Perish, The Thought - A Memorial Day Weekend Concert - David Harris, Composer

Contact: David Harris
Phone: 303-803-4682

Friday, April 24, 2009


A Memorial Day weekend concert interpreting the meaning of death for life.

Lafayette, Colo.— “And as to you Death, it is idle to try to alarm me,” Walt Whitman exclaimed and inspired others to contemplate what death really means in regard to life. David Harris, Composer, has been pondering this question as of late diving deep into the worlds of poetry, prose, and art to formulate his own thoughts and feelings on this subject. The result is the world premiere of his latest musical compositions in a Memorial Day weekend concert entitled Perish, The Thought. The concert will premiere the cantata The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew, the choral cycle The Frail Stag and his first String Quartet.

On Friday, May 22nd at First Congregational Church of Boulder (1128 Pine Street, Boulder, CO), 7:30 pm and Saturday, May 23rd at Christ Church Episcopal Denver (2950 South University Avenue, Denver, CO). 7:30 pm, David Harris focuses on mortality and ways that people have attempted to reconcile life’s brevity. “I have collected ideas posited by poets, artists and religious treatises. The music acts as a vehicle for the concepts found in these documents, and through it, I intermingle my own reflections. Though a heavy topic, the outcome is one of hope, and the music contains energy and vibrancy,” says Harris.

Both The Frail Stag and The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew found their inspiration in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Upper West Side annex, The Cloisters. The cantata began in the chant “Apostolo Beato” found in The Florence Laurdario (book of chants) that The Cloisters has on display.

The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew
explores the ubiquitous complexities surrounding death by juxtaposing texts from modern poets and ancient religious documents. Particularly, the texts wrestle with the nobility that humans often assign to death and the manner of one's dying. They reflect on what meaning these matters can ascribe to life, and they ponder the definition of life, whether one can be living and yet dead (a popular secular and religious sentiment). The music engages the audience through lyrical melody with rhythmic and harmonic layering. It is immediately accessible, but challenges the listener beyond the immediate, opening aural opportunities for novice and expert alike.

The Frail Stag was inspired by a 16th-century French tapestry bearing the allegory of a stag hunt, one that depicts human mortality. In the tapestry, Old Age hunts the stag (mankind) with the help of her hounds whose names are grief, anxiety, fear, cold, heat and toil.

The Frail Stag for chorus is in three movements. The first bears the tapestry's text that describes the activity in the foreground image that represents the end of life. The second movement is from the poem “Pense Morir” by Pablo Neruda and reflects adulthood’s principle challenge, the quest for meaning and love. “And a little child will lead them” from the Hebrew prophet Isaiah finishes the set. Harris explains,“Instead of a focus on loathing, the choral cycle, in contrast to the tapestry, suggests that life springs from death, and that perspective offers relief from the pain of aging.”

String Quartet, David Harris' first string quartet, takes its departure from the text printed on “The Hunt of the Frail Stag” tapestry, with each of the movements named for one of the dogs who attack the stag. By extension, the music stirs thoughts of mortality and time. Moments of untroubled beauty mingle with fast-paced textural conflict.

Perish, The Thought features the Rocky Mountain Chamber Singers, a string quartet of the Boulder Philharmonic (Gyongver Petheo, Annamaria Karacson, Matthew Dane and Marcelo Sanches), in addition to Elizabeth Caswell Dyer, soprano, Marta Burton, mezzo, Ryan Connell on organ and David Harris conducting.

Marta Burton, mezzo-soprano for Perish, The Thought, describes why she is delighted to be performing another David Harris composition, “David Harris’ settings are ravishing in their emotional impact--the complexities of harmony and rhythm serve the poetry, ultimately revealing the depth of the language through his sensitive and fearless renderings. He writes beautifully for the voice, allowing the singers to bring their own color and vitality to the work. It is an absolute joy to sing and hear his music.”

For tickets to see Perish, The Thought, $10 GA, purchase with a credit card at or purchase with check or cash at the door.

For more information about David Harris, Composer/Conductor and Perish, The Thought, please view his website at

Perish, The Thought - Event Details
What: Perish, The Thought
When: Friday, May 22nd and Saturday, May 23rd, 7:30 pm for both performances
Where: Friday, May 22nd at First Congregational Church of Boulder (1128 Pine Street, Boulder, CO)
Saturday, May 23rd at Christ Church Episcopal Denver (2950 South University Avenue, Denver, CO)
General Admission Information: $10 GA
Purchase Tickets: Purchase with a credit card at or purchase with check or cash at the door.

Views: 69


You need to be a member of MyTown Colorado to add comments!

Join MyTown Colorado



Milestones are back up! You can submit and view engagements, wedding, anniversaries and birth announcements at Prairie Mountain Media's Milestones form. Obituaries can also be found at at



© 2020   Created by Matt Flood.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service