I would like to share with you a wonderful recording of my Full Fathom Five (TTBB piano) from the Chor Leoni Composition Competition of 2019. I spent three great days in Vancouver with the choir as part of the competition. As the winning piece in the competition Full Fathom Five was awarded a Barbara Pentland Composition Prize for Outstanding Composition by the Canadian Music Centre, British Columbia region.
My thanks to Erich Lichte and Chor Leoni for the inspiring C4 Composition Competition and for the use of this fine recording!
Full Fathom Five is to be released by Cypress Choral Music in the summer of 2020. They will publish both versions of the work: TTBB voices and piano, and SATB voices and piano.
The text is from The Tempest:
Full fathom five thy father lies,
Of his bones are coral made,
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell.
Hark! Now I hear them: ding, dong, bell.
I’m pleased to say that my Harp of Wild is now published (spring 2020) by Cypress Choral Music (CP 1862) of Vancouver. This winning piece of the ACCC 2003-2004 Choral Composition Competition was previously published by classica music. Harp of Wild was first performed at Podium 2004 by the National Youth Choir, Timothy Shantz conducting. It is set for women’s voices and piano. It is also possible to use a harp in place of the piano accompaniment (a harp part is available ).
The text is by Emily Jane Brontë (1818-1848) of “Wuthering Heights” fame:
Harp of wild and dream-like strain,
When I touch thy strings,
Why dost thou repeat again
Harp, in other earlier days,
I could sing to thee;
And not one of all my lays
Vexed my memory.
But now, if I awake a note
That gave me joy before,
Sounds of sorrow from thee float,
Yet, still steeped in memory’s dyes,
They come sailing on,
Darkening all my summer skies,
Shutting out my sun.
Further details, a sample score and a fine recording of the work by Elektra Women’s Choir can be found here:
A beautiful photo capturing the first performance of Ancient of Days, on April 15th, 2019. Much thanks to all who helped make this concert possible. It was such an honour and a pleasure working with and for such an inspiring group of musicians.
I would like to recommend one my recent publications with Cypress Choral Music, Vancouver, (CP1490). The work is scored for SATB and piano and sets a poem by one of my favourite poets, Rupert Brooke (1887-1915).
The recording below is by the Saskatoon Chamber Singers, James Hawn, conductor. This fine choir commissioned the work and first performed it at their annual Remembrance Day concert in 2016. The poem is also fitting for nature or Spring concert themes.
Click to listen from the Cypress Soundcloud here:
View the score: here
ALL suddenly the wind comes soft,
And Spring is here again;
And the hawthorn quickens with buds of green,
And my heart with buds of pain.
My heart all Winter lay so numb
The earth so dead and frore,
That I never thought the Spring would come,
Or my heart wake any more.
But Winter’s broken and earth has woken,
And the small birds cry again;
And the hawthorn hedge puts forth its buds,
And my heart puts forth its pain.
I would like to express my gratitude to Robert Cooper and everyone at Chorus Niagara and Toronto Orpheus Choir for the outstanding performances of my new work (Last Light) for chorus, soloists, and orchestra on November 4 and 5 respectively. Cannot imagine how it could have been better! Singers, players, soloists, narrators, all superb! All in all, a composer's dream!
Above: Soloists, players, and Chorus Niagara on stage at Partridge Hall, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, St. Catharines. Photo courtesy of Chorus Niagara.
Below: Soloists, narrators, players, and Toronto Orpheus Choir, Robert Cooper conducting, on stage at Grace Church on-the-Hill, Toronto. Photo credit: Tony Bock, courtesy of Toronto Orpheus Choir.
Chorale Saint-Jean of Edmonton, directed by Dr. Laurier Fagnan is in Ottawa to participate in the Canada 150 celebrations. This fine francophone ensemble for which I have done many works for over the years is singing at a number of events over the holiday weekend. Among the many things the choir is doing is presenting their own stand-alone concert entitled J'Appartiens, on Sunday evening July 2. The concert is named after my arrangement of Dr. France Levasseur-Ouimet's lovely bilingual song written especially for the occasion. Congratulations Chorale Saint-Jean!
