Song of Flanders
- Featured: Brent Straughan
- Release Date: 4/10/2007
Song of Flanders Cut 1: 'The Blessing of Remembrance' is a reflective look at Philippians 4:7 'The peace of the Lord be yours and remain with you, now and forever' - a common liturgical blessing. I added the words 'Bless them Lord, bless this love, bless the families, bless the fallen, grant them rest, grant them peace.' I chose as soloists a young lyric coloratura soprano, Megan Skidmore, and a grandfatherly bass, Bill Kelly, as I wanted to physically reinforce the idea that the fathers and husbands of the time, were away at war, or missing. Philharmonia Bulgarica is conducted by Valeri Vatchev, choir mistress Sofia Byrdarska. Movement II -is dedicated to my Uncle Max Saville, the first Allied soldier to land in Sicily, and is my setting of 'In Flanders Fields'. I imagine a fife and drum leading a regiment over the hill towards us. As the drums draw nearer, we realize many of the men are wounded; there is a darkness and grim determination about. When the orchestra joins in, the march takes on an 'asymmetrical' sighing quality. The strings enter with a sort of New Orleans 'dead march'. The first voices we hear are the altos, imitating the regimental snare drums, at last a solo tenor states my main 'faux-Celtic' theme. My big Bulgarian basses join in singing right down to their boots on low D's. When we reach the part of the poem where larks flutter vulnerably over the battlefield, I thought that while flying a kite, you must tug on the string periodically so the kite swoops upwards to the rhythm of the winds. I shaped the soprano line in a similar sort of scalloped way. At the words 'We are the dead'. The choir's singing becomes 'sprechtstimme' (sung speech) I had a real need to stop the action and claw 'the larks' immediately to earth. Gradually the theme is released and drifts upwards as the poet reminisces about the gift of living. When McCrae hurls his 'curse', ('If ye break faith with us who die'....) I divided the musical ideas in two. First the men hurl the curse as strongly as they can, then the women join in with a supplication, a distinct qualification, moving in simple block harmonies as generations of hymns have done ('To you from failing hands....') The initial theme returns, and moves upwards to a new key. The regimental drums reprise, the march of the wounded returns more urgently, we rise to a grand climax; the sort, composers love to write. The sopranos shriek sextuplets at the top of their range -admirably done by the Bulgarian sopranos who neither complained about the altitude nor the difficulties, but simply triumphed over them. The timpanist has an absolutely glorious time. If you ever hear this live, sit near the timpanist, or at least watch him go! Our fife leads the retreat from final glory over the hill and far away. There is still a bit of mischief and play in an old soldier, despite all he has seen and done. John McCrae believed one could triumph over evil if you could simply stamp it out. I cannot share the poet's belief. I cannot glory at the destruction of anyone; and at this point our ideas must part ways, but I can at least put forward a fervent musical wish that human nature might one day change enough that we would no longer see the need to periodically destroy one other. When my son was 8 he asked me 'Why is there war?'. I said 'The business of war is death'. He replied, 'Then the business of piece is friendship'. Studio: I studio of Bulgarian National Radio Philharmonia Bulgarica conducted by Valeri Vatchev Philharmonia Bulgarica Choir choirmistress: Sofia Byrdarska Music Producer: Christo Pavlov Recording team: Dimityr Dimitrov Valentin Ivanov Rumen Enchev Computer sound engineer: Pavel Boliarski Mixing and Editing: Valeri Vatchev Christo Pavlov Pavel Boliarski Soloists: /The Blessing/ Megan Skidmore, Bill Kelly I Violins Galina Kojcheva - koncertmeister Maria Kirova Christo Andreev Kalina Velinova Emilia Tsekova Teodora Konstantinova Dorian Molhov Julia Kazarska Dora Kehajova Maria Kyncheva Ivan Krystev Viliana Vrangova II Violins Milush Pironski Rossen Kazandjiev Maria Madoleva Diana Koleva Gergana Alexieva Zvetelina Popova Mladen Stoianov Sofia Neicheva Violas: Georgi Stoianov Assia Stoianova Albena Christova Iana Stoianova Alexandrina Ignatova Ralica Kazandjieva Iliana Koleva Violoncélli: Nikola Damianov - koncertmeister Petyr Petrov Iolanta Delibozova Marina Hinova Janina Dimitrova Emil Dimitrov Contra Basses: Margarita Kalcheva Georgi Shokov Borislav Simeonov Irina Komitska Flute/Picc Kremena Acheva Oboe, Cor Anglais Kalin Panaiotov Clarinet Dancho Radevski Bassoon Alexander Sarandev Martin Stoianov French Horns Christo Tsachev Jeko Atanasov Trumpets: Petyr Dobrinov Stoian Stoianov