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A few years ago, I was asked to write a piece by Sachi and Raymond Moriyama. When I requested a title to work with, Raymond immediately said “Regeneration”. The reasons for this gradually became clear as he began work on the designing of the new Canadian War Museum where regeneration, as it turned out, was to be an important theme. The act of composing Regeneration became caught up in my own response to the larger concept of war and the ways in which it touches us all.
When I started work, I wrote what are now Parts II and III (Darkening Clouds and Conflict). However, conversations over this period with Raymond about his experiences, the rediscovery of my grandfather’s WWI diary and a trip to the (now completed) museum made me realize that what I had written was only part of a larger whole. The Tree House was inspired by Raymond’s reminiscences (which he talks about in In Search of a Soul, his book about the museum) and became the opening theme, representing a time of peace. Time spent amidst the exhibits at the museum itself led to the expression of the chaos of war represented in the section Final Confrontation. I originally intended to follow Final Confrontation with The Tree House(peace after war) to end the suite. Raymond’s emphasis on the importance of regeneration and rebuilding after the end of war made me realize a theme was needed to provide a bridge between the two. After several unsuccessful attempts, I remembered a short four-bar fragment I had written in the early 1970s but had never been able to work into a whole composition. It took 30 years for that fragment to reach completion as Recovery. Strangely enough, the last section to be added was the first to be written.
After the Canadian War Museum was completed, Raymond Moriyama wrote the book In Search of a Soul (Douglas & McIntyre: 2006) about its design and realization. Within a few days of reading the book, this composition ‘appeared’. It seems to me to serve as a fitting epilogue to Regeneration
Spirit Owl was inspired by a sculpture by the wonderful Inuit artist Turataga Ragee. Palacio was written in memory of the late Andy Palacio, one of the “fathers” of punta rock.