Toronto Symphony’s “Afghanistan Requiem” marking Canada’s Remembrance Day

Posted on: November 14, 2017

“Art loves conflict and resolution,” writes John Terauds in Sunday’s (11/12) Toronto Star (Canada). “But art, carefully applied and administered as it was by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on Thursday night, can lift [conflict] up and turn it into something almost as beautiful as neat resolution.” The orchestra’s November 11 Remembrance Day performance was “dominated by the Toronto premiere of Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation … [a] reimagining of a traditional Mass for the Dead (Requiem Mass) … a potent mix of the actual with the traditional, and of sacred and secular, created by composer Jeffrey Ryan and poet Dr. Suzanne Steele. Steele travelled to the Afghanistan War in 2008 as one of Canada’s official war artists. She gathered her impressions … and turned them into concise, imagistic poetry. Ryan took the traditional text of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass and interwove it with Steele’s words using all of the resources available to a symphonic work, including adult and children’s voices…. Getting an excellent interpretation at the hands of the assembled forces led by Canadian conductor Tania Miller further brought home the searing pain that comes with war.” The Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus gave the premiere of the Afghanistan Requiem in 2012. 

Posted November 14, 2017