• Lakeside

    by  • March 26, 2012 • digital, Solo, video, viola • 0 Comments

    Lakeside is a piece for solo viola, digital soundscape and digital video (10:00).  It  honours the life and legacy of the late Leonard Leacock, and was created as part of Mount Royal University’s Centennial Celebrations.

    Leonard Leacock was an accomplished composer, pianist, and photographer, but his greatest achievement was enriching the lives of generations of Mount Royal Conservatory students by giving them piano lessons, during a tenure that spanned seven decades.  In keeping with Leacock’s dedication to educating young people, several talented Conservatory students recorded contributions to the soundscape of the piece: Caroline Kim, Clio Mawdsley, Krishan Power, Scott Ross-Molyneux, and Natalie Wiebe.

    The solo viola part was performed by Gabe Kastelic.

    Four Calgary artists collaborated to create Lakeside: visual artists Mirian Fabijan and Oli
    Siska, and sound composers George Fenwick and Laurie Radford.  Through the creative process, the artists have paid homage to Mr. Leacock’s lasting contribution to the Mount Royal Conservatory, and to the
    cultural life of Calgary.  The piece was premiered in September, 2011.

    [mp3j track=”Lakeside@16_Lakeside.mp3″ ]


    Durham Twilight

    by  • March 26, 2012 • orchestra, Orchestral, String

    for string orchestra (6:00)

    When I think of County Durham, in Northern England, two things usually come to mind.  First are my ancestors, who hail from that part of the world.  At the time I wrote Durham Twilight, the generation of Fenwicks and Bousteads that were born early in the second decade of the 20th Century, including my Dad, had recently passed away. The second is the magnificent, mysterious and ancient Durham Cathedral, one of the finest examples of Norman architecture in Europe.

    Durham Twilight was premiered by the Calgary Chamber Players, under the direction of Chris Sandvoss, in November 1999.  It was also performed at the Jack Singer Concert Hall by Rolf Bertsch and the Calgary Civic Symphony in November, 2010.

    Waiting for the First Crocus

    by  • March 26, 2012 • Chamber and Solo Instrumental, music, piano, violin

    for violin and piano (4:00)

    I wrote this piece as a Christmas present for my late Mum, Mary Fenwick, in 1996, and revised the piano part in 2001.

    One of her great joys was spotting the first crocus of the year, its purple flower standing out against a thin blanket of snow.

    While writing this piece, I imagined her as a girl, staring out a window at a bleak February prairie landscape, keeping faith that the days were getting longer, and better weather was on its way.

    I think of her, and this music, as I make my annual spring pilgrimage to the banks of the Elbow River above Sandy Beach, Calgary, where crocuses are abundant.

    In the fall of 2002, Andrea Davison (piano) and Diane Lane (violin) made a lovely recoding of this piece

    The Persistence of Memory: Dances for Bass Trio

    by  • March 26, 2012 • bass, Chamber and Solo Instrumental, music, trio

    Anders Dahlberg is one of my oldest friends and musical colleagues.  In 2010, he asked me to write a piece for three basses, for him to perform with two of his students at Kalamazoo College.  The premiere took place in November, 2011.

    I liked the idea of honouring our misspent youth, which included playing and writing rock music together.  After some thought, I settled on the idea of using themes from Pink Floyd’s song “Wish You Were Here” as source material.  We happily kicked musical ideas back and forth, and over time, the piece took shape.   The title was suggested by Anders, after the famous painting by Salvador Dali.

    It has to be said that “Persistence of Memory” doesn’t sound a lot like Pink Floyd. As such, I don’t think Roger Waters or David Gilmour can reasonably expect to share in the vast fortune this piece is sure to generate.


    Black Jacques

    by  • March 26, 2012 • cello, music, orchestra, Orchestral, quartet, String, viola, violin

    for string quartet (6:30)
    or string orchestra (6:30)

    Black Jacques

    This piece is dedicated to the memory of Jack (1980? – 1996), a snaggle-toothed feline who came to stay with the Fenwick family for a night and lingered for many years.

    Much of Black Jacques’ thematic material was plundered from two well-known songs: “Frere Jacques” and “Hit the Road, Jack”, which (by coincidence) shares a bass line with “The Cat Came Back” and “Stray Cat Strut”.

    The version for string quartet was premiered by the Sunrise String Quartet in 1999.  It has since been performed in Cranbrook, BC, Saskatoon, SK, and by Land’s End Chamber Ensemble during their three Noche de Brujas cabaret performances at the Beat Niq Jazz and Social Club in Calgary in October, 2007.

    The version for string orchestra was premiered by the Calgary Chamber Players under the skillful direction of Chris Sandvoss late in 1999, or maybe early in 2000 (I was there, but now I forget which).  It has also been performed in Regina, SK.

    I know, you’re thinking that Jack gets around, but there’s more…

    The third version of Black Jacques, for full orchestra, was commissioned by Edmond Agopian, and was completed with the generous support of the Rozsa Foundation.  Mr. Agopian led the Calgary Youth Orchestra in the premiere of the full orchestral version on April 22, 2012, at Calgary’s Leacock Theatre.

    The Calgary Youth Orchestra will perform the piece four times during its August, 2012 tour of France: at La Madeline, in Paris; the Cryptoportique Gardens in Reims; Isigny-sur-mer; and during the Semaine Acadienne festival in St-Aubin-sur-mer.