2014 – two flutes & pre-recorded audio/electronics – 10:55
World Premiere: August 26, 2014, London, UK
Samantha Chang (flute)
Christopher Lee (flute)
Canadian Premiere: June 18, 2017, Toronto
Christopher Lee (flute)
Vincenzo Volpe (flute)
coming Fall 2017
(please ask if you require it before then)
The issue of LGBTQ discrimination in Russia was never very prevalent on my social justice radar. After all, I’m straight, not gay. I live in a country where (I hope) my gay friends have the same rights I do. Meanwhile I’d never even been to Russia, which seems so far away from my everyday thoughts and life.
But then Western news reports started to surface in 2011 about archaic laws being enacted in Russia that seemed to be taking away the rights of LGBTQ Russians. Then in the summer of 2013, I had the opportunity to meet the Toronto flutists, Christopher Lee and Samantha Chang. We discussed a collaboration where I would compose something for them to perform. I asked them if there was anything that was gripping them emotionally these days. Without hesitation, Chris passionately talked about LGBTQ discrimination in Russia. I was immediately captivated and instantly felt that I could communicate this issue through a music-like documentary, as I’ve done with other compositions on important issues.
Chris introduced me to Alex and Yury, gay Russian immigrants to Canada. We interviewed them. They graciously shared their experiences of growing up gay in Russia and shared their perspectives behind the political and cultural climate that nurtures such discrimination in their homeland. The interviews were recorded by phone and the audio was incorporated into the composition itself.
Musically, the piece is very much inspired by EDM, especially at the beginning. I found the musical paradox interesting in exploring such a serious issue with something normally associated with fun and dance. Gradually as the piece progresses, the tone gets more somber and serious. Especially as the piece enters the middle section where our protagonists discuss Russian politics and culture, then share particularly tragic stories of abuse and murder. The very end is purposely gentle with the sounds of the ocean along a seashore…a place where one can feel solace and freedom. After learning so much more about this issue working on this piece, solace and freedom is something that I truly wish all those discriminated against in Russia and around the world get to feel one day.
– Frank Horvat