Navona Records presents VOICES OF EARTH AND AIR VOL IV, a choral celebration of the human commonality we find within music. The works of six seasoned composers come to life here, each sharing a sentimental story unique to their composers, and demonstrating the connective qualities of the human voice. The album features composer Denice Rippentrop and her piece Royal Tears of Red.
Today, Denice is our featured artist on “The Inside Story,” a blog series exploring the inner workings and personalities of our composers and performers. Read on to learn about the consistent inspiration she draws from the ocean, and her unique comparison between chocolate and musical composition…
When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?
It was in third grade that I decided to compose music. I still can remember my first piece. It was a pop song called “Tom.” At that time, I did not know anyone named Tom, or maybe it was only one syllable word that fit my music. I must have just liked the name. First, I had to write my staff paper and then place the piece on the homemade staff paper. My pop song was full of rich, lush chords. The seventh chord dominated “Tom.” Being creative and pasting my third-grade school picture on the cover made me a star! I had no idea where this idea to compose music came from; I just knew my heart’s desire was to share music with others. I was going to be a great songwriter! As I think about this, I am amazed at how much I enjoy composing music daily. Today my message is for the listener worldwide sharing the Scriptures and a text that carries deep depth.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I love chocolate! I know I am not alone, and chocolate has such a most inviting taste for me. It is a kind of sweet that gives me satisfaction for such indulgence. I must be meticulous in how it can be used in different ways, not only in enjoying a square of chocolate but also in baking a delicious chocolate cake with a dark chocolate frosting that melts in your mouth. Chocolate chip cookies with large chocolate chunks can be enjoyed at any time of the day for me. Even at breakfast, it can give an egg a flame of character. Chocolate is like a musical composition constructed with such masterful techniques that you want to eat these brilliant cookies repeatedly. Excuse me. I must go and grab a piece of my favorite dark chocolate square. I am going to make myself some hot chocolate, too.
If you could spend creative time anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
If I could spend creative time anywhere in the world, it would be on a high cliff overlooking a roaring ocean. An ocean that is consistent in sound and movement as it tosses its raging waves against a rocky cliff. I would be in a glass-like house, so I could see the water moving across the ocean’s surface. My mind’s eye would see this dramatic scene. I see whitecaps coming across the sea in a majestic style. The sunlight would be reflecting with a blinding light. The sound of the moving waves would be music to me. The sound would be innovative to my sensitive ears. I know I would hear a melody with dissonance harmonies playing a tune. As night silently descends across the ocean’s sky, silence invades. Moon and stars continually move on their solar path, becoming brighter and brighter with a heavenly light. The waves are slowing down, creating a lullaby of beauty to my listening ears.
What was your favorite musical moment on the album?
It is hard to center on my favorite moment of Royal Tears of Red. There were so many. When the sopranos are singing “royal tears of red falling” and the altos, tenors, and basses are humming, my soul and spirit move into a different space. This occurred early in the piece, and this experience of deep peace touched me throughout the composition. With the text being so intense and still having this piece speak to me in this way, I felt a calm come over me, knowing my Lord and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, had risen and is seated at the Right Hand of the Throne of God. Meditating on this, I could not have composed the text and music if I did not know this fact. The Holy Spirit guided my thoughts as I wrote the text and moved my hand over the writing of the music. Can such an experience be repeated in my composing? I believe so.
What does this album mean to you personally?
PARMA Recordings allowed me to meet one of my writing goals. I have wanted my music to be heard worldwide, and I do not want this recognition myself but for the meaning of the text and the music itself. Anyone can listen to Royal Tears of Red and relate to the text and music; others will pass this composition by. To know I was given an avenue because of the album going worldwide, my ministry grows. It is a most rewarding experience to think of someone as far from my protected world, Argentina, Turkey, or anywhere in the world who listened to my work; it gives me great joy. The door to my ministry is opened wide, and I am most grateful and pleased. The writing continues its journey. A composer creating my own path.
Is there a specific feeling that you would like communicated to audiences in this work?
Feelings can be difficult to put into words. Even so, I wanted the listener and the performer to feel the Lord Jesus Christ’s love for them and others. To sense this powerful act of love with deep emotion of how much the Lord Jesus Christ loves and what lengths he will go to express his love for all humankind. Creating this feeling to come across in the text and music was highly challenging for me. After much thought, even before I started composing, I knew I would have to create a composition with all my skills and spiritual passion I felt deep inside my soul and mind. Did I meet this goal? In my heart, I was extremely close to meeting this goal. Only the performer and listener can really answer this question. I will probably never know the answer if others feel the passion and love the Lord Jesus Christ has for them. Maybe I am not to know, and in my mind and heart, I am OK with this.