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Commissioned by "One Voice" Mixed Chorus, Minneapolis, MN.
The Writings on the Wall is inspired by the book "The Writings on the Wall: Peace at the Berlin Wall" by Terry Tillman. The book centers around a collection of photographs taken at the time of the fall of the Wall in 1989.
The photographs focus on the graffiti inscribed on the Wall. Many of the inscriptions are short -- a few words or a phrase. As is typical of graffiti, the expressions range from noble affirmations of peace and freedom to personal and humorous markings. A more lengthy inscription, "The Fire of Freedom," closes the book.
The musical presentation opens with a reading of introductory comments by the author, Terry Tillman. Then, various of the short graffiti are recited by members of the chorus over ostinato patterns in the piano accompaniment. The chorus then joins together to sing "The Fire of Freedom."
Brothers and sisters of the wall
You have lit the flame.
Notes by the composer