My Father's Land (2022)

SATB (with soloists), Strings, Organ

Duration: 15 minutes

Program Note
'My Father's Land' grew out of a larger opera/theater-piece focusing on migration, environmental catastrophe and unidentified bodies I’ve been developing for about a decade called 'Appeal for Identification'.

Its text combines the voices of the landless, overheard speech, Anglo-Saxon literature, a list of the contents of the stomach of a body preserved in the bogs of Northern Europe, and a fragment of the Epic of Gilgamesh into a collage poem to create a vivid picture of a landscape that has been ravaged by time and neglect. To set the text, I created a self-consuming choral motet, built on a functional 24-tone harmonic world that is at once both unsettling and compelling.

Powerful, solemn, moving, and real, 'My Father's Land' is a multivalent and humane portent of what could come.

My Father's Land
My father's land, half an acre remains.
On the open ground
There were small fields of barley and rye.
Many weeds grew among the stream
Including knotweed, goosefoot, black nightshade,
Corn spurry, field cowgrass, and hairgrain.
A mixed flora of grasses, white and red clover,
Ribwort, sheep's sorrel, sheep's-bit, bird's-foot,
Trefoil and heather grass on the common.
No trace was found of summer fruits,
Strawberries, blackberries, apples,
Raspberries, and hips.
Nor any trace of greens.
The dead and the sleeping how similar they look.
There was no land,
Nothing living,
No sky above,
Only space.

29 August 2023
Cathedral of the Blessed Savior
Ostrava, Czechia

Canticum Ostrava
Ostravska Banda
Olivia de Prato, Eszter Krulik, Ana-Maria Lempert, violins
Anusa Plesnicar, viola
Juho Laitinen, cello
Juraj Bajus, contrabass
Klaus Lang, organ

Bruno Ferrandis, conductor


Performance by Canticum Ostrava and the Ostravka Banda; Bruno Ferrandis, conductor


Score Sample
Purchase Score at Black Tea Music