Listen at the Cypress Choral Music Soundcloud here:
http://cypresschoral.com/PDF/SampleCP1502.pdfAllan Bevan's award-winning Passion Oratorio, Nou Goth Sonne Under Wode (2005) is released in a smaller orchestra version requiring only seven players. The full score is now available from classica Music Publishers. A very successful Carnegie Hall premiere with this new version in March 2016.
Stars for SA and piano on an inspiring text by Canadian poet Marjorie Pickthall is now available from Santa Barbara Music Press (SBMP 1398). This accessible work (good for graduation exercises) was commissioned by the Branksome Hall Chamber Choir, Toronto. More information about Stars at SBMP. You can view and download a perusal score at this link.
All Suddenly the Wind for SATB and piano on a poem by Edwardian poet Rupert Brooke (see elsewhere on this Blog for more on this piece). This piece was commissioned by the Saskatoon Chamber Singers and first performed by them at their Remembrance Day concert in 2015.
View and listen to the score at Cypress Choral Music CP 1490. The text isn't restricted to Remembrance as it could provide a different perspective for spring concerts. See below in this Blog for further comments on the premiere.
Sweet Trees That Shade This Mould of Earth for SSA and piano on a text translated from the original Spanish by James Mabbe, a contemporary of Shakespeare's. This will be my first original composition to be published by Rhythmic Trident Music Publishing of Vancouver (they also publish my three arrangements of Danny Boy).
J'appartiens (I Belong) for SATB and piano (CP 1502) and SSA and piano (CP 1524). This is the latest collaboration between France Levasseur-Ouimet and Allan Bevan on a commission from Chorale Saint-Jean, Edmonton. The text is a bilingual French-English combination written especially for the choir's use at Canada 150 celebrations in 2017. Lots of performances of this piece coming this year. Check it out here: http://cypresschoral.com/PDF/SampleCP1502.pdf
Sincere thanks to all involved in the fantastic performance at Trinity St. Pauls on April 23 (400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death to the very day)! Prologue Geraint Wyn-Davies, soprano Maeve Palmer, the Toronto Orpheus Choir, the Talisker Players, and conductor Robert Cooper were superb. A big thanks to the stage and managerial staff too. The lighting (a first in this performance) was very effective and dramatic. Thank you all for your superlative interpretative skills! It was truly a night to remember.
A thrilling excerpt from the final part of the performance can be accessed here: www.orpheuschoirtoronto.com/blog-media/media/
Saturday, April 23rd, 7:30 PM
Trinity St. Paul's Centre, 427 Bloor Street West
Pre-Concert Chat with Robert Cooper, Geraint Wyn-Davies and Allan Bevan begins at 6:45.
Revel in the genius of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and sonnets through words, music and song featuring Stratford Festival star Geraint Wyn Davies. Orpheus’ season Finale spotlights the choral-drama No Mortal Business, a stirring and visionary creation by Canadian composer Allan Bevan, inspired by The Tempest and performed on the 400th Anniversary of the death of the Bard.
Under the artistic direction of Robert Cooper, the Orpheus Choir of Toronto will be joined by The Talisker Players and actor Geraint Wyn Davies – blending the best known songs and prose from Shakespeare’s final literary masterpiece into a rich, lyrical, multi-dimensional performance.
Attended a fantastic performance of my No Mortal Business at the Winspear Centre for Music, Edmonton, on March 13, 2016. It was a real pleasure to be back in Alberta and to experience such fine singing, playing, and acting. Special thanks to Sarah Schaub, soprano, Timothy Anderson, actor, the Richard Eaton Singers, and the RES Chamber Orchestra, all led by Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff. Hearty congratulations to all!
Further information on this composition can be found in past blog entries below.
My thanks to all the singers, players, Jolaine Kerley, soprano, Timothy Anderson, actor, and to conductor Richard Sparks for the incredible performance of Nou Goth Sonne Under Wode in New York on March 7, 2016 in a concert entitled Between Heaven and Earth. Carnegie Hall is a unique and beautiful place for making music and it was a very memorable night. Thanks to Iris Derke, and all the great folks at DCINY who assisted in making Between Heaven and Earth possible.