Trombone: Atanas Karafezliev Timp: Kiril Petrov Perc: Stoian Pavlov Dobri Paliev Steward: Valentin Dervenski Choir of Philharmonia Bulgarica Choir Mistress: Sofia Byrdarska Choir members: Donka Banska Nikolina Pankova Snezhanka Karoleeva Marinka Aleksandrova Violeta Katsory Hriska Markova Daniela Milenova Angelina Lambrinova Plamena Zlateva Rositsa Panaiotova Budinka Popova Flora Tarpomanova Rositsa Georgieva Rada Nosikova Asia Shopova Yolanta Vangelova Neli Bojkova Snezhina Bogdanova Neli Germanova Irina Raycheva Lilia Marinova Blagovesta Tsvetkova Elene Vatralova Elena Galinova Milena Yatsino Kremena Borisova Katya Ananievska-Bandeva Marieta Todorova-Doneva Maria Semova Sonia Zoneva Dmitriy Gamburtsev Boian Vassilev Plamen Papazikov Orlin Cholakov Orlin Kamenov Tzvetomir Hristov Vasia Krastev Konstantin Yzvetkov Stefan Boyadjiev Ivan Usunov Bogomil Spirov Aleksandar Lalov Dancho Istilianov Vasil Sokolov Yosif Gerdzhikov Vladimir Stoianov Emil Ezekiev Georgi Georgiev Vassil Antov Mladen Mladenov Stanislav Kirov Petar Imov Anton Radev Robert Hristov Alexandar Nossikov Yulian Perikliev Petar Petrov Valentin Yonchev Atanas Madzharov Stefan Sablev Cuts 3-8: 'Light's Edge'- a one act ballet Première: the National Ballet of Canada 1990 Silver Medal Winner, New York Film Festival 1991 Choreographer: Donald Dawson Soloists: Maurice Causey, Victoria Bertram' Corps: Sally-Anne Hickin, claire vince, Stephanie Landry, Naomi Stikeman, Désirée Zurowski Stephen Legate, David Meinke, Alexander Ritter, James Taylor, Paul Winston Dedicated to the memory of Connor J.S. Wright LIGHT'S EDGE evokes a journey of spiritual enlightenment, transcending corporeal cares and boundaries. During the journey, lower nature and fears are transmuted into positive higher creations. A terminally ill boy overcomes the 'illusion' of death and is able to live 'with one foot on earth and one in heaven'. LIGHT'S EDGE évoque un voyage spirituel qui transcende la matière corporelle et ses limites, en transformant la vile nature craintive en créatures positive et élevées. Un garçon malade triomphe de 'l'illusion' de la mort et peut vivre 'un pied sur terre et l'autre dans les airs'. AM RAND DES LICHTES ruft eine Reise geistlicher Aufklärung hervor, daß greifbare Sorgen und Grenzen übertrifft. Während dieser Reise werden primitive Angstgefühle in positive, höhere Schöpfung umgewandelt. Ein sterbenskranker junge überwindet die 'illusion' ses Todes un kann, 'mit einem Fuß auf der Erde und mit dem anderen i'm Himmel' leben'. LIGHT'S EDGE Choral Text Soprano Boy: Brendan Ryan Widdowson I know you're out there, I can see, a splendour lights you so. The pain is gone, now take me With you, where children go. I won't cry, when I die. Help my parents see I'm free, I know you love me, Will you tell us stories of your world? I don't know the way there I will take your hand and be strong. 'God created music, so that one might pray without words.' Cuts 9-20 'Enfilony' - an environmental film-symphony for large orchestra, chorus, multi screen film, tape, aromas and pollution devices. The journey from entropy to order and ...? The orchestra is seated under a large screen, four images play overhead. There is a chorus in the audience. The journey begins when the world is young and man has not appeared. Upon the arrival of man, music is created and rhythms and melodies make sense to us. Gradually voices interrupt one another tension rises and chaos reigns. When the screen images can no longer be followed, delicate forest aromas become industrial pollutants, music disintegrates. The world ceases. The chorus arises and sings a hymn to mankind. Mankind hears it not, and again the world is gone. A sole soprano represents the survival of hope. Beneath the timeless bread of universal chaos, man sandwiches his endeavours, and God orders his universe. Le Grand Orchestra de Radio - Télé-Luxembourg Chef d'orchestre: Victor Feldbrill O.C. Concert Master: Francis Rosner Members of the Festival Singers of Canada Chorus Master: Albert Greer Alto Solo: Janet Obermeyer Baritone: Allen Stewart-Coates Réalisateur du son: Felix Margue Ingénieur du son: Jean - Louis Brassens, Mike Jones Assistants: Jeannot Mersch, Ed Stone, Otto Hanus Administration fu service musical: Edgard Kauffman Cut 21'Piano Adage' 1:56 : Credit theme for the CBC TV and Cineflics Ltd. Film 'Reaching Out' - about the coming of age of a disabled teen. Petrof 14' grand, Sounds Interchange Toronto, pianist: Bruce Harvey Cut 22'Postlude & Lament' 8:02 Composed the day before my father's funeral, performed here by Christopher Dawes on the 4,968 pipe 67 stop, 87 rank Walker/Casaventes organ of the Cathedral Church of St. James in Toronto. Engineer: William Van Ree.
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