CHRISTOS HATZIS (b.1953): Going Home Star - Truth and Reconciliation.
Catalogue Number: 12R049
Reference: CMCCD 22015
Description: This score, a commission for the 75th anniversary of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, brings out the most extreme polystylistic tendencies of this always eclectic composer, resulting in a fascinating and highly effective - and entirely approachable, though arguably only with preconceived musical tastes checked at the door -,accompaniment to a complicated, harrowing yet ultimately uplifting story. The plot is centered on a deeply reprehensible episode in Canadian history; the attempt to forcibly integrate Canadian aboriginal children into Canadian society by removing them from their native culture and effectively imprisoning them in 'Residential Schools' where they were subject to every form of abuse. The ballet's action centers on two characters, Annie, who has long since abandoned her aboriginal roots in favor of a shallow modern life, and Gordon, a homeless man broken by his Residential past. Their journey toward reconciliation with the past is played out through glimpses of modern society, ancient tradition, the nightmarish schools, and encounters with Elders and other redeemed souls. That the breathtakingly dynamic score works at all is remarkable; that it succeeds triumphantly as a powerful musical statement is extraordinary. The orchestral component is tonal, often neo-romantic, full-blooded and powerful, with much allusion to (or frank borrowing from) works by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, but the material is frequently treated like the Bach concerto in Hatzis' ingenious Overscript (05P085). Much of the score is insistently rhythmic - this may sound obvious for a ballet score, but every conceivable resource is used to provide the driving rhythms, from the sampled loops of electronica dance through obsessive ritual chanting (underscored by the otherworldly, viscerally impactful sound of throat-singing, an important component of the piece), through the propulsive obsessive gestures of post-minimalism. The electronic part is extensive and incorporates looped beats, sound effects, pre-recorded and transformed vocal and instrumental material, and just about anything else you can think of. A fascinating, kaleidoscopic collage illustrating a powerful story. 2 CDs. Tanya Tagaq, Steve Wood and the Northern Cree Singers, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra; Tadeusz Biernacki.