Ten thousand rivers of oil
Choir, organ, flute, oboe, cello, timpani, percussion, harp

Leonard Enns
Composer
Leonard Enns
Composition Date: 2010
Duration: 00:25:00
Genre: Choral (9 + Voices), With Chamber Ensemble (2 - 9 Performers), Woodwind(s) / Percussion, Keyboard / Plectral String / String Bowed

Instrumentation:

Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 1 x Flute
  • 1 x Oboe
  • 1 x Timpani
  • 1 x Percussion
  • 1 x Harp
  • 1 x Organ
  • 1 x Mixed chorus
  • 1 x Violoncello
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Programme Note:
Ten Thousand Rivers of Oil was commissioned by Marta McCarthy for the University of Guelph. Marta suggested the Old Testament words of the prophet Micah; the poetry by George Whipple was my choice. Micah's voice is unfortunately not out of date; I am struck by the fact that we are often in danger of justifying our actions as appeasing some god or another, when what is really required is to live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. Whipple's poetry puts the searchlight on the problem—the god who requires rivers of oil is actually the one we see in the mirror (Whipple's words are: “What we've done is ... changed God to man...) Material sacrifice is not required by Micah's God; our own us-god requires this sacrifice, to lubricate an often aggressively achieved and similarly maintained privileged lifestyle. Again, Whipple's poetry distills that fact.
In its four movements, the texts of this work (1) ask a fundamental lifestyle question (Micah), (2) put before us the historic reality of forcefully gained advantage (Whipple), (3) call us to consider love as the true generating energy of our world (Whipple), and (4) present a way forward, through justice, mercy, and humility.
For myself, as a composer living in a privileged society, there is simply no escaping the profound ironies in all of this. While I had events such as the Gulf War(s) on my mind during this project, the month of completion (May 2010) was also the time of a major oil well rupture and potential ecological disaster in another gulf, that of Mexico. These events are part of the complex tragedy that supports my lifestyle.
While I am thankful to my institution, Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo, for the composition sabbatical in winter of 2010, I am especially grateful for the two periods of composition residency in January and May 2010 in the Leighton Colony at the Banff Centre for the Arts, a wonderful and inspiring haven maintained by oil-rich Alberta. This was a gift of time and seclusion. Still, and always, Kyrie eleison.

Leonard Enns
Cardinal Studio, Leighton Colony
Banff Centre for the Arts
17 May 2010


Commissioned by: Marta McCarthy for the University of Guelph

Premiere Information:
27/11/2010, St. George's Anglican Church, Guelph, Ontario; University of Guelph Choirs and the University of Waterloo Chamber Choir; Instrumental Ensemble: Kim Francis, oboe; Sharon Kahan, flute; Ben Bolt Martin, cello; David Knight, timpani; Amy Wark, percussion; Lori Gemmell, harp; Jan Overduin, organ Conductor: Marta McCarthy

CATALOGUE INFO:

  • Call Number:
  • MV 6257 E59ten
  • Genre:
  • Choral (9 + Voices), With Chamber Ensemble (2 - 9 Performers), Woodwind(s) / Percussion, Keyboard / Plectral String / String Bowed
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • April 11, 2011
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score (60 p.) ;
    60 Pages
    Height: 28 cm
    Width: 22 cm
    Parts page count: 76
    7 parts ((76) p.) ;
    Height: 28 cm
  • Language Information
  • Language of libretto: English
  • Additional Information:
  • choir, flute, oboe, cello, timpani, percussion, harp, organ

    Texts: Micah (OT), and poetry by George Whipple
    1. With what shall I come?
    2. The Price of Oil
    3. Evolution
    4. O People
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Ten Thousand Rivers of Oil Choir, Organ, Flute, Oboe, Cello, Timpani, Percussion, Harp: Score and Parts
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Ten thousand rivers of oil Choir, organ, flute, oboe, cello, timpani, percussion, harp by Leonard Enns (Score)
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Ten thousand rivers of oil Choir, organ, flute, oboe, cello, timpani, percussion, harp
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