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Ghosts of Galicia : for violin, clarinet, cello and piano

by Charles Bodman Rae (2012)

Work Overview

Ghosts of Galicia is in three movements - Prelude, Interlude, and Postlude - which aim in different ways to evoke the eerie emptiness of the abandoned or cleared villages of Central Europe. Many of these vanished village communities were Jewish shtels cleared during the Shoa; but others in Romania were cleared during the brutal regime of Ceaucescu. There are allusions to Jewish musical traditions, including klezmer and cantillation, but there are other, non-Jewish allusions. Most of these are conveyed through original materials, but there are two pieces of quoted music: 'Undzer Shtel brent' (Our shtel is burning), by Mordechai Gebirtig; and the final song of Schubert's Winterreise, Der Leiermann (the hurdy-gurdy man). The refrain of Gebirtig's song is borrowed and enhanced in the Interlude and returns near the end of the Postlude. The Postlude takes its main motif and mood from the Schubert song where the poet is leaving an unnamed central European village and passes an old man repeating a haunting tune on his hurdy-gurdy, much as a Buddhist mantra is repeated by the spinning of a prayer wheel.

Work Details

Year: 2012

Instrumentation: Violin, clarinet in A, cello, piano.

Duration: 12 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: I. Prelude -- II. Interlude -- III. Postlude.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Soundstream Collective, Gabriella Smart

Commission note: Commissioned by Soundstream Collective, Gabriella Smart.

First performance: by Soundstream Collective, Elizabeth Layton, Peter Handsworth, Ewen Bramble, Gabriella Smart — 29 Jul 12. Soundstream 2012 Season, Elder Hall, Adelaide

Performances of this work

29 Jul 12: Soundstream 2012 Season, Elder Hall, Adelaide. Featuring Soundstream Collective, Elizabeth Layton, Peter Handsworth, Ewen Bramble, Gabriella Smart.

29 Jul 2012: at Soundstream Collective: Intriguing Soundscapes (Elder Hall). Featuring Soundstream Collective.

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