If you are in the greater Vancouver area the weekend of March 18-20, 2016 take in the B.C. premiere of my Nou Goth Sonne Under Wode. The choirs of Trinity Western University, Vancouver, directed by Dr. Joel Tranquilla will perform the original version (full orchestra) of the work on the Friday evening in Surrey, and the Saturday evening in Abbotsford.
...and then, in dreaming, The clouds methought would open and show riches Ready to drop upon me that,
when I waked, I cried to dream again.
William Shakespeare - The Tempest
If you are in Edmonton in February you are invited to take in what promises to be a spectacular event at one of Canada's greatest concert halls.
Monday, 22 February 2016, 7:30 pm
Francis Winspear Centre for Music, Edmonton
Mozart “Requiem” & Bevan “Nou Goth” A send-off concert… prior to Edmonton Metropolitan Chorus’s performance in New York City’s Carnegie Hall
Allan Bevan “Nou Goth Sonne under Wode”
Edmonton Metropolitan Chorus
David Garber, Artistic Director
i Coristi Chamber Choir
Rob Curtis, Music Director
Edmonton Metropolitan Orchestra
Danielle Lisboa, Artistic Director
Tony Olivares Dance
Tony Olivares, Artistic Director
2J Pantoja, Head Instructor
Jolaine Kerley, soprano; Mireille Rijavec, alto
RJ Chambers, tenor; David McCune, bass
Timothy J. Anderson, actor
Jeremy Spurgeon, organ
The second concert in our 2015-2016 subscription series is the result of an incredible invitation that EdMetro Chorus received… to perform in New York City’s legendary Carnegie Hall. Prior to the Carnegie Hall debut, Edmonton Metropolitan Chorus presents this special concert Edmonton’s Winspear Centre for Music.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart “Requiem”, conducted by Danielle Lisboa
One of the classical music’s most beloved compositions, written by a 35-year old musical genius – unfortunately, uncompleted at the time of his death in 1791. A unique feature of this performance will be the placement of the alto, tenor and bass trombones in the Choir Loft – with their respective choral singers. Nearly 200 performers: two choirs, orchestra, organ, dancers, athletes, soloists.
This performance of Mozart “Requiem” will feature choreography by Tony Olivares, Artistic Director of Tony Olivares Dance. Tony, along with 12 male dancers and athletes, will be presenting the WORLD DEBUT of a new NEW dance form, “ModaKour”… the blending of the grace and strength of Modern Dance with the agility and athleticism of Parkour. A must see!
Allan Bevan “Nou Goth Sonne Under Wode”, conducted by Rob Curtis
At its world premiere in 2005, presented by Pro Coro Canada, and conducted by Richard Sparks, this modern masterwork received an overwhelming and ecstatic response from the sold-out Winspear audience. Witness the recreation of this modern masterwork, which Edmonton Metropolitan Chorus will be performing a few weeks later in Carnegie Hall.
Tickets available on-line from TIX on the Square.Orchestra Level $25; Terrace $30; Dress Circle $35; Upper Circle $20
This concert is made possible through a generous grant from the Edmonton Community Foundation.
The Canadian Chamber Choir, (Dr. Julia Davids, Conductor, Dr. Joel Tranquilla, Associate conductor) has released their new recording Sacred Reflections of Canada - A Canadian Mass recently, and what a fine recording it is!
Seventeen Canadian composers are represented in all. The singing is superb, and the production values are first-rate.
Congratulations, and thank you CCC for your outstanding contribution to the sacred choral tradition in this country.
Listen to Allan Bevan's, Hide Thy Face from the CD:
To find out more about purchasing this recording and to check out the recent activities of the Canadian Chamber Choir please follow this link:
The Canadian Chamber Choir
Allan Bevan's Hide Thy Face for unaccompanied SATB voices is published by classica Music Publishers on Canada's west coast! See the score here. More information on this work can be found in the Listen section of this web-site. Hide Thy Face is available directly from the publisher or from J. W. Pepper in the U.S.A.
