Roger Bourland: St Stephen Counterpoint (1989)

July 1, 2009

Leonard Raver

Leonard Raver

A brief collaboration that I will never forget was receiving a commission from Juilliard faculty member and organist for the New York Philharmonic, Leonard Raver. Leonard was asked to give an inaugural concert for a new organ in a church named St Stephen Episcopal Church. Leonard suggested the notion of quoting the hymn tune “St Stephen” somewhere in the composition. You’ll hear it all over the place in “St Stephen Counterpoint.” Leonard performs this work in 1991 for an “Organists Against AIDS” concert.

Leonard Raver was to die the following year, 1992, of AIDS. Before he died, he recommended me to then Director of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Jon Bailey, to compose the work that was to become “Hidden Legacies” — a work and an experience that changed my life. I am grateful to have known Leonard, even if it were for a short time.

Listen to the performance — such energy and power and drive. This recording is from the Pipe Dreams radio series.

St Stephen Counterpoint (1989)
Music: Roger Bourland
Organ: Leonard Raver
Published by ECS Publishing, Boston
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