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Mark Ellestad

Discreet Angel

Label: Another Timbre

Format: CD

Genre: Compositional

In stock

Three works written over 25 years ago by a virtually unknown Canadian composer. The pieces were originally performed just once or twice, but have recently re-emerged and sound extraordinarily contemporary. New recordings by Apartment House and Cristian Alvear, as well as one historic recording by the composer himself. Brilliant stuff.

"The three works on the CD were written between 1988 and 1994.  It is a long time ago and there were many factors that played in to these pieces becoming somewhat hidden for a couple of decades.  In 1994 I had some CDs manufactured that represented some of my work at the time.  Most of the discs were mailed out to various people and institutions internationally with the hope of generating some interest in the music.  And I distributed many others to local musicians.  Thanks to my good friends at the time, each piece had at least one or two live performances in Canada.  I had studio recordings of a few pieces, but the violin and cello duo “In the Mirror of this Night” was something I only had a good live performance of.  And it was the duo that I felt an urge to get a good studio recording of before it was too late.  But that proved to be a more difficult journey than I had expected.

“In the Mirror of This Night” was written in 1988, shortly after my father had died.  It was written for a concert devoted to my music at the Open Space Gallery in Victoria.  The wind quintet was the other work on the program. “Discreet Angel” was written in 1990, shortly after my mother had suddenly passed away.  It was created as the audio part of an installation that I collaborated on with a professor of architecture at the University of Calgary.

There were several other works written between 1990 and 1994.  In June of 1994, I started an on-location audio recording business with a friend.  The CD of my works was created in the backyard studio which also became the editing/mastering studio in the business for many years to follow. It was also in 1994 that a new world broke open for me in music.  I was watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games that were hosted in Lillehammer, Norway, and heard, for the first time, the Hardanger fiddle.  I became obsessed with trying to find one and eventually one became available for sale on a news group. I bought it and tried to learn it as best as I could in isolation from others who were performers.  This opened up a whole new world of wonder for me.  And it eventually allowed new paths to open up and brought many wonderful friends. The traditional music for Hardanger fiddle is some of the world’s most amazing music.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it made a deep impression on me, which continues to this day.  “Sigrid” was made during that time in 1994.  It is its own thing, but a few works that followed had some experiments with folk music fragments.

By the end of the 1990s, many life issues began to create doubt and deference. I put composing into the background to protect it, in a way.  And I focused my musical energies on the recording business, believing that it wouldn’t be long before I would be writing again.  And just like that, years go by." - Mark Ellestad

Cat. number: at185
Year: 2022

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