• Search Commissions

Premiere Title of Commission Composer Listen
02/02/2021 Hear The Sounds Go Round R. Murray Schafer Listen Close

This setting for three choirs commissioned by Soundstreams Canada is an abbreviated version of the full spoken text - a poem which has accompanied me worldwide to conferences and workshops and which captures the elusive playfulness of our ever-changing soundscapes. -

11/11/2020 ASAP 4 SATB Ana Sokolovic Listen Close

This choir piece is inspired by text messaging or texting, which we use very often. The piece is written in three sections, each one inspired in a different way by these ‘texts’.

03/11/2020 Corpus Paul Frehner Listen Close

Exploring mystical and religious themes of life, death, oblivion, and afterlife, Corpus combines settings of two texts separated by some eight hundred years. Percussion plays an important role, with particular emphasis on the use of skins and metals.

11/07/2021 The Soul of God R. Murray Schafer Listen Close

Conceived for four choirs, separated in different places around the audience to suggest the mystical omnipresence of God in unlimited forms and revelations, this work brings together texts from diverse eras and cultures.

01/30/2010 Arise, Cry Out in the Night Norbert Palej Listen Close

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 was one of the twentieth century’s most tragic episodes of heroism: a desperate act of Jewish resistance against the murder of the ghetto’s population. Palej’s musical commemoration of this event draws on texts both ancient and modern.

11/03/2021 When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d James Rolfe Listen Close

Commissioned for Soundstreams’ biennial University Voices event in 2006, 'When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d' is based on the lyric elegy written by Walt Whitman upon the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. It began life as a piano piece, Lilacs, which imagined the poem’s free-verse rhythms and cadences as a purely musical narrative.

06/04/2021 Invocations and Last Word John Tavener Listen Close

Four invocations, each invoking a deity from one of the world’s great religions, are punctuated by cries of the mystical syllable “Om.” Each invocation is followed by a poem by the Sufi philosopher Frithjof Schuon; each poem’s setting is based on the musical material of the invocation that precedes it.

11/11/2020 The Spell of the Rose Craig Galbraith Listen Close

Thomas Hardy’s poem The Spell of the Rose tells a story of alternating hope and turmoil in a troubled love relationship. Galbraith assigns passages of direct speech to solo voice and narrative passages to the full choir; he also adapts the poem slightly, dovetailing together Hardy’s first and second stanzas.

06/04/2021 Death of Shalana R. Murray Schafer Listen Close

Shafer composed The Death of Shalana with the intention that it should eventually be sung across a lake, with the four choirs on different shores.

02/29/2004 The Fall into Light R. Murray Schafer Listen Close

The Fall into Light is a syncretic work based on texts from a wide variety of sources, mostly gnostic, hermetic, and mystical, but also including writings by Rilke and Nietzsche, along with some reflections of Schafer’s own.

11/09/2021 A Cradle Song Craig Galbraith Listen Close

William Blake’s poem 'A Cradle Song' incorporates into the soft and soothing language of a mother’s lullaby increasingly explicit allusions to the birth—and the death—of Christ. In setting the poem to music, Craig Galbraith chose to emphasize those allusions by punctuating certain passages with lines from common Latin motets.

11/03/2021 Valleys Harry Freedman Listen Close

It is the position of the six choirs relative to the audience that gives Valleys its name. They are to be placed around and above the audience: the largest of them on stage and the five others arranged in a semicircle in the first balcony.

11/03/2021 Under the Sun James Rolfe Listen Close

The assertion that ‘there is nothing new under the sun’ is also comfortingly ironic for a twenty-first-century composer who was schooled as a proper twentieth-century avant-gardist.” Rolfe’s text, condensed and compiled from several different translations, comes from the first chapter of Ecclesiastes. His setting, with its multiplicity of voices, provides a large acoustic space in which to explore the text’s dimensions.

02/27/2002 O, that you would kiss me James Rolfe Listen Close

The text of O that you would kiss me comes from the Old Testament’s Song of Solomon. In this setting, the voices caress each other with shared motifs, at close intervals, weaving in and out at close quarters, touching or overlapping in an embodiment of the intense physicality of the text.

02/06/2021 Keys to the Unseen Randolph Peters Listen Close

Using text from Salman Rushdie’s novel The Ground Beneath Her Feet and from abbreviated versions of the Latin Mass, Keys to the Unseen examines the subject of music itself. Two of its parts, Kyrie and Sanctus, refer to music from the past that survives in our consciousness and continues to exert an influence on the way we hear things today.

06/13/1997 Borealis Harry Freedman Listen Close

Borealis makes use of such antiphonal and spatial effects. It also, as its title suggests (Borealis being Latin for “of the north”), draws inspiration from another awe-inspiring space: the frozen vastness of the Arctic. The text used in the piece is an abstraction of Inuit and other aboriginal languages.