A GRAND JOURNEY VOL. 2 delivers resounding chamber music from a diverse range of contemporary composers. Featured on the album is composer Andre Godsey’s Reflections Through the Windows Raindrops, a string trio and heartbreaking aria from the composer’s soon to be released opera suite.
Today, Andre is our featured artist in “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn why he strives to create connections with the audience through his music and how he fuses modern and traditional elements in his compositions…
What do you wish to convey to listeners with your piece on A GRAND JOURNEY VOL 2?
Reflections through the Windows Raindrops is a composition that falls in the area of persistence in the face of adversity. In my opera, United in Chaos, the lead character, Leonard Collington, a young, promising artist is shopping downtown with his family. After they leave the department store, they are stopped by a police officer who mistakenly shoots him to death. The attending surgeon at the hospital sings the aria, Reflections through the Windows Raindrops, to Leonard’s mother, Linda Collington. Heartbroken, the two women have to persist through this adversity. The attending surgeon seems to successfully encourage Linda and her family after the announcement of Leonard’s death. She sings the aria in the waiting room of the hospital while a terrible thunderstorm rages outside and the raindrops coat the window, signifying tear drops from herself and Mrs. Collington.
Imagine your music on this album as a soundtrack for a famous movie scene. What film and scene would best compliment the emotions and themes conveyed in your composition? What qualities in your piece do you believe would align with that scene?
In the recent movie, Till, Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of the murdered young man, Emmit Till, is reviewing the train pulling into the station where her dead son is being left off of the train by the Pullman porters. When she sees the wooden box being carefully moved onto a carriage she screams, “Open the box because he can’t breathe, he can’t breathe.” This gut-wrenching and mind-bending emotional agony locates my piece, Reflections through the Windows Raindrops, at a place of utter heartstopping sadness. These qualities align with the emotionality of the movie scene and the identification of tear drops that cannot be consoled.
Classical chamber music is often associated with elegance and refinement. How do you maintain the traditional elements while infusing your compositions with modern and innovative touches?
I try to remember the elegance of the musical giants such as Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, etc, whose central success was found in the element of musical intimacy with their audiences. In my composition, Reflections through the Windows Raindrops, I wanted to convey a sense of emotional intimacy with the audience so that they could envision their personal journey through a given heartfelt situation. By staying in touch with contemporary times, I am able to recall the traditions of chamber music while still being able to draw from what is currently happening on all fronts of our current national scenarios.
Can you share a specific experience or natural phenomenon that profoundly influenced one of your compositions — either on this album or another released work? How did you translate that inspiration into your music?
In my first release with PARMA, Symphony Number One in C# Minor: Themes for Soren Kierkegaard, Movement I, I draw from the philosophical musings of the young Danish Christian philosopher who is generally known as the father of existentialism. Kierkegaard encourages us to live out one’s life without limits and without following the “herd.” From his own experience, not marrying the love of his life, Regina Olson, he lived a life of weighty regret. Thus, striving to be the quintessential “Individual,” his philosophical writings inspired me to submit a piece to that end.