Requiescat, the last track of Henry's new album, At That Hour: Art Songs by Henry Dehlinger, releases today with text by the iconic poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde and sung by bass-baritone Kerry Wilkerson. Click here to listen.
Henry has always been a fan of Wilde, the writer of such works as The Picture of Dorian Gray and comic masterpieces, Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest.
Wilde wrote it seven years after his sister Isola died in 1867, less than two months before her 10th birthday. Wilde was 12 at the time of her death and later made regular visits to her grave. Isola's doctor recalled that Wilde's "lonely and inconsolable grief" sought relief in "long and frequent visits to his sister's grave in the village cemetery."
Fittingly subtitled A "Wilde" Stride, it is rendered using a stride piano accompaniment reminiscent of Henry's arrangement of Duke Ellington's Come Sunday. It is sung by bass-baritone Kerry Wilkerson. Kerry's voice combines the amber tone of a lyric baritone with the imposing weight demanded by low-lying writing, such as in Handel's oratorios. Kerry has also sung every genre of music, from opera and classical to jazz and pop.
In the weeks leading up to recording, Kerry experimented with the closing line. It’s a jazzy, downward progression of four dominant ninth chords accompanying four syllables, Re-qui-es-cat. When the Eureka! moment struck, Kerry was all jazz hands. “You’ve got to think Kelsey Grammer,” Kerry explained, “Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs!”