Dark Star Requiem

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Price: $13.98


Audio Samples: 
Zero Six One (1,171.03 kb)
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Requiem (1,508.18 kb)
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Call Number: CD 1709
Ensemble/Performer: Gryphon Trio
Organization: Tapestry Opera
Media Type: CD
Year of Release: 2016
Record Label: Centrediscs / Centredisques


Dark Star Requiem
An operatic oratorio for four singers, piano trio, percussion and chorus by composer Andrew Staniland and poet Jill Battson

“A modern Carmina Burana […] Staniland has utilized the modern orchestra and the contemporary media to produce a work of vital dramaturgy and lasting, thought-provoking power.”
- The Classical Music Guide

"Striking, beautiful, and wonderfully weird. […] The score is percussive, dissonant yet lyrical and evocative; very powerful and haunting.”
- La Scena Musicale

Tapestry Opera

Wayne Strongman

Neema Bickersteth, soprano; Krisztina Szabó, mezzo soprano; Peter McGillivray, baritone; Marcus Nance, bass-baritone 
The Elmer Iseler Singers
The Gryphon Trio
Annalee Patipatanakoon, violin; Roman Borys, cello; Jamie Parker, piano
Ryan Scott and Mark Duggan, percussion

Dark Star Requiem is at once intended to be challenging and joyous, complex and beautiful. A sequence of 19 poems charting a short history of HIV AIDS unfolds over the course of 14 musical movements. The poems vary stylistically from linked haikus, to ghazals, to praise poems and back to free verse. The musical movements are unified through a haunting melody and driving rhythm derived from the numbers attributed to HIV-1 and HIV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses: and In musical terms these numbers are interpreted in both melody and rhythm.

Composer Andrew Staniland has firmly established himself as one of Canada’s most innovative musical voices. Described by Alex Ross in the New Yorker magazine as “alternately beautiful and terrifying,” his music is regularly heard on CBC Radio 2 and has been performed and broadcast internationally in over 35 countries. Andrew is the recipient of the 2009 National Grand Prize in EVOLUTION, presented by CBC Radio 2/Espace Musique and The Banff Centre, top prizes in the SOCAN young composers competition, and the 2004 Karen Keiser Prize in Canadian Music. As a leading composer of his generation, he has been recognized by election to the Inaugural Cohort of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists Royal Society of Canada in 2014.

Track List:

1. Zero Six One 4:58
2. Zoonosis 4:30
3. Congo and One of the Four H's 7:26
4. Polygyny 5:21
5. Fourteen Seconds 3:09
6. The Great Gale 6:21
7. Beauty Mark 7:40
8. O and Out in California 2:23
9. Theory Prayers 5:27
10. Revolubile Sentinel 9:32
11. Cuba Libre 6:51
12. Black Lion 2:29
13. Requiem 7:28

Libretto by Jill Battson. All text for DARK STAR REQUIEM is available upon request and proof of purchase. Below are two excerpts from the opera. To purchase Jill's work, please click here.

The Great Gale

It is dark, my pupils strain into nothingness
I feel the brushed warmth of another’s arm
soothe the agonizing ache of wanting

it is wet, too, in this darkness
slipperiness of flesh, the idea of beauty
a warm hand takes my arm

guides me through the darkness
eruptions of light begin
as small peripheral flashes

a whisper close to my ear
pheromonal attraction, the sweet smell
beauty of the whole you

sticky wickedness as we stumble forward
holding ourselves as a pair
no one else should have you

needlessly, aimlessly, we move through darkened rooms
blowing like indigent leaves
touch everything we desire

we are drawn by the physicality of sound
pounding in the core of us, stealing our breath
my teeth rattle, I feel your skin vibrate

sweat pours, my hand squeegees your skin
dull rush of wind in my ears
we are buffeted by the bodies of others

shout, we shout out lustily to god
insulting, cajoling, lamenting
as fetid spit speckles our bodies

in this intimate, infernal storm
a roaring in the blood, a single spike
the vortex spins screaming.

Beauty Mark

Beautiful, I am harboured in your body
meld myself with your connective tissue
blush at each move and stretch
the unseen brand of your lovemaking
I move downwards into your body
mark your wet membranes
with the badge of my progression
my cancerous bruises florid and unseen
as I proliferate noiselessly
when I break for air, surfacing on your ankle
I give you my flower
ma fleur de mal
first a rose blush, flattened on the skin
then quickly, as I proffer my beauty,
a raised eruption, purple as royalty
sometimes my beauty mark
beads blood jewels
sacrament of my adoration
lacrimosa, lacrimosa, lacrimosa
by the time you notice me
I am already languishing in the warm moisture
of your lungs and gut
ridging the roof of your mouth with burgundy bubbles
I mark you for others’ judgment
look at us, we are beautiful.

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