“Music begins where the possibilities of language end.” – Jean Sibelius
Written by the incredible Brian Finley between 1998 and 2016, Preludes to Canada is a 13-movement journey across Canada. One of our favourite pieces is “Mount Carmel”, which Brian composed after visiting the small town of Carmel, Saskatchewan.
The story behind the piece:
Saskatchewan is not known for its mountains! But rising just behind the tiny town of Carmel (close to Humboldt), is Mount Carmel on top of which is a shrine to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. From this vantage point, one can look out for miles over the seemingly infinite and stunningly beautiful prairies. Yet it is not just the land which is so remarkable, it is also the endless sky! Always changing, the sky is alive with colour and energy; with the sun’s help, it seems to animate the fields below. From this vantage point, it is an unforgettable experience to witness a distant rainstorm gather, unleash its torrent and dissipate – all without a sound. This is Mount Carmel, Saskatchewan.
More about Brian:
Brian Finley enjoys a multi-faceted career as a composer, pianist, director and impresario. In addition to several works for the stage, Brian’s compositions include music for piano, voice, choral works and arrangements for full symphony orchestra. He has written and produced several full-length opera-musicals including SAMSOM (2001), Rapunzel (2005), and The Selfish Giant (2010) and most recently, an opera based on his own original story The Pencil Salesman inspired and commissioned by Dr. Agnes M. Herzberg (2016).
As a pianist, Brian has performed with orchestras from Dallas to Calgary as well as at the Olympic Music Festival in Washington, Wigmore Hall in London, England, and the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. Having appeared in over 10 international piano competitions including the 8th Internatinoal Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow, he won the third prize in the AMSA International Competition in Cincinnati as well as the Gina Bachauer Award in Dallas. His recordings include solo piano music from Wigmore Hall, three critically acclaimed CDs with his wife, soprano Donna Bennett as well as world premiere recordings of his Requiem for a Millennium (1999) and Rapunzel (2005).
Brian and Donna were both appointed Members of the Order of Canada in 2017 for their dedication to fostering the performing arts, musical education and community building in rural Ontario. Learn more: www.westben.ca