It was really difficult for me to choose just one classical Canadian composer to highlight. Our composers are truly prolific and they are not afraid to push Canadian music to new levels. Then I decided that since I've been highlighting two Canadian pieces per week, why stop now? This week, we are exploring Healey Willan and Alexina Louie.
The first Canadian composer we will explore this week is Healey Willan (1880 - 1968). According to Timothy J. McGee in The Music of Canada, Willan is Canada's best-known composer(Toronto: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1985). He was a teacher at the Toronto Conservatory of Music (now the Royal Conservatory of Music), as well as the University of Toronto. He also was a church organist, choirmaster and conductor.
Willan composed approximately 800 musical works, including operas, symphonies, concertos and liturgical music. He also wrote music for band, piano, organ, choir and solo voice. His musical style is considered conservative, incorporating late-romantic and post-romantic idioms.
This week's pick is How They So Softly Rest:
On the opposite end of the spectrum lies our second featured composer for the week: Alexina Louie (1949 - ). She is a composer, pianist and teacher. She has written for musical theatre, orchestra, chamber music, TV and film. She has explored electronic music and has blended elements of Asian music - a nod to her Asian heritage.
In 1986, the Canadian Music Council named Louie Composer of the Year. In 1994 she earned the Chalmers Award for her work, Gallery Fanfares. She received the Jules Léger Prize in 1999 for her composition Nightfall. In 2005 Louie became an Officer of the Order of Canada.
This is Fastforward. The performer is Israeli concert pianist Dorel Golan:
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