All Suddenly the Wind is a brand new composition for SATB voices and piano commissioned by The Saskatoon Chamber Singers, James Hawn, director. This work came about as part of a silent auction at the Association of Canadian Choral Communities Podium 2014 where choirs were encouraged to bid on the creation of a new composition. The resulting work will be premiered by SCS on November 11, 2015 as part of their annual Remembrance Day concerts. Text for the work is by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915). Brooke, had an extremely promising career as a man of letters cut short by illness while serving in the military.
The Bow of Sound is a brand new piece composed for the opening of the new concert hall in St. Catharines, ON. The work was commissioned by Chorus Niagara, Robert Cooper, C.M. conductor and it will receive its premiere on Saturday, November 7, 2015 under the baton of Maestro Cooper. The new building is part of the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, which among other features, includes the 700-seat concert space to be called Partridge Hall. The project is an innovative one, being a combined effort of Brock University and the city of St. Catharines.
The Bow of Sound is a six-minute piece for chorus and orchestra composed over the summer of 2015. It sets the poetry of Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933), long-time Professor of English at Princeton University. The concert will feature the combined choirs of Chorus Niagara, the McMaster University Chorus, (about 160 voices in all) and the Niagara Symphony Orchestra. Music by Bruckner and Finzi will also be featured on this exciting inaugural program and there is an exciting array of up and coming soloists involved as well. You are invited to be a part of this important event in the Niagara region! Tickets and more information here.
Voicing: SATB a cappella
Text: Guillaume Apollinaire (1880 - 1918)
Published by: Cypress Choral Music CP1275, (2014)
Retail: Sheet Music Plus (you can view the score and listen here); Long and McQuade
A work commissioned by Chorale Saint-Jean, Dr. Laurier Fagnan, director, and first performed in Edmonton by the choir, and on tour in France. This work is a challenging fin de siècle setting of Apollinaire's iconic poem about lost love at the Mirabeau bridge in Paris and quite unlike other versions.
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Et nos amours
Faut-il qu'il m'en souvienne
La joie venait toujours après la peine
Vienne la nuit sonne l'heure
Les jours s'en vont je demeure
Les mains dans les mains restons face à face
Tandis que sous
Le pont de nos bras passe
Des éternels regards l'onde si lasse
L'amour s'en va comme cette eau courante
L'amour s'en va
Comme la vie est lente
Et comme l'Espérance est violente
Passent les jours et passent les semaines
Ni temps passé
Ni les amours reviennent
Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine
Guillaume Appolinaire (1880 - 1918)
from Les Alcools, 1912
Voicing: Soprano Solo, SATB and piano; Narrator; Dancers; Mixed media
Text and Melodies by: France Levasseur-Ouimet (text in French)
Arranged by: Allan Bevan
Published by: L'Alliance des Chorales du Quebec, distributed by Editions Gam, Montreal
Enjoy a lovely montage of a recent performance of France Levasseur-Ouimet's Canadian masterpiece, Elles s'appelaient Marie. This is an extended work (duration 50') taking as its subject the trials and tribulations of the work's heroine Marie, (soprano solo) a Quebec-born woman who homesteads in the early years of the province of Alberta. The performance comes from Gatineau, QC and features their live sound track of the work's final movement Je te Salue, Marie. Elles s'appelaient Marie was commissioned by Chorale Saint-Jean, Dr. Laurier Fagnan, director, in 2006 and first performed by them in Edmonton the following year. The work was featured at Choralies 2012 (the world-wide francophone choral congress). The YouTube excerpt below is taken from an April, 2015 performance in the L'Eglise St.-Francois-de-Sales, Gatineau, QC. The Choeur classique de l'Ouataouais, Tiphanie Legrand, conductor, and the Chorale de l'Ecole secondaire publique De La Salle, Robert Filion, conductor, combine forces in this production. The complete work is available from Editions Gam in Montreal, as are four of the individual movements which are available separately.
Profitez d'une belle montage d'une performance récente du chef-d'œuvre canadienne de France Levasseur-Ouimet, Elles s'appelaient Marie. Ceci est un travail prolongé sur les épreuves et les tribulations de Marie, (soprano solo) une femme d'origine québécoise qui Propriétés dans les premières années de la province de l'Alberta. Elles s'appelaient a été commandé par la Chorale Saint-Jean, Laurier Fagnan, directeur, en 2006.
