April 27, 2014

Two Worlds

video

In Cloud Birds, the poem "Two Worlds" was selected to be in a choral music composition by Finnish composer Olli Ortekangas. It was commissioned by Osmo Vänskä for the Minnesota Orchestra, and it will likely be performed in the 2015-16 season. This music, "Migrations," is to be scored for mezzo-soprano, symphony orchestra and male choir and the theme will be immigration.

I crossed through a mirror,
in one world people were leaving,
in the other, arriving.
On the other side, the ancestors’
face in mine
as if through a fire’s light
spark to tinder and coals to ash,
as if through the herring in the sea,
through memory’s country,
through clouds to the land,
over the border.
My name on their stones.
Words resurface.
Walk the same walk
under the same stars,
footsteps over footsteps.
Sit at the table sing a hymn
in the old tongue.
Forward and back
the road is the road
where gravity meets gravity.
Ten rivers into the Baltic,
ten rivers into the inland sea.
The longest distance,
the farthest point

One line  elicited a question from the composer: to which hymn was I referring?  I was able to send him this video clip, taken at the home of Mikko Himanka in Kokkola, Finland during my visit.   It happened to be the evening prayer that Mr Ortekangas remembers from his childhood.  There were some changes in the poem as it became integrated into the musical composition: punctuation! Also we worked out some line changes. This reflects the poem as it will be sung. Altogether, four poems will be in the composition.   Here is link to the composer's website: http://ollikortekangas.com/biography/

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