My award-winning work for Good Friday is being performed at my church this coming Good Friday, April 3, 2015 at 11am. Nou Goth Sonne Under Wode is a 30' work for actor, soprano soloist, chorus and orchestra that I completed in 2005. For this presentation I am re-scoring the orchestral part for smaller instrumental forces. Our choir is combining with the voices of St. Andrew's United, Bloor Street to make up a chorus of forty singers for this occasion. We are honoured to add some extraordinary soloists, and fine performers for this special event, which will be conducted by Maestro Robert Cooper, one of Canada's best-known conductors and choral personalities.
Friday, April 3, 2015 11am
Rosedale Presbyterian Church, 129 Mount Pleasant Road, Toronto
The Choir of Rosedale Presbyterian Church, Toronto, Allan Bevan, conductor
The Choir of St. Andrew's United Church, Toronto, Mark Ruhnke, conductor
Timothy Anderson, actor
Melanie Paul Tanovich, soprano
Allan Bevan, organ and ensemble of players from the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra
Robert Cooper, C.M., conductor
Quite a few of my choral works are published by a smaller outfit in the greater Vancouver area. The company is managed by a rather amazing music lover and Renaissance man by the name of Peter Rohloff. Mr. Rohloff has made many contributions to music in the Vancouver area over the years as a choral singer, music editor, string player, and conductor. His company publishes a steadily growing catalogue of choral music by primarily western Canadian arrangers and composers. Some of the names represented by classica include the stellar British Columbia composers Ramona Luengen, Larry Nickel, Stephen Smith, and Leslie Uyeda (among others). I met Mr. Rohloff when I was living in Calgary and our composer/publisher association has been a long and happy one ever since Harp of Wild was published in 2004. Mr. Rohloff deserves a great deal of credit for the detail, legibility, and affordability of his scores but also for his willingness to take a chance on music that he believes in, regardless of the music's chance of profitability. I encourage you to support his efforts and those of the many fine Canadian composers that his company represents. Check out the company's website: www.classica.ca
Below is a list of my compositions published by classica through 2011. The brief descriptions are taken from the rear cover of my award-winning The Lost Lagoon for SATB and piano on the poetry of the Mohawk poet E. Pauline Johnson. In the late-nineteenth century Johnson garnered a world-wide reputation as a literary figure. She spent the last years of her life in Vancouver, famously paddling her canoe around The Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park.
We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.
My No Mortal Business was a co-commission of Chorus Niagara, The Richard Eaton Singers, and the Vancouver Bach Choir. It was first performed by Geraint Wyn-Davies, actor, Johanne Ansell, soprano, Chorus Niagara, the Toronto Orpheus Choir, and the Talisker Players, conducted by Robert Cooper in St. Catharines, ON, and Toronto in 2012.
It is a large-scale choral/orchestral work with text by Shakespeare, and although it wasn't originally intended as an anniversary work it strikes me as something that would be very suitable for any 2016 concert program wishing to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the death of the bard.
No Mortal Business features an important part for an actor who is known in the score as "the prologue". In Shakespeare's time the prologue gave short speeches providing necessary historical background or plot advancement. The part of "Chorus" in Shakespeare's Henry V is the bard's best example, and I admit to being influenced by Derek Jacobi's wonderful portrayal in Kenneth Branagh's film of this play. The prologue in No Mortal Business speaks only the words of the bard but his lines are extracted from many of his plays and sonnets and reassembled in a way that provides a possible vision of the actor himself in his final years. What emerged in this lengthy process of research and (respectful) re-creation was a vision of a mighty talent who was plagued by self-doubt, frustrated by the stress of life as a struggling artist and consumed by the thought of his impending death. In No Mortal Business, Shakespeare's words become haunting 'soliloquies' appearing between the choral numbers and also over and above the music that I have composed. The role of the prologue in No Mortal Business is challenging, as it requires an actor who is capable of portraying a wide range of emotion, is familiar with the Elizabethan stage, and has enough musical background to stay in sync with chorus and orchestra.
The part for the soprano soloist is dramatic in nature too - she portrays the Angel of Death who sings alternatively comforting and disquieting words that resonate deeply in the soul of the prologue and stir reaction from the actor, the chorus, and the chamber orchestra.
No Mortal Business is in five 'Acts' and is thirty-five minutes of intense, non-stop musico-dramatic action. It contains substantial choruses intended for a large mixed-voice ensemble, most of whose text comes from Shakespeare's final play, The Tempest (e.g. new settings of Full Fathom Five, The Cloud-Capp'd Towers, and Where the Bee Sucks) but there is also snippets of ancient plainchant (In Paradisum, Requiem Aeternum) and a powerful new Kyrie Eleison. The latter liturgical passages reflect the fact that Shakespeare was born into a Catholic family and that he was a noted recusant (one who refused to attend services of the protestant Church of England), as well as an author well-versed in the questions of faith.
Full score, vocal score, and parts are available thru the Canadian Music Centre. Contact the composer for further details.