Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Lawrence Loh conducting; November 11, 2020
Reflection on a Memorial contemplates the passing of a person or a tragic event and meditates on this idea. In the composition, the listener experiences grief and mourning at first as we ponder and think deeply about events past, and at a brief moment in the climax, an enlightening moment that can be seen as light through darkness and a spark of hope.
The composition is scored for string orchestra and begins with a soli for the viola section. I chose the viola section to begin this piece because of the mournful and singing character of the instrument’s sound. Also prominently featured throughout the composition are the voices of the solo violin and cello, which almost take on narrative roles; at the end, a solo cello reprises the viola line heard the beginning as a final mournful statement.
There are 4 distinct sections in the piece: a somber, melancholy beginning, then a faster, tragic outburst of grief, followed by a calmer reflective passage, which feature hopeful yet intense chords that build up to a light infused climax. This is all brought together with a coda that is a faint memory of an earlier section of the piece, which becomes distant and fades into the abyss.
Another one of my ‘open interpretation’ compositions, this piece can be used to commemorate any event or person, so that it may be performed in a variety of situations.
— Quinn Mason
The evening’s highlight was a stunning performance of Quinn Mason’s 2020 “Reflections on a Memorial,” a somber piece exploring feelings of grief and mourning. While perhaps an unconventional choice for a Fourth of July-themed family concert – the annual outdoor Independence Day Stern Grove show had the same program — it felt particularly suitable following a year of unfathomable loss.
Mason, in attendance, shook hands with conductor Edwin Outwater and received a well-deserved round of applause.