Did you know that one of my most popular Christmas works has been translated into both Dutch and German? If you are a European choir director the rights to my Gentle Mary Laid Her Child are held by the European Choral Club for the Benelux region. The Dutch translation is by Titia Lindeboom and the German translation is provided by Birgitt Paulusma.
The European Choral Club has SATB and TTBB versions of Gentle Mary Laid Her Child in English, Dutch (Zachtles Sliep Maria's Kind), and German (Eine Alte Krippe).
See and listen to Gentle Mary Laid Her Child at The European Choral Club.
Wist u dat een van mijn meest populaire kerst werken is vertaald in het Nederlands en het Duits? Als u een Europees koor directeur van de rechten op mijn Gentle Mary Laid Her Child worden gehouden door de Europese Choral Club voor de regio Benelux. De Nederlandse vertaling is door Titia Lindeboom en de Duitse vertaling wordt geleverd door Birgitt Paulusma.
De Europese Choral Club heeft SATB en TTBB versies van Gentle Mary Laid Her Child in het Nederlands, Engels (Zachtles Sliep Maria's Kind) en Duits (Eine Alte Krippe).
Zie en luister
Wussten Sie, dass eine meiner beliebtesten Weihnachts Arbeiten hat sowohl in Niederländisch und Deutsch übersetzt worden? Wenn Sie ein europäischer Chorleiter sind die Rechte an meiner Gentle Mary Laid Her Child werden von der Europäischen Chorraum für die Region Benelux statt. Der holländische Übersetzung ist von Titia Lindeboom und die deutsche Übersetzung wird von Birgitt Paulusma vorgesehen.
Die Europäische Choral Club hat SATB und TTBB Versionen von Gentle Mary Laid Her Child in Englisch, Niederländisch (Zachtles Sliep Marias Art) und Deutsch (Eine Alte Krippe).
Sehen und hören
More information and additional recordings of Gentle Mary Laid Her Child in its SATB, SSAA, SAB, and TTBB English versions may be found in the Listen section of this web-site.
The Lost Lagoon, a recent work on a poem by Canadian poet E. Pauline Johnson has been published by classica Music Publishers. The Lost Lagoon is scored for SATB and piano and was the winner of the 2011 Vancouver 125 Composition Competition sponsored by Jubilate Vocal Ensemble. Pauline Johnson, the famous Mohawk poet lived the last four years of her life in Vancouver, and she was often seen paddling her canoe in the Lost Lagoon which was located within the confines of Stanley Park. Although the lagoon is now a freshwater lake, Johnson was buried in the park, and there is a monument to her memory there.
View the score at classica Music Publishers
Title: Que Reste-t'Il?
Voicing: SA and piano
Text/Melody: France Levasseur-Ouimet
Arrangement: Allan Bevan
Published by: classica Music Publishers - C 040 EVM
Retail: Long and McQuade
Que Reste-t'il? (What Remains?) was commissioned by Artemis, Choeur de Femmes, of Montreal. The choir won a silent auction sponsored by the Association of Canadian Choral Communities at Podium 2012, and Que Reste-t-il? became the prize! The choir, under the direction of Danielle Maisonneuve, sung the work for the first time in May 2014, and the piece was published shortly thereafter. classica Music Publishers has a lovely description of this work on their website, and you can view some of the score there as well.
Allan Bevan and France Levasseur-Ouimet have collaborated on a regular basis for over ten years. Dr. Levasseur-Ouimet is a gifted francophone songwriter who resides in Edmonton.
View the score at classica Music Publishers
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.
The Richard Eaton Singers, Timothy Anderson, actor, Dr. Leonard Ratzlaff, conductor, The Winspear Centre for Music, Edmonton, AB, Sunday, March 13, 2016 (western Canadian premiere; see poster below for further details)
Orpheus Choir of Toronto, Geraint Wyn-Davies, actor; Maeve Palmer, soprano; Robert Cooper, C.M., conductor, Trinity-St. Paul's United Church, Toronto, Saturday, April 23, 2016 (this performance will take place on the day Shakespeare died in 1616)
No Mortal Business (title from a line in The Tempest) 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.