Sunday, March 25, 2012
I'll Have My Bourbon With Richard Burchard
My cousin Richard Burchard is, if I may say, a brilliant composer. Of this I have proof, even if I'm not sure we're related. Yesterday morning I heard the 2012 California All-State High School choir rehearse Richard's new a cappella choral piece, "Ubi Caritas," at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena. So many beautiful voices united to sing such gorgeous music made my eyes water, for some odd reason. (Full disclosure: I heard them sing "Ubi Caritas" in a basement choir room, but the sanctuary makes a more impressive photo.)
During the rehearsal, Richard had a chance to take questions from the kids in the choir. What an opportunity for everyone, when you think about it. It was great for Richard because he got to tell them about his process, let them know why he wrote what he wrote. They got to ask why he chose a particular chord progression or why he didn't use super low bass tones (so choirs without super-low bass singers could perform it). One young man asked which classical composer Richard would most like to have a beer with. ("I'm from Kentucky, can it be bourbon?") If I remember correctly, he chose Handel. You don't get to have a conversation like that with Bach or Mendelssohn. I'll bet they'd have loved to have taken the microphone to talk to those talented kids but they wouldn't have been nearly as entertaining.
Richard heads back to Louisville today. "I can always be at a premiere," he says. Considering his works have premiered in places like Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal, I don't blame him for wanting to make the trip. But I'm hoping for more premieres around here, too. That way he'll be back soon.