A father’s meaningful memorial to his son

Jordan McFaull

Rod McFaull, of Ft. Mitchell, wanted to make a lasting memorial to his son, Jordan, who died tragically at age 26 in 2015 of complications from diabetes. Jordan, who had just finished his first year practicing maritime law in New Orleans, loved classical music. He studied viola with Dorotea Vismara Hoffman at CCM Prep, at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. McFaull decided that a fitting tribute to his son would be to commission a new string quartet in his memory.

On Nov. 15, Kyle Werner’s String Quartet No. 2, “In Memory,” was given its world premiere at CCM.

McFaull participated closely with the CCM-trained composer in its creation, sharing memories and qualities of Jordan as Kyle wrote the piece.

“One outstanding quality was Jordan’s ability to relate deeply to others, what the philosopher Martin Buber calls an ‘I-Thou’ relationship,” McFaull said. “What is intriguing is that Kyle, in developing his musical ideas for the various instruments, explores this idea of self in relation to others.”

Kyle Werner 1
CCM-trained composer Kyle Werner, center, with Jordan’s father, Rod McFaull, and mother Lynnette Guzzino, right, and Jordan’s brother John, left, flanked by quartet members.

Werner, who used the cello to represent Jordan, describes his work as “a meditation on birth, life, loss, remembrance, and hope.” It is multi-layered, and its form is driven by the cello’s interactions with the other instruments, both as individuals and as a group, he explained.

“Rod desired that this piece would embody the multifaceted experience of Jordan’s life: The light and dark, the joys and struggles, love and conflicts,” Werner said.

For McFaull, the performance of Kyle’s music “spoke to my heart and Jordan’s spirit.” There were moments, he said, when he could sense specific dialogues.

Composer Kyle Werner speaks about his piece. The members of the Quartet are: First violin, Danqi Zeng,  Second violin, Liam Gibb, viola, Nathaniel Sendi and cello, Lucas Song. Photo provided

“In the interplay between cello and the other strings there was a definite dialogue that spoke to Jordan’s joys, frustrations and insecurities. My overarching feeling is that Kyle was able to capture Jordan’s ability to relate to others on a very deep spiritual level that could be transformative,” he said.

“This music is such a beautiful evocation of my son’s spirit, that even a stranger with a discerning ear would at some deep level have a sense of who Jordan is.”

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