New Zealand String Quartet with James Campbell, clarinet
Raven and the First Men - String Quartet, Clarinet, Film
Sample on vimeo... Raven's Flight - 3 min, 12 sec
The music for Raven and the First Men responds to Bill Reid's monumental sculpture of the same title shown on the back of the (old) Canadian $20 bill (bottom left corner). Reid's remarkable work of art is currently housed at Vancouver's Museum of Anthropology where composer Timothy Corlis spent many hours contemplating its message, a story that takes us back to the very first moment in history, a moment when an enormous raven opened up a clamshell and found little men hiding inside. These, according to the ancient Haida legend, were the first human beings.
In our modern artistic landscape, Bill Reid has become a cultural icon. His works draw on the rich tradition of Northwest Coast First Nations carving and because of this, they offer a unique window into Bill's lifelong quest to build a bridge between traditional Native artistry and modern Western culture. While his career was controversial, he remained a spokesperson for openness to deep forms of communication across boundaries of culture, place, and time. [information courtesy of the composer]
sample on vimeo ... Bird Sanctuary 2
sample on vimeo ... Hands
sample on vimeo ... Bird Sanctuary 3
About composer Timothy Corlis
About Raven and the First Men sculpture
About sculptor Bill Reid
More photos of the sculpture
The sculpture was created from a four-and-a half ton cube of 106 laminated beams of yellow cedar. It took several years to complete and was finished in 1980.
Middle C Classical Music Reviews, Wellington, New Zealand
"fluid and energetic... uncommon eloquence"
New York Times
" ...the Kiwis rivaled the excellence of leading international string quartets...they let the lyrical music ebb and flow with warm tone and beautiful balance. The ensemble was cohesive, the energy positive."
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"a performance both stern and exhilarating, with clearly delineated contrapuntal lines."
"the New Zealanders' confidence as ensemble players permits a flexible approach; the rhythmic momentum is never destroyed, but bends a little so that the characters of the different motifs can be enhanced."
New York Times
"The absolutely perfect ensemble, the outstanding technical skills and the passionate playing ... made the concert an extraordinary experience."
Rheinische Post, Germany