musica intima is a collective of twelve people coming together to foster connection through vocal music. ‘Rethink Forever’ begins the conversation about what that means now.
Since the effects of Covid-19 were first felt, vocal ensembles around the world have been searching for a way to collaborate and perform together, despite being unable to connect physically. Choirs have combatted the mourning we feel at the loss of our art by performing digitally - some by sharing past performances, some by ‘virtual choirs’, and everything in between. But what is it we want to say in this new world, through this new medium? We cannot replace live performance, and we cannot replace the moments we share with fellow singers or audience in an intimate concert situation. We’re seeking to connect, and find the meaning of connection while we remain safe and ‘socially distanced’.
Peter Hannan’s 2005 piece ‘Rethink Forever’ explores these exact concepts - themes of connection and isolation, of intimacy and distance, as well as of love and lust. Written for vocal ensemble and electronics, the piece was to be our final project of the 19/20 season, before that became an impossibility. But it sprung to mind after taking the time to reflect on what musica intima has to say in these troubled times - and musically, it creates a fascinating study on how individual music making can come together in a digital age. Hannan wrote the text drawing on a very specific and limited palette of words— the words of a Tallis motet, the 200 most common words in the English language, and relationship advice from a website of the time , now nearly 15 years ago. The music falls into ten movements - ‘Ten Commandments of love’ for a digital age - an idea that has all new meaning in this age where physical presence is so strongly discouraged, and physical intimacy unlikely unless you share a home.
So now, together with the composer, musica intima explores the piece in a different way from either of the previous times we’ve performed it. From our homes across the Lower Mainland, the members of musica intima have individually recorded this piece, with Hannan combining all the pieces into a new performance. New orchestrations explore the individual and the corporate in performance, and the use of electronics recorded by previous generations of ensemble singers allow us to explore the idea of connection in a different way. A unique piece, in a unique performance, for a unique time.
For more on Peter Hannan, visit: http://www.peter-hannan.com/