Listening Party Podcast Episode 17
Apr 09, 2021 1:00pm
Friday, April 9, 2021 | 1 pm | On Demand
Take a journey with two creators, composer Jeffrey Ryan and poet Michelle Poirier Brown, from commission to premiere of their new work The Length of a Day. Starting with a blind-date-esque set-up, and a month’s long creative courtship, these BC based artists share how they clicked, or “dinged” immediately with each others aesthetic and process.
Though their collaboration was a geographically-separated experience, Michelle and Jeffrey both speak to the almost physical presence they felt of the other while sitting with each other’s words and music. Join us for this deep dive into how two artists, isolated during a dark year, brought light to something new by creating together, apart, at the edge of a vast ocean.
The piece premieres April 16th as a part of Colin’s Solatium! Listen to the accompanying Spotify Playlist in anticipation of listening to the song cycle!
Poet, The Length of a Day | Michelle Poirier Brown
Michelle Poirier Brown is an internationally published poet, performer, and photographer. She is nêhiyaw-iskwêw and a citizen of the Métis Nation. Her poem “Wake” won PRISM international’s Earle Birney Prize in 2019. Other poetry has appeared in Arc, CV2, Emrys Journal, The Greensboro Review, Grain, Plenitude, Right Hand Pointing, Vallum, and several anthologies, including Sweet Water: Poems for the Watershed. Michelle’s debut book, You Might Be Sorry You Read This: poetic memoir, is forthcoming in 2022 by University of Alberta Press in the Robert Kroetsch Series. A feminist activist and retired federal treaty negotiator, Michelle now writes full-time.
Composer, The Length of a Day | Jeffrey Ryan
Praised for his “strong personal voice” (Globe and Mail), “masterful command of instrumental colour” (Georgia Straight) and “superb attention to rhythm” (Audio Ideas Guide), and recipient of SOCAN’s Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award, Vancouver-based Jeffrey Ryan takes inspiration from the world around him and creates music running the gamut from orchestral and chamber works to opera, art song, and choral music. With awards and recognition including four JUNO nominations, his music has been commissioned, performed and recorded by orchestras, ensembles and soloists worldwide, including his award-winning portrait CD Fugitive Colours with the Vancouver Symphony and the Gryphon Trio. jeffreyryan.com
This episode of the podcast featured Jeffery Ryan, composer and Michelle Brown, poet. They worked together on a song cycle commission for Pacific Opera, titled The Length of a Day. The song cycle is a journey from dark to light, mirroring our own emotional journey through the pandemic. The song cycle was created for Colin Ainsworth, tenor and a programmatic recital that was filmed for Live at the Baumann. Our podcast discussion reflected the artists journey in the creative process of new work. The obstacles, the inspirations, the collaborative element and even the nervousness around ‘opening night’ were all part of our discussion.
I invited both Jeffery and Michelle to share some musical selections from their own listening library that also reflect the theme they worked with- dark to light/ hopelessness to hope.
I hope you enjoy the music, and their reflections on their choices.
Jeffery Ryan, Composer
- Gretchen am Spinnrade, by Franz Schubert, Dawn Upshaw, soprano
Poor Gretchen has completely lost herself in hope while knowing on some level her situation is hopeless. The Goethe poem and this setting by a young Schubert is so deliciously character-driven and that psychological dissonance is so operatic, it’s exactly what I love about art song.
- Jocelyn Morlock ,Three Meditations on Light
With only two instruments, beautifully and delicately employed, these three movements explore light and its absence, with a dose of Morlock’s trademark evocation of birdsong.
- Dream, Captain & Tennille, from their “Dream” album
“Dream, when you’re feeling blue”—sometimes we get into such a dark place it’s hard to even remember the light. This song reminds us never to give up hope.
- I Awoke in Iowa by Uncle Bonsai. From the “Apology” album
When the world is turned upside down, sometimes you just don’t know where you are anymore.
Michelle Poirer Brown, Poet
- Cowboy Junkies cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Die” [Cowboy Junkies; The Trinity Session] because no one goes dark like the Cowboy Junkies go dark.
- k.d. lang’s cover of Jane Siberry’s “The Valley” [k.d. lang; hymns of the 49th parallel] for the light it shines on a path out of darkness.
- Regina Spektor’s “Folding Chair” [regina spektor; far] for it’s realistic insistence on optimism .
*I used to have “the sea is just a wetter version of the sky” as my email signature… “Folding Chair” unfailingly makes me smile.
Physically Distant | Socially Connected
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