The art of sorrow can inspire great hope and profound beauty. Here four contemporary North American composers have given musical shape to the voices of five women poets and one unknown prisoner, all struggling with love, loss and grief, all searching to find meaning in the midst of the trials of the soul. The poets lived in medieval Europe, Victorian England, Nazi Germany and 20th century America. Four illustrious contemporary composers have taken these poetic cries de coeur and created six moving and intimate chamber works for mezzo-soprano and flute, variously combined with cello, piano, and harp.
Two Remembrances (Composed by Andre Previn, text by Else Lasker-Schüler and Frau Ava, translation by Michael J. Gillespie and Willis Barnstone). Two Remembrances are two short songs set for mezzo-soprano, alto flute and piano. The first piece A Love Song is a dreamy setting of Ein Liebeslied by expressionist poet Else Lasker-Schüler. The second song Lyric, with poetry by medieval poet Frau Ava, shares the same mood as A Love Song. The text describes contentment and belonging.
I Remember (Composed by Michael Cohen, text by Enid Futterman). This emotional 25 minute work, in English, is based on text found in Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl. This work is scored for mezzo-soprano, flute, cello and harp.
The Deepest Desire (Composed by Jake Heggie, text by Sister Helen Prejean). The Deepest Desire is a four movement song cycle which chronicles the life, work and spiritual awakening of Sister Helen Prejean of Louisiana. Prejean's prize-winning book "Dead Man Walking" brought international attention to her quest for social justice issues. Scored for mezzo-soprano, flute and piano.
From the Wall (Composed by Michael Cohen, text of unknown origin). From the Wall is an 8 minute work written for mezzo-soprano, flute, cello and piano. It’s text, three simple lines, were found following World War II scratched into a cellar wall in a bombed building in Cologne Germany. The building was believed to be a hiding place for people trying to escape from the Nazi regime.
Remember (Composed by Owen Underhill, poetry by Christina Rosetti). Remember is a setting of Christina Rossetti’s well-known poem Remember. It is scored for alto flute and mezzo-soprano. The text is a reflection on loss of life, remembrance and forgetting.
From the Wall and Remember are both World Premier recordings.
Sarah Fryer enjoys an international career as a mezzo soprano soloist. Her operatic credits include six years at the Bayreuth Festival, singing the role of Wellgunde in Wagner’s Ring Cycle under James Levine. She has also performed at La Scala, Milan directed by Riccardo Muti , and in Turin, Nantes and Dublin. Most recently she sang the role of 3rd Magd in Elektra with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, directed by Kent Nagano. Notable concert performances include Mahler’s Second Symphony and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and David Hill (recorded by Naxos Records), and Verdi’s Requiem and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra directed by Bramwell Tovey. Ms. Fryer has performed at The Three Choirs, Dartington, Taormina, and Aldeburgh Festivals and with major choirs and orchestras throughout Europe and across North America.
Brenda Fedoruk is currently Principal Flute with the Vancouver Opera Orchestra and was a longtime member of the CBC Radio Orchestra until the orchestra's disbanding in 2008. She has performed with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and the touring orchestras of the Royal Winnipeg and National Ballet Companies. She has been a member of the orchestra for the Vancouver productions of Les Miserables, Showboat, Sunset Boulevard, Ragtime and Phantom of the Opera and for film and television projects. As a chamber musician Ms. Fedoruk appears often in recital and as a member of Vancouver's Turning Point Ensemble. Ms. Fedoruk is a member of the faculty at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Capilano University in North Vancouver and Head of Woodwinds at Douglas College in New Westminster BC.