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musica intima steps 2022

bridge of dreams

Sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts, this is a digital presentation of a concept we began exploring in Fall 2021.  The namesake piece is Ann Boyd's 'As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams' - a very specific exploration of the dreams of a specific noble woman from Ancient Japan.  This concept - exploring the space between dusk and dawn, exploring the world beyond our conscious, waking thoughts, became a broad focus, encompassing music of dreams, the afterlife, sleep, and introspection into ourselves.   Along the way, we turned to the natural world for inspiration, and saw more and more connection between the element of wind and the world of dreams.  Over the month of November and into December, we'll be sharing this collection of digital projects, inviting you onto the winds of dreams through song, art, story, and video.  Return to this page throughout the month to cross the bridge of dreams with musica intima.   

Artists featured in Bridge of Dreams:

musica intima: 

Tabitha Brasso-Ernst | Christina Cichos | Oliver Dalton | Stephen Duncan | Katherine Evans | Renee Fajardo | Kira Fondse | Jacob Gramit | Sarah Jo Kirsch | Steve Maddock | Carman J. Price | Taka Shimojima | Lucy Smith | Risa Takahashi | Asitha Tennekoon | Jaime Yoon


Jonathan Lo, Cello

Christina Hutten, Organ

Sherryl Sewepagaham, singer & drum

Sydney Frances Pickering, visual artist

Andie Lloyd, lighting design


Andrew Balfour 

Anne Boyd

Ramona Luengen

Nico Muhly

Tawnie Olson

Sherryl Sewepagaham


Denise Ball | Joanna Dundas | Don Harder

Collide Entertainment:

Mike Southworth | Barry Ambrosio | Joanna Dundas | Brandon Fletcher | Doug Fury | Andrew Shirley | Adam PW Smith

Watch the entire playlist on YouTube here.



We open with Tawnie Olson's monumental work, Incantation.  From the first words of poet Lorri Nielsen Glenn, the piece invokes a gusty and mystical sound world, transporting the listener (and the singer) into dreams of a world where we are all "gathered and sung in the morning." Musical material is based on the call of the meadowlark, which is found throughout the cascading voice parts, as well as in the cello and organ parts which wind their way through the score.  

In tiefen Nächten


Ramona Luengen's incredible work blurs the lines between art song and choral music.  With soaring melodies and rich chords, the singer dives into Rilke's text, in which he seeks connection - connection to each other, and connection to something greater.  The music embodies the searching and yearning through cold, distant valleys along lonely pathways, yet in the end, we raise our hands "openly into the wind, so that they may branch out like a tree."  In this moment, we find the connection to the world around us - "a world reduced to dust - from distant stars" falling, at peace, as gently as a spring rain.  

As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams


This project is loosely based on our live concert from October 2021, which was, in turn, based on Anne Boyd’s piece which wordlessly explores the dreams of Lady Sarashina, an eleventh century Japanese noble.  The piece has its roots in a style of Japanese court music, Gagaku, and we are grateful to ensemble member Risa Takahashi, who introduced us all to this sound world. One aspect she explained is how all-encompassing the sound is - from the lowest to the highest tones - creating music which seems to simultaneously reach the deepest earth and the highest heavens. We touch darkness, but we reach light. As Risa points out, the interest in this piece lies not in the melodic structure, but the timbral shifts - an idea which is echoed in soundscapes throughout this project.

This video combines Boyd’s piece, written for three choirs of four singers, with spoken texts from Lady Sarashina’s diary - the very passages which inspired Boyd’s work.  At times, you’ll hear the choirs functioning individually, and at times you’ll hear the ensemble as a whole; something echoed in the images of the singers you’ll see.  The piece, and the journal, however, focus on the personal exploration - an individual seeking their connection to something greater, and asking questions about the afterlife.   

Four Directions


Drawn from our 2022 NAGAMO project, Andrew Balfour's 'Four Directions' is his arrangement of 'Te lucis ante terminum' by Tallis, with new words in Ojibway.  The text goes through the Four Directions: West, North, East, South - and ends, in the place of Tallis' 'Amen', with the Ojibway word for "Sky" - Ishpiming.  For this project, we commissioned Lil'wat artist Sydney Frances Pickering to create a visual representation of the piece.  Pickering writes:


This video piece is a landscape interpretation of Andrew Balfour's "Four Directions". The footage includes scenes taken of the traditional territories of the Musqueam people and of Interior Salish Lil'wat and Secwepemc peoples over different seasons of the year. The movements of the land coincide with the pauses and changes in energy of the music. Over the course of the song, the scenes transition by overlapping movements of the wind and water propelling the viewer into different directions and locations.

Olson: Incantation
Luengen: In tiefen Nächten
Boyd: As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams
Balfour: Four Directions

Small Raine


Another highlight from our live performances in October 2022, Nico Muhly's Small Raine combines a sacred text from the candlelight service of Compline with the sixteenth century secular text and melody 'Westron Wynde'.  The piece with gentle calls of that melody, before gradually becoming more and more dense, both harmonically and rhythmically, building from a gentle rain into a full-on storm.  Muhly seems to take us to the peaceful eye of the hurricane, and after an intimate cry for salvation, the rains almost subside into a prayer, through lush chords and chains of suspensions, until we're left with gentle closing utterances of 'salve'.

Muhly: Small Raine



Bringing Bridge of Dreams to a close is Sherryl Sewepagaham's fantasy on the wind, "Yôtin." We recorded this with Sherryl singing and drumming, and this is the second piece for which we commissioned a visual representation by Lil'wat artist Sydney Frances Pickering.

About "Yôtin" Sherryl writes: 

Yôtin (The Wind) was inspired by watching the wind swirl leaves and debris.  I reflected on the wind, realizing that it can be gentle, playful, demanding, fierce, or biting.  Traditional Cree teachings about wind teach that the wind carries prayers and songs to others or the Creator.  Yôtin honours the wind and the gifts it brings.


Pickering writes:


This video is a landscape interpretation of Sherryl Sewepagaham’s “Yôtin”. The video footage in this piece was taken of the traditional territory of Lil’wat Nation, BC. I wanted to capture the different transitions of energy the wind can take and how it affects the environment around us, from the pushing of clouds in the sky to the dancing of trees in the forest. The video reflects the increasing intensity of the music, immersing viewers in the calmness of the trees surrounding a stream in the mountains, moving to the surrounding area and upwards beyond human reach, the wind being all-encompassing.

Sewepagaham: Yôtin
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