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About the work:
This work is based on the well-known ground ‘When I am laid in earth’ from Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas. The original aria appears either fragmented or in its entirety and with varying degrees of comprehensibility throughout the piece. Its harmony and accompaniment are nearly always preserved, but they are masked by superimposed music drawn predominantly from the early part of the twentieth century and by complex sound textures resulting from the use of extended woodwind techniques. Formally, the piece is a series of musical and sonic ‘wanderings’ with Purcell’s original acting as a point for departure and arrival. The title – a pun – refers to the emotional as well as the formal character of the work.
The composer writes: ‘Burial Ground was commissioned by 5th Species, an innovative woodwind quintet based in Toronto. It is dedicated to the memory of my late friend Chari Polatos who was killed in a car crash on the night of 7 May, 1992 on his way home from a 5th Species concert. A self-taught singer and instrumentalist of extraordinary talent, Chari was a unique individual. His idiosyncratic temperament and controversial ideas on life and art have been a standard against which I had to measure myself as an artist and as a person for the better part of a decade. My musical choices in Burial Ground were triggered by memories from this friendship and by the text of the original aria.’