Brahm Goldhamer, Meredith Hall and Frank Horvat

FRACTURES Rehearsal

After a year of creative work together, it was such a pleasure for me to attend the rehearsals of my good friend and acclaimed soprano, Meredith Hall, and eminent collaborative pianist and vocal coach, Brahm Goldhamer.

Meredith is rehearsing a large-scale song cycle for voice and piano that I composed for her called Fractures. The creative phase was a wonderful time in that I shared the 13 songs and got her feedback as I completed each. That part of our collaboration was possible thanks to the Ontario Arts Council‘s funding of Meredith’s commission.

Hearing Meredith sing these songs for the first time moved me to tears. This is heavy subject matter, yet she conveys the music with beauty, grace and a dramatic presence. Composing vocal music has become a bigger part of my life only in these past handful of years. I’m happy it has. The singing voice has a special way of conveying our human condition and I’m so honoured to have the opportunity to be part of that process.

In the coming months, Meredith and Brahm will present intimate workshop performances of the work. Thanks to a Canada Council for the Arts and a FACTOR grant, we will also be recording an album of the songs in 2023.

Fractures is based on the destructive environmental practice of fracking. Never heard of fracking? Watch this short (and objective) video about how it works and the detrimental impact it has on the environment…

I am grateful that the following American and Canadian poets have allowed me to set their poignant stories and perspectives about fracking to music:

Kathleen Burke, Michelle Donahue, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Lilace Mellin Guignard, Wayne Mennecke, Rachel Morgan, Mary Heather Noble, Christine Pennylegion, Michelle Regalado Deatrick, Stephanie Schultz, Mark Trechock, Susan Truxell Sauter

The idea for this project first started to percolate in 2016 when I was giving a presentation about environmental music at the Canadian New Music Network (CNMN) Forum in Ottawa and I chatted with Suzie LeBlanc, another great Canadian soprano. I then found the FRACTURE anthology (essays, poems and stories on fracking in America), and it all started coming together.

Fracking is an issue that often flies under the radar in the discussion about energy options since natural gas burns “cleaner” than other fossil fuels. But in my research and in preparation for this project, I’ve learned that the resources required to extract natural gas through hydraulic fracturing are staggering and the impact it has on the land and people who live around fracking operations is truly heartbreaking. My hope is that our song cycle will humanize the issue and tell the stories of these people.

Message from Meredith:

I am honoured and excited to be collaborating with Frank for FRACTURES. To create new art which focuses attention on fracking is both daunting and invigorating.

Artistically, I want to use my skills as a singer to reveal truths about the environmental impacts of fracking. I wish to communicate a wide range of human emotions and ideas on the subject, to sing with empathy for both sides of the controversy.

Frank is a dream collaborator. His music is sensitive, beautiful and powerful. It draws from the deep sincerity of his convictions, and his passionate desire to bring awareness to important subjects.

Personally, I hope that by joining my voice to Frank’s music, I can move hearts and minds and inspire people to take action on climate change. I am a mother and I feel such fear and grief and shame for the irreparable environmental damage my generation has not prevented. But I also feel that both courage and hopeful actions are required of me. This project gives me a rare chance to create truly meaningful art that will, I hope, motivate humans to do better.

– Meredith Hall

FRACTURES by Frank Horvat, with Meredith Hall

One Response to “FRACTURES Rehearsal”

  1. Christine Pennylegion November 25, 2022 at 12:27 pm #

    Very exciting — I can’t wait until we can hear them too!

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