Atlantic Elegy for Soprano and Piano (2021)
Full score (soprano and piano), physical copy printed and bound, of Atlantic Elegy. Duration: ~ 7 minutes.
Atlantic Elegy is a work inspired by my own feelings of grief, nostalgia, longing and homesickness living in Ottawa, Ontario during the covid-19 pandemic that began in 2020 and devastated so many lives. Having been born and raised in rural Newfoundland where the Atlantic Ocean was a 300m walk from my front door, the urban/sterile/industrial/ administrative/corporate environment of Ottawa was novel and bustling with life at the best of times (pre-pandemic) and artificial, shallow, cold, barbaric and lonely at the worst (complete lockdown). This piece has been an emotional outlet and concisely encapsulates how emotionally, spiritually and physically intense this past year has been. I encourage performers to play up this sense; this is a very dramatic work that is quite sad.
I wrote the opening statement in the soprano first with the improvised text “Who knows when I’ll see the ocean” and from there spewed a long poem which I continued to set in a mostly aleatoric way, although there are some thematic repetitions. It is noteworthy that my throughout my improvisation/composition process the vocal lines of Mistki (especially songs like “A Horse Named Cold Air”, “Fireworks”, “Thursday Girl”, “Liquid Smooth”) continued to come to mind and further inspire my writing. The piece’s title was originally “Ode to an Ocean”, then “Ocean Ode”. I soon realized how much grief was bubbling under its surface and likewise changed the title to “Ocean Elegy”. I also realized during my composition that I kept visualizing the shorelines and ocean near Kippens, Newfoundland, my hometown, which of course is a view of the Atlantic.
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