A Celebration of Poetry: I Am in Need of Music

Victoria, BC – April 2, 2015

Victoria Symphony debuts unique concert: words of Canadian authors mixed with original symphonic music in A Celebration of Poetry: I am in Need of Music

“Who hears the songs when the voices are silent?
Who remembers the great sound we used to make, on the shores of an island we thought would last forever?” – Susan Musgrave

Experience the impact of music on words and words on music at this one-of-a-kind concert experience. Each of the writings chosen are evocative of a certain aspect of BC life and history, and these sentiments are answered and translated into orchestral music that reflect, sustain and flow with the words. The Victoria Symphony, under the baton of Music Director Tania Miller, will present this evocative concert on Saturday, April 18 at 8:00 pm at Alix Goolden Hall.

Vancouver in 1958; a whale; East Sooke in the 1940s; over-foresting damage to Haida Gwaii and its tragic impact; and an excerpt from Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro’s short story set in Vancouver: these images come to life as authors George Bowering, Susan Musgrave, Steven Price and Sheila Munro (daughter of Alice Munro) read their own remarkable works. Curated by author Jack Hodgins, the writers’ words will be interspersed with orchestral music carefully chosen to illustrate the poetry.

Canadian soprano Suzie LeBlanc will sing two beautiful works inspired by the words of American poet Elizabeth Bishop, commissioned by Ms. LeBlanc from Canadian composers Christos Hatzis and Alisdair MacLean. The Elizabeth Bishop Suite (MacLean) creates a narrative of family and community, long-lasting love, and the approaching separation brought about by life’s end. Four Songs on Poems by Elizabeth Bishop (Hatzis) includes songs connected by enigmatic ties that do not stem directly from their own individual histories and natures, allowing for tension and cohesion in the whole structure. Big band pop songs, folk/pop idioms, surrealist depiction of an anxiety dream and a mediation on the cosmic advent and fall of Adam are influences on Hatzis’ interpretation of Bishop’s poetry, and will be brought to life by LeBlanc.

Also included in the concert program are Victoria’s Tobin Stokes’ pieces titled Stories from Klee Wyck (movements Cha-Alt and Canoe), Aaron Copland’s Quiet City and Aaron J. Kernis’ Musica Celestis.

Tania Miller will host a post-concert informal talk in Wood Hall (at the Conservatory of Music) with the writers to talk about their creative lives, influences, and works, at which the audience can have a chance to meet the authors and hear their stories.