I was extremely moved when I first saw "The Quilt," an ambitious interweaving of several thousand fabric panels, each memorializing a person who had died of AIDS, and, most importantly, each designed and constructed by his or her loved ones. This made me want to memorialize in music those I had lost, and to reflect on those I was still losing. The result was my Symphony No. 1 (commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra), the third movement of which fuses a tense and heartbroken poem by my friend and collaborator (The Cloisters, the Ghosts of Versailles), the poet and playwright William M. Hoffman, to a litany of names of men lost to AIDS.
Of Rage and Remembrance is a reimagining of that movement as a ritual for community chorus. In it, AIDS is not only context but also content: Of Rage and Remembrance cannot be performed abstractly, as just another piece in the choral repertoire. Its audience is not really the audience for choral music; its audience is the community blighted by AIDS. That it now attracts a larger audience is beside the point: rarely has posterity seemed so irrelevant to me.
– John Corigliano