Brent Straughan socan
- The Umbria Ensemble -
Appassionati Canadese: http://www.ticketrocket.co/search/events?searchText=Italians
-The Umbria Ensemble has just toured Italy with my music, and is coming to Canada to play it for us, in the delightful company of friends from the Victoria Symphony.
The Italian cultural centre will host a welcome dinner on Canada Day, July 1, 2017 6:00 PM at the Da Vinci Centre in Victoria.
We're not saints: I don't shy away from looking at Canadian mistakes - the hanging of innocent native men depicted in my string quartet "Song of Innocents", and the internment of Japanese Canadians in World War II, is musically referenced in my string serenade "Island Arioso". Island Arioso looks at micro cultures in the Gulf Islands from the perspective of "paddle songs". Paddle songs were used in the 19th century as "Qui vive?" signals. If you paddled your canoe past a village, and didn't sing the right paddle song, the entire village paddled out to attack you!
Ticketing is a bit different: local artists can trade a sample of their work for tickets! I have created a "Canadashare ticket". If you want to donate to the project you can buy extra tickets normally at:
then e-mail your wish to share these tickets to Canadashare@telus.net. The tickets will be posted on a bulletin board in the venue: anyone who wants to, or needs to, can simply take one.
Programme: I have written or arranged the following:
Danny Boy -Soprano (Andrea Rodall), String Nonet
My Irish grandmother ploughed with a sulky plough and team, she usually placed the latest of her brood of eleven in a basket, ploughed up and back, then checked on the baby: if it fussed, she sang it 'Danny Boy'. The tune was written 500 years ago by a blind Irish Clan chief Rory O’Cahan. During the first world war, Englishman Fred Weatherly added the words we know today, after his sister wrote to him about a tune she heard Irishmen singing in a pub in Idaho! Australian composer Percy Grainger created a string version of the piece in the twenties. I couldn't resist tinkering with it, while trying to find a way to my own version.
Abendsegen- String Nonet -The prayer theme from Englebert Humperdinck’s ‘Hansel & Gretel’.
My mother taught me my first childrens' prayer to this tune.
Motherless Child-Spiritual- Soprano, String Octet
A beautiful 18th century spiritual response to slavery in America, author known but to God.
Log Driver’s Waltz -Soprano, String Nonet
This favourite Canadian folk-like tune, is not actually a folksong, but the creation of Wade Hemsworth, in 1956.
Spoleto Largo- String Nonet plus triangle
In February, in Spoleto, as my mother’s first leap year birthday approached, without her; I took a break from my opera, "Precari", and wrote this simple tune in her memory -“slow, fast, slow” themes based on long intervals that resolve gently. A London recording with members of the LSO, Philharmonia and BBC London Orchestras.
It was in Spoleto that we met the 'Umbria Ensemble' at a concert in Perugia. The quartet "loved" my music: they thought I must be "VERY famous"? I gently explained, that "Canadians don't do famous."
Saturna- String Nonet
A few years ago the Victoria Chamber Orchestra (conductor Yariv Aloni) commissioned a string serenade from me which tries to musically represent micro cultures of five Gulf Islands. I imagined approaching Saturna island by canoe in the earliest breath of morning. Suddenly, the island looms out of its shroud of mists....
Mayne- Nonet, Percussion, Alto Flute
Mayne island was the early social centre of the Gulf Islands - happened upon by captain George Vancouver in 1794-, gateway to the gold rush dreams of 1858, and sporting the oldest continuously flourishing hotel in B.C.. Japanese Canadians had a major impact on Mayne, creating large greenhouse farms, and agricultural operations - until 1941 when the government interned them. Thankfully, we have grown past our fears to renew and revitalize this beautiful old friendship. Several Japanese percussion instruments are featured in the work; a première performance.
Galiano- Nonet, Percussion, Alto Flute
Spanish explorer Dionisio Alcaláho Galiano explored Galiano Island in 1792. I absolutely could not resist the chance to imagine a Spanish dance taking place on the island, within sight of a stately Spanish galleon at ease in the harbour. Once again, thank you to Yariv Aloni, Don Kissinger, and the Victoria Chamber Orchestra.
Saltspring- Nonet, Percussion, Alto Flute/Flute
Imagine a young girl attending a street dance at Moby's restaurant, on Saltspring Island. She opens her case, fiddles like the wind, dances like a dervish, and through sheer force of nature, compels her audience to listen ! A première performance.
Encore?Purple Haze-String Octet -following humbly in the path of the Kronos quartet version.
Song of Innocents-Soprano, String Quartet
This quartet depicts the plight of John Anietsachist and Katkeena - hanged in 1869 for alleged murder of shipwreck survivors (see the John Bright incident, attached).
Mov. I "Cradle Song" Mov. II "Sparrowhawk" hunts
Courtesy Pablo Diemecke's 'DieMahler Ensemble (Pablo Demecke, Shima Takeda, Elizabeth Massi, Larry Scaggs).
Encore?Bad Romance-String Quartet - Lady Gaga will never be the same!