26 May Winter
The Ottawa poet Archibald Lampman (1861-1899) wrote passionate poems about winter. His words are tailored to his late Victorian readers, yet they transcend their time with beautifully effortless rhythm, phrasing, and imagery. The words conjure up the winters of my Ottawa childhood: the cold crisp clear air, the quiet distances and solitudes. I wrote these songs during summer 2012 in Wellington, New Zealand, far away from Canada, which was having perhaps its warmest-ever winter. These poems became an incantation, connecting me to a magical season, distant in time and place—a homage to a season which seems to be destined for extinction.
Winter was commissioned by New Music Concerts (Robert Aitken, Artistic Director) with the assistance of The Ontario Arts Council. Many thanks to Bob for asking, and to tenor Lawrence Wiliford for collaborating on the vocal writing.