Nature Knows No Pause – Environmental Pieces for Orchestra, Choir and Education

Nature Knows No Pause – Environmental Pieces for Orchestra, Choir and Education

Globally rising temperatures, droughts, catastrophes such as the bushfires in Australia, all the effects of climate change, which Greta Thunberg draws attention to alongside Fridays For Future, Extinction Rebellion and many others, fade into the background due to the corona pandemic. But climate change and the environment know no pause. The protection and preservation of the environment remains one of the most important issues for humanity in the 21st century. For this reason, we present 6 works in this feature that are musically dedicated to this topic. 

Meniscus (2012) 8'
Joby Talbot
3(pic).3(ca).2(Clarinet in E Flat)+bcl.2+cbn4.3.2+btbn.1timp(tgl).2perchp.pfstr

Rhythmically minimalistic with the bombast of a fully symphonic work, Joby Talbot describes in 'Meniscus' the effects of oil pollution and oil spills on the environment.
Cinematic in expression and texture, the peaceful order of nature is destroyed by external influences in this 8-minute tone poem and a dramatic battle against pollution, and for the preservation of the beauty and natural order of our earth, begins. Meniscus was commissioned by the National Centre for the Performing Arts for the celebration of World Environment Day 2012 in Beijing.

Prelude to the Pollution of Nature (1989) 9'
Vagn Holmboe

The seventh part of a ten-part prelude series, Prelude to the Pollution of Nature excites with its humble yet intricate atmosphere. With its great lyrical gestures the piece pays tribute to the great gifts of nature. Easy to listen to, it nevertheless establishes a dense atmosphere of highly charged music reflecting the threat man has forced upon nature. Vagn Holmboe masterfully balances these two aspects, allowing the music to unfold in its harmonic setting. The work is an ideal concert opener for programmes encompassing standard repertoire of the classical or romantic period, attentively guiding both audience and musicians into a concert experience.

Last Year (2019) 25'
Mark Adamo
timp, perc, hp, pf, str(min

Mark Adamo‘s Last Year, for solo cello and large ensemble is a four-movement narrative about the composer's fears regarding the ever-increasing threats of climate change. At the same time it is a homage to Vivaldi's Four Seasons. What would Vivaldi's Four Seasons sound like if he had lived in our time? Less innocent, more pessimistic yet equally virtuoso is how Mark Adamo transports the seasons into the present day world, creating a lyrical work that thrives on the contrasts between harrowing drama and tender beauty.

The Welcome Arrival of Rain (2001) 16'
Judith Weir

Judith Weir's orchestral work is based on two ideas: a scale motif and a melodic line carried by a powerful symphonic architecture. In three parts an audience discovers the many meanings of the arriving monsoon for nature and mankind: from exuberant life to overwhelming, uncontrollable energy that ends with the peaceful atmosphere after hefty rainfall. This outstanding orchestral work is a challenging and extremely gratifying journey for all those involved - musicians and audience alike.

Paragraf 112 (2014) 7'
Maja S.K. Ratkje

Paragraph 112 was created on the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution. The title is based on the so-called Environmental Paragraph, which defines the preservation and protection of the environment as a governmental task and a right of the population. From a noisy beginning in short gestures the work develops into a powerful symphonic kaleidoscope. Within a short period of time, a maelstrom emerges, which stands at the end of the paragraph like a powerful exclamation mark. Paragraph 112 is ideally placed at the beginning of the second concert half before another symphonic work.

The Water Diviner’s Tale (2007) 54'
Rachel Portman
2.2(ca)2(bcl)2(cbn)41312perc.timppfstr/Youth choir/soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass

The Water Diviner's Tale is a 60-minute dramatic choral piece for children's and youth choir, 5 professional singers, youth orchestra and storytellers. It explores in a touching way what happens to our world when the climate changes. The focus is on a group of abandoned children who, through the stories of the Water Diviner, realize that they can make a change. Rachel Portman, best known for more than 100 soundtracks, has created a hopeful piece, beautifully written for young voices, which can be performed scenically and brings together different age groups, amateurs and professionals on stage - ideal for family and school concerts.

(May 2020)