What is a Country

(1992) 21 min.

Flute/alto flute, bass clarinet, violin, viola, violoncello, double bass, piano, percussion.


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'What is a Country' was written in 1992 while I was spending a sabbatical year in Europe. During this period constitutional talks were proceeding (and failing) in Canada. The work reflects my concern for the possible breakup of my country. It is completely based on a a truncation of the last two phrases of our national anthem 'O Canada' (although there is only one point in the piece where this is obvious). The piece is composed of small fragments which seem not so much to belong to each other as to co-exist through sheer association and repetition.

'What is a Country' was commissioned by Vancouver New Music through the assistance of the Canada Council.

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