1. Barry McKinnon, “Bushed” 2. Anne Marriott, “As You come in” 3. Gwendolyn MacEwen, “Dark Pines Under Water” 4. George Johnston, “Bliss” 5. Anne Wilkinson, “Daily the Drum” 6. Earle Birney, “My Love is Young” 7. Raymond Souster, “On the Rouge”
Commission: Canada Council Artists Grant and Manitoba Arts Council Grant
Length: 32 min.
Completion: June – November, 1991
Premiere: 1992-10-28/29, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Rivka Golani, viola, Royce Frith, reciter, Derrick Inouye (cond.)
Other: 1993-01-22, VSO, Rivka Golani, Sergio Comissiona (cond.)
1993-10-30/31, Edmonton Symphony Orch., Riva Golani, Christian Zimmermann (cond.)
1994-04-05, Hamilton Symphony Orch., Rivka Golani, Victor Feldbrill (cond.)
National Arts Centre MusicBox TIMELINE page (includes recordings of A Group of Seven, program notes and a biography)
A Group of Seven was written for and at the suggestion of the distinguished, world-renowned violist, Rivka Golani. In 1988 she premiered the composer’s Viola Concerto (also written expressly for her) with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Charles Dutoit.
The scoring is for solo viola, reciter and classical-sized orchestra, with the addition of trombone, harp and percussion. The voice of the reciter, who is screened from the audience, is projected into the hall by means of a speaker or speakers.
The work is laid out in the form of an arch (or palindrome) as follows:Prelude – viola & orchestra (based on themes from VII and IV) I reciter & orchestra (winter, atmospheric) II viola & reciter (love-song, intimate) III viola, reciter & orchestra (Psychological, expressionistic) IV reciter & orchestra (satirical, “bluesy”) V viola, reciter & orchestra (philosophical, tragic) VI viola & reciter (love-song, intimate) VII reciter & orchestra (summer, atmospheric) Postlude – viola & orchestra (based on themes from I and IV)
Stylistically, the music is highly eclectic – employing a variety of timbres, textures and techniques (tonal and atonal) – whatever is required to convey the ideas and moods of each poem.