Calgary Philharmonic’s “Requiem for a Generation” honors those affected by Afghanistan war

Posted on: November 7, 2012

In Monday’s (11/5) National Post (Canada), Jen Gerson writes, “In the Catholic tradition, a requiem is a mass for the dead: A solemn ritual that uses music and poetry to lift the souls of those who have passed and comfort relatives and loved ones left behind among the living. Suzanne Steele, the first poet ever chosen to be part of the Canadian Forces’ Artists Program, wondered how best to bring that sense of elevated repose to those who have witnessed the war in Afghanistan. … The result, Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation—will debut in Calgary on Nov. 10.” The musical score for the work was written by Canadian composer Jeffrey Ryan. “Loosely following the movements of the mass, the hour-long presentation is divided among four soloists, played by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and sung by an adult and childrens’ choir. It incorporates a little of the traditional Latin, but also weaves in English, French and the Afghan language of Pashto. … Ms. Steele visited Afghanistan during the war, and was embedded with the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Her poetry evokes the things she witnessed there; the death of a soldier, the return of his body and the ravages of post-traumatic stress disorder. … The piece was commissioned by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and has ambitions to tour throughout Canada and the world.”

Posted November 7, 2012