The director of the Oregon Bach Festival asked me to create a special farewell gift for founding Artistic Director Helmuth Rilling on the occasion of his retirement after 44 years. The Festival had commissioned a choral piece by Scottish composer James MacMillan titled “Alleluia” dedicated to Mr. Rilling. The request was to create an elegant binding for the score that would allow Mr. Rilling to conduct from it if he so chose. The bound score was to be presented in a box that would also accommodate a CD of the inaugural performance.
To make the book, I created a digital rendering of the score on paper resembling the manuscript paper used by composers, preserving its handwritten impression. I commissioned calligrapher Marilyn Reaves to create gesture drawings based on conducting patterns, which were incorporated into the backing sheets of the score pages. The conducting patterns reflect the 4/4 meter of the work, also referencing Helmuth Rilling’s 44-year tenure with the Festival. The completed accordion-style binding is 17 inches high, and the pages, if fully unfolded, extend 20 feet.
The box is a traditional clamshell box in which the upper tray encloses the compact disc in a concentric ring structure resembling an amphitheater. On the exterior, I inlaid three panels of fused glass with a gingko leaf motif, by artist Susan Price. Susan, a longtime friend and supporter of the Bach Festival, wished to honor Helmuth Rilling’s work with an image symbolizing longevity, resilience, hope and peace.