"Tired of Silence": Andrew Lippa's Track-By-Track Journey Through His Oratorio I Am Harvey Milk

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29 Jun 2014

11. "Leap":

Though written for the soprano and the chorus, this is actually something I think Harvey might have said. He certainly seemed like someone who did leap before he looked. I particularly love this movement. Perhaps it's the rhythm of the accompaniment that gets me going. Perhaps it's the idea of forging ahead in spite of the odds. Perhaps it's because it’s the only movement with a large section in a 3/2 time signature.

12. "Tired of Silence":

I knew, early on, I wanted to end the piece this way. I wanted the words "Come out!" to be the last words of the piece. When I was writing, it occurred to me that Harvey never stopped saying these words nor did he ever stop demanding every gay person come out. I decided to keep repeating it and, when that section begins, the accompaniment is a version of the opening theme "I want my life to be an operatic masterpiece" under the repeated words "come out."

This movement brings together all the performers for the only time in the oratorio and, when they enter, the soprano and boy soloists sing reprises of the movements they sang earlier (the soprano sings from "Was I Wrong?" and the boy sings from "An Operatic Masterpiece") while the chorus and Harvey sing about all the people we (the listener) should come out to. Eventually, the singers all join together on the final "come out" section and end on a triumphant, a cappella chord in D major. Why a cappella? It's a musical way of saying "all we need is us. We, our voices, our clear message, is all we need." Why D major? Because the oratorio begins in D major and it's my way of suggesting that we end as we begin, we are what we are from a very young age. Harvey, though he changed greatly through life, was always Harvey, always had his passions and his foibles. Starting and ending in the same key but with very different pieces of music feels like the connection I feel right now, as I approach 50, to my childhood self.

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