Episode 18 - Stewart Copeland

Episode 18 welcomes 5-time Grammy winning drummer and composer Stewart Copeland (website) to unravel his latest composition, the oratorio Satan’s Fall, ahead of its VocalEssence premiere

In this episode, brother Chris steps in for Tim as Philip and Stewart discuss the intricacies of the source text, Milton’s epic Paradise Lost. Stewart says, “Once you work your way past all the similes, the language that’s still there is very powerful.” Perfect material, then, to feature the choir. And in Satan’s Fall, “Choir is boss,” confirms Stewart. 

As for composing, “The most important thing in any piece of music is rhythm,” notes Philip. “That’s it. It starts with rhythm. I always say (to a choir), ‘You’ve got just three things to deal with... you’ve got rhythm, notes, and words... and you learn them in that order.’” The trio discuss the commissioning process, writing specifically for choir and Stewart’s hope to perhaps, someday, compose two new Acts to bookend Satan’s Fall.  


Thanks to Cody Boudrot for engineering!

Photo credit: Ali Rogers/Pranalens (website)

Music in this episode:

Opening montage is a collection of VocalEssence and Plymouth Church choir moments plus Philip Brunelle on organ and conducting orchestra.

The closing moment (source) is a segment from Act I of Stewart Copeland’s Satan’s Fall from Milton’s “Paradise Lost” performed by The Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburg, Matthew Mahaffey conducting; God (bass Hayden Keefer), Satan (bass Scott O’Neal) narrators, Raphael (tenor Nathan Granner), Raphaella (soprano Jamie Chamberlin) and the Messiah (soprano Stephanie Sue Curtice).