23 May Worry
The reaction to the 2001 terrorist attacks in the US brought back memories of growing up during the Cold War. I remember the omnipresent atmosphere of fear and anxiety, faced with a faceless enemy who could strike at any second. I remember my father, constantly aggravated by my mother’s constant worrying: “Worry, worry, worry, all you ever do is worry!” Perhaps he was just as anxious, but unwilling to voice it. I remember the music of the time: high modernists like Xenakis, furiously tearing out all traces of the past; and those who embraced the past, like The Beach Boys, wistfully and longingly. I remember growing up in Ottawa, which (like most cities at the time) was obsessed with obliterating its past—in this case, according to the dictates of French urban planner Jacques Gréber (himself a disciple of Le Corbusier, as was Xenakis). As an anxious mind flits restlessly from one thought to the next, making its own unexpected connections, all these thoughts and musics circulate through Worry, which was written from one moment to the next, without thought as to its future. It’s also a kind of nostalgic homage to the modernism I was born into, innocent of its bitter origins. Worry was commissioned by Continuum (Jennifer Waring, Artistic Director) and Numus (Jeremy Bell, Artistic Director) for Mark Fewer, violin, with the assistance of The Laidlaw Foundation.