Requiem for Peace reviewed by Robert Cooper

“ The moment the music began, even through to the next day, I was truly taken to a hundred other places…” 

“From the beginning note the men sang, through to that oh so beautiful and controlled last note of Fratres In Unum (how could one resolution almost make me cry!),  I knew this was very special…and already didn't ever want it to end!” 

“I have never enjoyed a concert more!  Have never seen an audience more moved!”

“I really enjoyed the challenge of singing in different languages and think the Nickel piece is a truly unique work that captures the choir's vision well as being a "transformational art". “

”We are in need of depth and substance in our society; I think our children are starved for experiences like this.  Hopefully, more people  will have a chance to hear this work.”

“I am searching for words to describe the effect on one's heart by the beauty and utter sadness of The Bugles Sang…at one point I felt shredded by sadness.”

 “…the music was sublime - truly a spiritual journey for me - and many a tear!”

“In Twenty Eight Bayonets I scribbled in my program: rich but soft and sweet...heart-rending, and sometimes surprisingly contemporary... heavenly!” 
“Reconciliation…I scribbled: 'it just keeps getting better... stopped breathing again'”

“How we need such a piece to surface a response to the seeming inevitability of war”

These are just some of the reactions received following our Toronto premiere of Dr. Larry Nickel’s profoundly moving Requiem For Peace. Embarking on a new score, by a less well-known Canadian composer, has its inherent risks but they are often outweighed by the rewards of discovery. Nickel’s Requiem For Peace is just such a work…worthy of discovery, over and over again. From the first rehearsal to the performance close, my singers were captivated by the score’s intent, engaged by its dramatic fervour, challenged by its musical demands, prodded by its philosophical message and deeply moved by its choral beauty.

Choral music has the unique capacity to be socially relevant while at the same time questioning of our values and uplifting to our spirits. Larry Nickel has dug deep into his own personal experiences and heritage to create a score which is both provocative and poignant. Through a succession of 15 movements Nickel has crafted a work rich in universal expressions of the eternal search for peace and the mindless futility of human conflict alongside specific and thoughtful interpolations from the Latin Requiem Mass for the Dead. In addition to a practical and highly innovative and complementary chamber ensemble orchestration there are several opportunities for skilled choral soloists to partake of this score’s musical riches.

Personally, I hated to ‘let go’ of the work after our two performances and so wished we could all have experienced it yet again.  That is the true testament of a works’ lasting durability. Larry Nickel’s  Requiem For Peace  deserves…nay NEEDS… to be performed and heard by all adventuresome choral musicians and enthusiasts alike! 

Robert Cooper

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