I was in my upper west side apartment late on a Sunday evening...probably watching TV. A special bulletin came over - that John Lennon had been shot outside his apartment building, 11 blocks from where I sat. It was confirmed that he had been pronounced dead at Roosevelt Hospital around 11:30, December 8, 1980. He had lost 80% of his blood. One of the largest figures in music, and for years now, in the peace movement, had been assassinated by some smirking little creep - just like President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy. Stunned and in disbelief I said aloud to no one, "I have just heard the news...of another saint..."

The next day, I and countless mourners gathered on the streets outside the Dakota. It was quiet. The feeling was of despairing emptiness, tragic sadness, drift. When I returned home at dusk, I sat down at the piano and began the ostinato of which this piece begins. The right hand took the words, "I have just heard the news..." and made them music. I cried a lot over the keyboard that evening.

In the Aria Gratias, I have tried to express the sadness of this event. I also wanted to try to show what John may have been experiencing as his life slipped away from him, and from us. When the life force is moving from the body it reaches toward the familiar it recalls from being in spirit. The brain is thinking,  perhaps, "I'm gonna be ok", or "I think I'm gonna die." These thoughts become fainter, and the fear fades too - because the soul knows exactly where it is going. How can there be any doubt when it is being pulled forward, surrounded by incomprehensible loving light. So there are many moments in the Aria that are not sad at all.

John Lennon was certainly no saint. But he and Yoko Ono belonged to that part of humanity that strives for a world of peace, driven by the principles of divine love. This is our heritage, our spiritual DNA, existing in us all. It is our legacy - believing that it is possible for us to yet create a heaven on earth. And so it shall be. Imagine that.

The Aria Gratias was originally written for Piano. It was scored for Piano & Strings in August, 2015.


Lachrymosa

Fisher

The Lachrymosa is arranged for chamber orchestra, soprano and alto. In this recording the vocal lines are synthesized "ahs" - a composer's standard practice when your budget doesn't allow female singers and a recording studio! Upon editing it for the website I discovered it was the genesis for the much-later written "Mary of Nazareth" movement from The Madrigals of Mary Magdalen.

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  1. 1 Lachrymosa 15:53 Free
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On those many bus rides from South Jersey to New York I always looked to the large landfill to the right of the turnpike before exit 16E and the birds (primarily seagulls) that tirelessly scavenged from its abundance. How the frenzied feathered multitudes avoided collision fascinated me. And so, yes, the "on winge" section of this piece was inspired by garbage-eating birds! But it was their perpetual movement, agility, and grace that is the truth of this observation. I believe it was a mockingbird, singing it's mournful solo in the nighttime trees around our house that so captivated and moved me in the more sedate "night song" portion. Alas, I have never heard such a song since.


 
I - Pine Forest -  You are walking through a deep pine forest. You move silently, for the ground is covered by soft pine needles. It is warm and the scent of pine permeates, relaxing you. Rays of sunlight bolt through the canopy. You are peaceful and secure, and timeless.
II - Snowfall - A singular snowflake is formed in the high night sky. More crystals are born, populating the air. Individual molecules combine to create a deep, curvaceous snow blanket. How can this be?
III - Wind on Water - Wind and wave play. They join and part. They are individual, and are air and water. They are one, and are waves. It is endless.
IV - Ionosphere - The solar wind propulses against the earth. The highest miles of our atmosphere indulge the atoms and radiation. It is frenetic and unpredictable. It is unimaginable. It is creation.
V - Cloud Shadows - The clouds move over the earth, casting their shadows upon the land. Their projections are rapid, or lumbering. I want to capture them. But the clouds and their shadows are not solid. Even as they paint the earth and sky, they cannot be caught.

The Preludes are dedicated to harpist Carol McClure.




The Cloud's Tale

Fisher

The Cloud's Tale is a one-movement symphonic work. There are so many elements that go into the making of a cloud. This is the story of a cloud that was born over the Rocky Mountains - what it experiences and sees as it moves eastward across America and out over the Atlantic.

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  1. 1 The Cloud's Tale 16:10 Free
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Trio di Ricordi

Fisher

The 3-movement Trio is for flute, cello and piano. This recording was taken in concert at Bruno Walter Auditorium, Lincoln Center, New York. Flute: Susan Lund. Cello: Anna Cholakian. Piano: Tim Hester

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  1. 1 I-Animato II-Dolce III-Perpetua 31:37 Free
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AD - A Symphony of the Apocalypse (audio only)

Susan Fisher

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  1. 1 01 - In the Grotto 07:21
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  2. 2 02 - Awake. Arise. I Need You. 06:49
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  3. 3 03 - Encampment 06:30
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  4. 4 04 - Night of Love 03:20
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  5. 5 05 - The Liars' Lair 08:47
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  6. 6 06 - Transcendence 06:17
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  7. 7 07 - Eve of Souls 03:21
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  8. 8 08 - The Last Battle 07:52
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  9. 9 09 - Dies Dei 08:43
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  10. 10 10 - The Way of the World 05:01
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Additional track samples




We Pray for Peace
S,S,A,T,B 
choral, unaccompanied. 
Free audio download.

Score available for purchase.
 
We Pray for Peace (score)

We Pray for Peace (score)

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Son
gs of Love & Devotion
9 Songs for Voice with
Instrumental Accompaniment

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