• Barry Guy
  • Remembered Earth (1992)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)
  • Lute, viola da gamba (or guitar)
  • T, B, S, A soli, SATB choir, baroque violin.db.ob.hpd (1999)
  • Tenor, Bass
  • 39 min

Programme Note

Remembered Earth is not only an acknowledgement of the American Indians oppression and near extermination, but is also a parable for our times where the constant struggle between races continues to threaten our very existence. I have refrained from writing about an historical event or indeed a general synopsis of the American Indians struggle for survival. Instead, I have been drawn to texts that root the composition in remembering, continuance and renewal. In essence, looking for the Zeitgeist.

The "newcomers" form Europe brought Christianity which proved an effective and irrevocable devastation to the life and ways of Indian tribes. This fact is portrayed in Remembered Earth where we hear in the middle of the piece the ironic juxtaposition of "pray to Jesus" and "the earth is wounded and bleeds". The fervour with which Christianity was pursued as a means of coaxing the Indians into being Christian Brothers was also matched at the same time by violence, greed and exploitation by other members of the white settlers.

The texts used are taken from Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee (author Dee Brown) and The Remembered Earth, an anthology of contemporary native American literature edited by Geary Hobson.

Whilst the facts as documented in Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee make at times grim reading, in Remembered Earth the spirit of continuance and renewal constantly points to a future. The two Indian songs in the second half of Remembered Earth guide us to a hopeful conclusion where "the people will rise".

© Barry Guy