Jeff Beal's latest recording, 'The Salvage Men,' by the Eric Whitacre Singers
26th January 2016
Jeff Beal reflects on THE SALVAGE MEN
The piece, with texts by Pulitzer Prize-winner Kay Ryan and by Oscar Wilde, came after Beal discovered Wilde's letter De Profundis as he worked on the soundtrack for Al Pacino's documentary, "Wilde Salomé."
"De Profundis (from the depths) is the poignant letter Wilde wrote from prison, reflecting on the horrors of imprisonment, the nature of human suffering and our chosen response. Wilde's choice was to write," observed Beal.
Shortly before reading De Profundis, Beal had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), an often disabling and painful disease of the central nervous system. Wilde's descriptions of suffering hit home. "The lyrical beauty of De Profundis gave me the original impetus for a choral work," said Beal. "His words provided an entry point into this meditation on suffering and catharsis. However, it was in the poetry of Kay Ryan I found a wholly fresh, contemporary view on the themes of transformation and our chosen response to pain."
The Eric Whitacre Singers premiered The Salvage Men in March 2015; the Los Angeles Master Chorale followed with the US premiere in November. The choral score is available for sale as print-on-demand.