BURIAL GROUND for woodwind quintet (flute, clarinet, French horn and bassoon). 1993. Commissioned by the Fifth Species woodwind quintet with a grant from the Ontario Arts Council. 25 minutes. Score and parts available through PROMETHEAN EDITIONS.
Compressed MIDI file of the entire piece (ZIP file: 28.1Kb; uncompressed file size: 111Kb). This is a demo recording of a work which is meant to be performed by acoustic instruments on stage and is, therefore, a rough approximation of the intended sound. The demo is in GM format.
Burial Ground is based on the well-known ground "When I am laid in earth " from Purcell's opera 'Dido and Aeneas'. The original aria appears either fragmented or in its entirety and with varying degrees of comprehensibility throughout the piece. Its harmony and accompaniment are nearly always preserved, but they are masked by superimposed music drawn predominantly from the early part of the twentieth century and by complex sound textures resulting from the use of extended woodwind techniques. Formally, the piece is a series of musical and sonic 'wanderings' with the Purcell original acting as departure and/or arrival points. The title - a pun - refers to the work's emotional as well as its formal character.
Burial Ground was commissioned by 5th Species, an innovative woodwind quintet based in Toronto. It is dedicated to the memory of my late friend Chari Polatos who was killed in a car crash on the night of May 7, 1992 on his way home from a 5th Species concert. A self-taught singer and instrumentalist of extraordinary talent, Chari was a unique individual. His idiosyncratic temperament and controversial ideas on life and art have been a standard against which I had to measure myself as an artist and as a person for the better part of a decade. My musical choices in Burial Ground were triggered by memories from this friendship and by the text of the original aria which reads as follows:
"When I am laid in earth
Let my wrongs create
No trouble in thy breast.
Remember me, but oh!
Forget my fate".
Premiere performance: March 5, 1993 by the 5th Species woodwind quintet. Music Gallery, Toronto.
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