dark star requiem

Performers

Neema Bickersteth, soprano
Krisztina Szabo, mezzo-soprano
Peter McGillivray, baritone
Marcus Nance, bass-baritone
The Elmer Iseler Singers
The Gryphon Trio:
Annalee Patipatanakoon, violin
Jamie Parker, piano
Roman Borys, cello
Ryan Scott & Mark Duggan, percussion
Wayne Strongman, conductor

***NOMINATED FOR TWO 2017 JUNO AWARDS***
– BEST CLASSICAL COMPOSITION
– BEST CLASSICAL ALBUM: VOCAL OR CHORAL

Description

Dark Star Requiem came to be after a commission from the Luminato Festival and Tapestry New Opera. The work premiered in 2010 at the Luminato festival in Koerner Hall, Toronto, Canada. The work is an operatic oratorio with music by composer Andrew Staniland and text by poet Jill Battson. It is scored for four singers, piano trio, percussion, and chorus. The topic of all of the poems in the work used is HIV/AIDS and how it affects the lives and worlds of those who live with the disease or love someone living with the disease.

Dark Star Requiem is at once intended to be challenging and joyous, complex and beautiful. A sequence of 19 poems charting a short history of HIV AIDS unfolds over the course of 14 musical movements. The poems vary stylistically from linked haikus, to ghazals, to praise poems and back to free verse. The musical movements are unified through a haunting melody and driving rhythm derived from the numbers attributed to HIV-1 and HIV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses: 00.061.1.06.009. and 00.061.1.06.010. In musical terms these numbers are interpreted in both melody and rhythm.

Reviews


“A modern Carmina Burana […] Staniland has utilized the modern orchestra and the contemporary media to produce a work of vital dramaturgy and lasting, thought-provoking power.”
– The Classical Music Guide

“Striking, beautiful, and wonderfully weird. […] The score is percussive, dissonant yet lyrical and evocative; very powerful and haunting.”
– La Scena Musicale

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