PHILIP RICE

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Rilke's Epitaph

SATB / 2 minutes

While I was in Kantorei, the early music ensemble at Westminster Choir College, Dr. Andrew Megill programmed a concert of works based on poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. When rehearsals started, I was immediately captivated by his poetry, and began a search of my own for a suitable text to set to music. Remarkably, his own gravestone is etched with a poem he wrote specifically for that purpose, and it resonates with a riddle-like simplicity that immediately captures the imagination is imbued with all the sentimentality that is so typical of Rilke's work. I set it to music in the original German, and Dr. Megill graciously programmed it to close the concert (which was presented in chronological order, following Rilke's life).

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Text by Rainer Maria Rilke.
Recording: Westminster Kantorei; Andrew Megill, conductor

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