Naturally-inspired new works

Naturally-inspired new works

We detected a mild trend this week, while scanning media releases from Canada orchestras: new works inspired by nature.

Monday April 11 and Wednesday April 13, the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and friends will premiere a series of new works through its multi-disciplinary, multi-concert ‘Boreality’ project. Together with Prairie Fire Press, the MCO put a team of artists (including composer Sid Robinovitch, poet Katherine Bitney, soundscape artist Ken Gregory, photographer Mandy Malazdrewich, and project manager Janine Tschunky) to work in the taiga (“a biome characterized by coniferous forests”). The words, images and sounds with which they emerged have been used to create new music which will be heard at several Manitoba performances. The result? Sid Robinovitch’s Cantus Borealis: Song of the Forest. The work will be premiered in the boreal forest at a free concert on Monday, April 11th at 10:30 am at the Wanipigow School on the Hollow Water reserve. A second free concert will be held that day at 7:00 pm at Falcon Beach School. Then, the troupe (led by guest conductor Scott Yoo) returns for the MCO’s penultimate concert of its Winnipeg season at Westminster Church on Wednesday, April 13th.

Last night, April 7, and Sunday afternoon, April 10, Symphony Nova Scotia (led by music director Bernhard Gueller) gives the world premiere performances of Derek Charke’s Symphony #1, subtitled “Transient Energies”. The new work, commissioned with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts, incorporates hundreds of pre-recorded sound samples from locations across Nova Scotia – and it explores the themes of power consumption and climate change, highlighting coal, oil, wind, and water.

Here’s what the composer has to say:

“Symphony no. 1 is intended as a truly unique listening experience, one that is similar to going to a movie theatre,” says Charke. “Each listener has the opportunity to imagine their own story as they hear sounds unfold throughout symphony. I like to call this a ‘cinema for the ears’, rather than for the eyes! Using a soundscape helps to invoke the images; it really helps to put the music in perspective. There is no mandated program. Each listener is in control of their own experience, and can enjoy the music on their own terms.

“With this, my first Symphony, I want to prove that a brand new, contemporary classical work can be just as (or dare I say more!) captivating than a traditional symphonic work… or film… or popular song. At the same time I hope to have created a work that upholds the long and proud tradition of the western classical symphonic tradition, and a work that will resonate with listeners from any walks of life.”

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