Welcome to Heartstrings@HOME!
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US for our virtual gala! The entertainment will begin at 7.30pm. You will have received a link by email for this private viewing. It will be a YouTube live event, so please join in the chat throughout the event, which will be just over an hour long. The video will then be available until midnight Saturday. Please visit the MCO Kids & Community page and consider donating in support of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra’s province-wide outreach program. This page will be active until 11 March 2022.
Please also check out our online auction, which runs until 4 March 2022.
We really look forward to sharing a special musical evening with you, with three premieres commissioned for and recorded by MCO musicians, along with some lively fiddle music!
Manitoba Chamber Orchestra
2022 Heartstrings@HOME / 26 February 2022
Anne Manson, host
Michael Oesterle / Thistle (2021)
Commissioned by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Canadian Heritage Support for Workers in Live Arts and Music Sectors Fund Program; recorded in Toronto in the summer of 2021.
Woosol Cho, viola
Theo Chan, double bass
Sanya Eng, harp
The composer has written this program note: This trio for harp, viola and double bass was written during summer of 2021. The preceding spring I had spent considerable energy ridding my garden of weeds, only to see them return, as expected, during the summer months. I did keep a hands-off approach to a sizeable thistle, for obvious reasons. I imagined the unusual instrumentation for this trio to be a distant relative to Debussy’s Sonata for flute, viola and harp. Although my trio is more prickly in temperament than Debussy’s Sonata, there are a few small snippets that reference the great master’s piece, as well as hints of folk tunes from the land of Robert Burns. A thistle surely makes a wonderful national emblem.
Recorded at Westminster Church in October, 2021
Musicians of the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Karl Stobbe, concertmaster; videography: Ivan Hughes; audio recording: Dan Donahue
Kevin Lau / Songs from the Starless Sea
Commissioned by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Department of Canadian Heritage Support for Workers in Live Arts and Music Sectors Fund Program
- Sweet Sorrows
- Fortunes and Fables
- The Ballad of Eleanor & Simon
- Written in the Stars
Kevin Lau (MCO Composer-in-Residence), composer; recorded in Ottawa in the autumn of 2021
Pamela Fay, viola
Desiree Abbey, cello
David Fay, double bass
The composer has written this program note: I had just finished reading Erin Morgenstern’s novel The Starless Sea when the MCO presented me with an opportunity to compose a new work. The instrumentation that was offered to me—viola, cello, and double bass—brought to mind some unusual sonic possibilities, particularly when it came to exploring the low register. I knew immediately that it would be possible to generate a richer and more cavernous soundscape than one might expect from such a small ensemble. I knew also that Morgenstern’s surreal, book-within-a-book fantasy—with its vivid subterranean settings, including the titular ‘starless’ sea composed entirely of honey—would serve as a marvelous source of inspiration for the piece I had in mind.
The four movements are named according to act titles within the novel, but are meant to tickle the imagination rather than tell a story, and bear very little relation to either the narrative events or characters of the novel itself. The first movement, Sweet Sorrows, unfolds as a kind of crooked lament, full of suspensions, resolutions, and ‘sticky’ chromatic passages, suggesting both honey and the music of the notorious Renaissance composer Carlos Gesualdo. The second movement, Fortunes and Fables, is a scherzo, alternating between an odd-footed plucked waltz, echoes from the chromatic slippage of the first movement (given fiercer treatment here), and a soaring theme that attempts to capture the novel’s swashbuckling moments.
The elliptical nature of Morgernstern’s prose compelled me to add an interlude of sorts—an optional third movement. Titled The Ballad of Eleanor & Simon, it features the double bass in its highest and most delicate register, and is structured as a kind verse-chorus song without repeats. At barely two minutes in length, the music vanishes almost as quickly as it begins, dream-like and ephemeral. This is followed by the final movement, Written in the Stars, in which joy and pathos are channeled into a setting that is more orchestral than chamber in temperament.
I am grateful for the chance to collaborate in-person with a fantastic trio of musicians: Desiree, Pam, and David, and for the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra for giving me the opportunity to do so.
Nahre Sol / Mountain Goats
Commissioned by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts.
This work was commissioned by the MCO to honour the beauty of the BC mountains, as experienced by MCO violinist, Narumi Higuchi, who regularly runs in this landscape. After the terrible wildfires of the summer of 2021, we wanted to pay homage to this intersection of nature and music.
Recorded in California and BC, autumn 2021 and winter 2022; Narumi Higuchi, violin and runner; Nahre Sol, piano; videography of mountain running: John Swerdelian; video editing: Ivan Hughes.
Thank you very much to our incredible Heartstrings committee, the musicians, board, volunteers, patrons, donors, sponsors and funding agencies, and our special musical guests!
Suzanne Ullyot, chair
Marlene Pauls Laucht
Catering by Bergmann’s on Lombard
Auction Item Donors / Individuals
Alison & Bob Darling
E.J. (Ted) Howorth
Marlene Pauls Laucht
Beryl & Blair Peters
… & several anonymous donors
Auction Item Donors / Corporate
Bee Boyzz Honey
Breezy Bend Country Club
Canadian Museum for Human Rights
Cindy’s Tiber River
d.a. Neils Gourmet Kitchenware
Danali Men’s and Women’s Clothing
Denise Pauls Massage Therapy
G is for Glasses
Jensen’s Nursery & Garden Centre
Manitoba Chamber Orchestra
MCO Vinyl Vault
MB Liquor Mart
Manitoba Orchid Society
McNally Robinson Booksellers
Grant Skinner, Pro Ice Management
Pearle Vision Eyecare Centre, Kildonan Place
Pebble Art by Denise
Raven Creek Farm
Roger Watson Jewellers
Shelmerdine Garden Centre
Shoppers Drug Mart
Tall Grass Prairie Bread Company
The FrenchWay Café
VIA Rail Canada
The Wonderful World of Sheepskin
Winnipeg Art Gallery
World Art Decor