Composed by Elizabeth Raum; Performed by Alexander Panizza, piano Video and audio recording and editing by Alexander Panizza. Post-Porduction video editing by Eero Daniel-Raum
Programme notes from the composer: Jane Gordon, the lady for whom Mutability was written, commissioned this piece as a present to herself for her 60th birthday. The reason for the commission is best described in her own words. The following is a letter I received from Jane on July 2, 2002: “In my non-musical life I am a professor of Sociology and Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. Although I had piano lessons as a child, I gave it up as soon as I could. However, I kept the piano and the books and at age 55 (after I’d finished years of paying for my children’s lessons, from the cultural to the athletic) I decided it was my turn and I started piano again. In my scholarly work, I have spent most of my academic career looking at issues around women’s lives, particularly the paid and unpaid work women do, in the academy and in the home and my research is tied to my teaching areas, primarily the family and work. …as a tie in with my academic interests, I began to learn what I could by Canadian women composers. Last year, as part of the Mount’s celebration of International Women’s Week, I arranged a short performance and lecture called “Canadian Women of Note”. In my recent Grade 7 exam I did (from the old Royal Conservatory syllabus) a study by Nancy Telfer and “Sparks” by Barbara Pentland. In my observation, the experience of women composers parallels that of women in other professional areas: less visible, less valued. I try to use my music (and I am really just an intermediate level student) to share the work of contemporary Canadian women composers, though most of the ‘sharing’ is recitals organized by my teacher and university based opportunities, such as the community hobby and talent show.” Before I began working on this piece for Jane, I found myself drawn to a book of poems by Shelley and upon opening it, the first poem that caught my eye was Mutability. This poem became the inspiration for Jane’s new work for piano.
MUTABILITY — by Percy Bysshe Shelley
We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly! -yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost for ever:
Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.
We rest. A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise. One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:
It is the same! For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free:
Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutablilty.
For more information on the composer, Elizabeth Raum: https://elizabethraum.com/.
For more information on the pianist, Alexander Panizza: http://alexanderpanizza.com/.