Title: Between the Shore and the Ships; Blizzard
Year Completed: 2009
Duration: 8:30 mins
Instrumentation: Soprano and Bb Clarinet
Premiere: January 20, 2010, Grand Pré, Nova Scotia: Helen Pridmore and Wesley Ferreira
If interested in performing this work, please contact the composer through the Canadian Music Centre.
Between the Shore and the Ships is a collection of two works. The history of the Acadian expulsion at Grand-Pré is at the heart of both of these work. In these two compositions I attempted to capture the desolate and anguished emotional content of the texts. The text for ‘Blizzard’ was written by New Brunswick poet/artist Roméo Savoie, taken from a collection entitled ‘Une lointaine Irlande’ from 2001, published by Perce-Neige. In this poem, he describes the sound of the wind blowing through the attic, and blocks of ice littering the beach during a blizzard. In my imagination I picture Acadian settlers having to brave these difficult storms and encountering many hardships.
Between the Shore and the Ships uses an extract from an archive found in the Kentville public library. In this text, Arthur Eaton quotes from Longfellow's poem Evangeline in his History of Kings County. It may be that Longfellow was influenced by Colonel John Winslow's journal prior to writing Evangeline. Thank you to clarinetist Shawn Earle
for his research on this. This text describes a different sort of hardship, that of the Acadians toiling on the land, and their imprisonment to this life.
Musically I chose to set the two texts using different techniques. ‘Blizzard’ uses a twelve-tone row, iterated at the beginning, and in its entirety, by the solo clarinet. This row is transformed several times, before a cyclical return is heard at the end. ‘... between the shore and the ships ...’ is freer in its harmonic language, and is slightly more tonal. It ends with the dire description of the “imprisoned Acadian farmers” which I set as a descending sort of halted musical lament. On Wednesday, January 20, 2010 the Acadia New Music Society (Derek Charke and Mark Hopkins, Co-Directors) presented a CMC New Music in New Places sponsored event at the Grand-Pré National Historic Site. Nova Scotia Associate Composers were asked to compose short works based on French texts found at the Grand Pré National Historic Site of Canada. The Grand-Pré National Historic Site of Canada commemorates Grand-Pré area as a centre of Acadian settlement from 1682 to 1755 and the Deportation of the Acadians, which began in 1755 and continued until 1762. They have a visitor centre and a church.