by Grisha Krivchenia
For Solo Piano, Late Intermediate, 5 Pages
I often play “Farewell Song” as the final piece on a recital program or as an encore. However, I gave the premiere (without announcing it as such) at a funeral on San Juan Island, Washington.
In May 2012, I was hired to play the piano at the memorial service of Ryan Ochoa. Ryan was a beloved young man in my community. His death at the age of twenty was unexpected, and some of his family and friends were overwhelmed with grief.
I spoke to the Ochoa Family about the music I would play before, during, and after the service. We came to an understanding that I would begin with very somber music, to allow people to connect with their grief. As the service proceeded, the music would gradually become more uplifting and optimistic. My role was to guide Ryan's friends and family into mourning, then through and beyond it. The process would not be completed in a single service, but at least we could show the terrain of grief and the path through it.
As I reviewed the pieces in my classical repertoire, I found that I had plenty of somber music and plenty of uplifting music. However, I lacked the proper transition. I needed a piece that began in mourning and moved towards acceptance and celebration. So I composed “Farewell Song” a few days before the funeral. It was positioned in the service just before the congregation sang the hymn “Amazing Grace.”
“Farewell Song” has become one of my most popular pieces over the years. Fans and students often request the score, and I am delighted that Abundant Silence has made “Farewell Song” available to a wider group of pianists and music lovers by publishing the sheet music.