Zosha di Castri, Jocelyn Murlock, Nicole Lizée, John Estacio,
Erin Wall, soprano; Martha Henry, narrator; Monique Mojica, actor; NAC orchestra; Alexander Shelley
Analekta AN 2 8870, 73 min 25 s.
This recording is the “soundtrack” for the multi-media work Life Reflected, which had its premiere at the National Arts Centre May 19, 2016. It was a highly ambitious and worthwhile project that brought together four newly-commissioned pieces by Canadian composers – three of them women – under the overall direction of the NAC’s conductor Alexander Shelley and creative producer and director Donna Feore. Each of the pieces was based on work by or achievements of, some exceptional Canadian women: Alice Munro, Amanda Todd, Roberta Bondar and Rita Joe.
But by itself this recording is exceedingly frustrating. This is a multi-media work and without the visual dimension one is left with only a fragment of the total conception. It should have been released as a DVD. It doesn’t help that Analekta’s booklet is also inadequate; there are no texts and very little in the way of analysis of the four works presented. The CD itself is an important documentation of the musical elements but for much more comprehensive notes I urge listeners to visit the website www.lifereflected.ca. The website reproduces the entire program book issued for the premiere performance in Ottawa and a short video offers at least a glimpse of some of the visual elements.
All the performances seem to be excellent and special credit is due to conductor Alexander Shelley for spearheading this project.