War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

More reviews!

I must admit that I approached the piece with some trepidation, fearing it would either drip with sentimentality or (worse) would offer some kind of post-modern critique of war. But Afghanistan does neither; rather, it presents the war in Afghanistan – to which Canada contributed 40,000 soldiers between 2001 and 2014 – in an immediate, personal, and visceral way. Steele was there, in the thick of the conflict, as Canada’s first official “war poet.” Her poetry, derived from what she saw and heard, captures the chaos and pain of battle firsthand, in short, jagged lines such as “fatigue, despair, ricochet, near miss, putrid, poison, lousy air.”

~ Colin Eatock, Classical Voice North America

Here is another very positive review of Jeff Ryan and my war requiem. While I am always grateful for these positive reviews, I find them often frustrating as they fail to recognise my role in the creation of the work and designate me solely as librettist. This is one of the mysteries of the classical music world wherein a composer such as John Adams holds copywrite for the libretto of his latest piece, Girls of the Golden West, and everyone refers to it as John Adams’ opera, even though Peter Sellars did the research, dramaturgy, most of the libretto, the artistic direction and stage direction of the piece.

In the case of Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation, read the letter to the editor that I wrote and that was appended to the review. Jeff and I were partners in this project that I conceived of, that I wrote, chose the requiem mass form, the Latin text, etc. etc. He did a FANTASTIC job of bringing my vision to fruition and I must add that he always acknowledges my role in the work and how the work came about. It was a collaboration in which he advised me on some textual issues and I advised him on some musical ideas (e.g. the sound of helicopters, the use of morse code SOS in the Dies Irae, etc.). As a creator I find this corrosive to one’s spirit to be relegated to a subordinate spot, particularly as I literally put my life at risk for this work.

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled More reviews!. It was posted here on November 22, 2017.


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