words intertwined with melodies and harmonies – possesses, by its very nature, a special and largely unique capacity to move the listener, simultaneously insinuating itself into the emotions, the thoughts and the spirit in a way even the very best purely instrumental music rarely can achieve. Or so it seems to me. It is my most-loved form of music.

Rindt’s works cut across a whole range of musical forms. He displayed the capacity to compose hymns, occasional music, art songs, rock opera and – my favorite of all – choral anthems. All were superb. Yet I feel honor-bound to make three specific notes:

The closing number of the first half, “Warrior,” from his (possible) stage- or film-musical score, was one of those “leave the theater humming” songs destined to take on a life of its own. Aunt Imogen, a setting of E.A. Arlington’s eponymously named poem – a body of work Rindt has dedicated himself to – was a spectacular example of the “Art Song” form. His modernization and enhancement of lieder were beautifully moving. And the final choral number of the concert, “Day is Dying in the West,” was one of the loveliest, most moving anthems I’ve ever heard.

The audience was large, and the venue was completely full. From my seat in the back I could not identify many of the ground-floor attendees. Yet I could see much of the balcony seating clearly, and I saw there, among many others, Des Pres, Mozart, Brahms, Wagner, Ives, Copland, Menken, Sondheim and Rutter. They listened with rapt attention, and I could see one or another of them occasionally smile, as they saw their own hand — sometimes across a centuries-long gulf of being and time — in some turn of the music.

But more to the point, I also noted — betimes on each of their faces – an expression that said: “How wonderful. Wish I’d thought of that!” And they would then share a brief glance amongst themselves, delighted to be listening to the music of their brother.

— Dr. Larry Cosner

Story First Published: 2020-02-28