Music and the divine presence (1)
Spiritual Toronto lovers of creative expression take note – an evening of music and poetry featuring the works of three young Toronto composers and a poet will take place at the famed and intimate Heliconian Hall (35 Hazelton Avenue, near Bloor St. and Avenue Rd.) on March 18th at 7:30 PM. Riho Esko Maimets, Caleb Chan and Mitch Renaud are all fellow students at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Music, in the composition program. The first two are in the Masters program while Renaud is an undergraduate. Their works will be performed by guitarist Patrick Power, Kaili Maimets, flute, and Étienne Levesque, percussion. Local poet Lara Bozabalian rounds out the bill.
Riho Esko Maimets musing during the January “Ilutuli” performance of poetry and music at Tartu College. Photo: Ellen Valter
Our readers are familiar with Riho Esko Maimets, whose star has been on the rise as the heir apparent to our numbers of respected Estonian Canadian composers, the vast majority of whom are of the generation born in Estonia which had to flee communism. Maimets thus represents the picking up of the torch, already capably done by Canadian born Omar Daniel and others. At 23 years of age his success internationally is remarkable.
The program features 3 works by Maimets, including the world première of contemplation for flute, marimba and electric guitar. His solo guitar work Aftermath was premièred in Estonia in December 2010 by guitarist Dmitri Timoshenko and has subsequently been performed in Canada and Finland. The final work by the Estonian-Canadian is lumena, the title is translated by the composer into English as “when I was snow.” This composition for flute and electric guitar has already been performed in Canada and is set to receive performances in Estonia in April. Aftermath will be performed on March 23rd in Tallinn during the festival Eesti Muusika Päevad.
Caleb Chan notes eclectic influences on his compositions, among them traditional Chinese music, popular western music and Christian spirituality. The program includes his Flesh of my flesh for marimba and flute as well as a yet untitled trio for electric guitar, percussion and flute.
Mitch Renaud is the only undergraduate composition student featured on March 18th. His Breathing patterns and the differences between… for guitar, flute and marimba was inspired by the “unrequited love between Ludwig van Beethoven and a woman named Josephine.” Renaud’s work is driven by “combining the visceral and intellectual aspects of music.” He replicates the effects of electronic music with acoustic instruments, noting the influences of American minimalism and post-minimalism as well as European modernism on his work.
Riho Maimets noted in a recent discussion that during his extended period of study in Estonia (2006-2010) he became very immersed in the ancient culture of his Estonian forebears and of the Old World, This immersion would not have been possible in the New World, where it seems that roots are often forgotten and where the concept of time is much more limited.
Maimets believes that he is “but one small part of a heritage that extends back millennia,” through this life is given deeper meaning. He adds that he is very moved by being one tiny part of something that is eternal. That thought provides the composer great comfort, and he wants to extend that feeling of consolation and beauty to his listeners. Maimets believes that every single person has a heritage and is a part of something much greater than can be sensed.
When posed the challenge to summarize his source of inspiration when composing, Riho Esko Maimets struck a pensive pose, very much like seen on the accompanying photo here, before replying: “I believe that some music sheds light on the divine presence.”
Tickets are available at the door, with student admission at $10, $20 for adults.