Emily Carr String Quartet | Portraits

Release Date: January 26, 2024

UPC: 710497080057


Audio – HD(.zip)

Cover Art(.jpg)

Booklet [French] – (PDF)

Catalog Number: CD02

This ECSQ album is inspired by the work of Emily Carr. It is through her painting and her words that we have gained insight into her life as an artist. It is through music, one of the most abstract of art forms, that we can connect ourselves to her. The rhythm of a piece can be likened to the movement of brush strokes. The musical notes can be described as the pigments of colour chosen to convey the deep, dark and wild nuances of B.C’s coastal rainforest. Musical phrases can begin to suggest Emily’s connection with the land and the First Nations she was friends with. Iman Habibi, Jared Miller, Jocelyn Morlock and Tobin Stokes all represent Emily Carr in different ways, each creating their own portrait of Emily Carr. We are excited to share this album of new music inspired by Canada’s most iconic female artist.

Album Notes

Feathers: Emily Carr’s written world is peppered with whimsy and humour. She shares her joy of animals, plants, and surroundings throughout her writing. Everything is alive! It’s fun exploring her specific delight in birds through music, and there’s endless vignettes to draw from. Selected quotes about birds are from Hundreds and thousands: the journals of Emily Carr (1966) by Emily Carr, Pause: an Emily Carr Sketchbook (1953) by Emily Carr, and Emily Carr: An introduction to her Life and Art by Anne Newlands (1996). – Tobin Stokes. This piece was commissioned by the Emily Carr String Quartet Society with generous support of the British Columbia Arts Council, 2012.

Big Raven: I’m fascinated by Emily Carr’s paintings, and also by her writings about them: her need to saturate her work with strong emotion matches my own desire. Of Big Raven, the painting that is the focus of this quartet, she wrote “I want to bring great loneliness to this canvas and haunting broodiness, quiet and powerful.” (Hundreds and thousands: the journals of Emily Carr.) In my quartet, Big Raven, there is a great deal of contrast – the music moves between mournful, lonely passages and much more energetic, frenetic stretches. At the centre of the work is an elegiac section that traverses the entire range of all four instruments, and is the formal and emotional heart of the piece. – Jocelyn Morlock. This piece was commissioned by the Emily Carr String Quartet Society with generous support from the British Columbia Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts in 2015.

Strangled by Growth: Carr’s seamless integration of both natural and human elements has captivated me on many occasions and her painting Strangled by Growth (1931) is no exception. In it, there seems to be an initial juxtaposition; a construction of humankind (a totem pole) residing in the natural world (a forest). Yet, the expression on the face of the totem pole and the animated quality of the trees convey a lively interaction between the two forces. As such, a synthesis occurs between human and natural elements, despite their initial contrast. To evoke this musically, I used a number of unconventional string-playing techniques to colour my own harmonic and melodic material. As a result, the listener will hear a piece that begins placidly but gradually becomes increasingly wild as more natural and artificial harmonics emerge from its texture, ultimately culminating in a dramatic climax. – Jared Miller. This piece was commissioned by the Emily Carr String Quartet Society with generous support from the British Columbia Arts Council in 2016.

Beloved of the Sky: Inspired by the iconic Canadian artist, Emily Carr, each movement of this piece either pays tribute to one of her paintings or captures a predominant theme that many of her works share. Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky is the title of a powerful painting by Emily Carr, one that made a strong impression on me when I first saw it at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and is the inspiration behind the second movement of the piece. Emily Carr’s paintings transport me to her natural world, reminding me that we are not just connected to nature, but that we are nature herself. In the first movement, I visit the sense of wonder and bewilderment her paintings of dense forests convey. Woo was Emily Carr’s infamous pet monkey, and the final movement is an inward reflection, inspired by her 1939 self-portrait. – Iman Habibi. This piece was completed in 2019 and dedicated to the Emily Carr String Quartet.

Klee Wyck: These short works by Tobin Stokes, are each inspired by text extracted chronologically from Klee Wyck by Emily Carr (1941). They are part of the complete work “Stories from Klee Wyck” commissioned by the Victoria Symphony in 2011 for Orchestra, String Quartet, Mezzo-soprano, and Narrator. The addition of “Friends” to the suite was commissioned by the Emily Carr String Quartet Society in 2023.