The latest Two Hour Album Challenge, a community music making event where participants are given a theme to use as inspiration for a song that is composed and produced in two hours, ran from July 6th through the 10th. This is the tenth time I've contributed a song, which seems like it should be some sort of milestone represented by an epic work of some kind, maybe a big cinematic number or a complex jazz composition. I really do want to do a jazz piece for this challenge someday... Anyhow, the theme was "Monstrous", and my reaction to that was to think back to the old monster and sci-fi movies from the 1950s. As a kid, we watched "Creature Features" on Channel 2 on Saturdays, so I saw a lot of low-budget monster films. I felt like the monsters got a bad rap most of the time, to be honest. I was talking to Heather about this and she agreed, saying that most movie monsters weren't monsters until people started messing with them. Take King Kong, she said, he was doing fine in the jungle before they shipped him to New York. I wanted to write a sad song about how monsters are often created by humans, and ended up with "Requiem for a Man-Made Monster":
A requiem is music performed to honor the dead and is usually associated with a Catholic Mass for the Dead (study.com). Mozart wrote what is arguably the most famous one, Requiem in D minor. I thought it would be interesting to paint a picture of a monster's final moments using familiar cinematic elements like strings along with some electronic timbres that reminded me of those old creature features. I specifically avoided a strong sense of tempo to make it feel more like a live performance.
Two of the voiced parts in the song are taken from the text of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein":
Cursed, cursed creator! Why did I live?
There was none among the myriads of men that existed who would pity or assist me; and should I feel kindness towards my enemies? No!
The final voiced part is the first sentence of the Requiem Mass: "Requiem aeternam dona eis, Dominum" – "Eternal rest grant them, O Lord".
I really like the melodic themes I recorded as well as the repeating piano chords. I had the idea that I would work in a "Dies Irae"/death motif somewhere but that didn't end up happening. If I have any self-criticism, it's that the piece feels a little repetitive and could probably be shorter. It was a fun challenge, though, and overall I feel like I succeeded in what I set out to do.