Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation (Live) Vancouver Symphony Orchestra & Bramwell Tovey

Album info



Label: Centrediscs

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Orchestral

Artist: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra & Bramwell Tovey

Composer: Jeffrey Ryan (1962)

Album including Album cover


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FLAC 44.1 $ 14.50
  • Jeffrey Ryan (b. 1962):
  • 1Ryan: Requiem Aeternam (Live)10:14
  • 2Ryan: Kyrie (Live)07:17
  • 3Ryan: Dies Irae (Live)05:34
  • 4Ryan: Offertorium (Live)07:53
  • 5Ryan: Sanctus (Live)06:11
  • 6Ryan: Agnus Dei (Live)04:54
  • 7Ryan: Lux Aeterna (Live)03:04
  • 8Ryan: Libera Me (Live)07:47
  • 9Ryan: In Paradisum (Live)07:52
  • Total Runtime01:00:46

Info for Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation (Live)

Most of us, certainly those of us in North America, experience war from a safe distance, through what we see on television and read in the media, while the reality of war happens far away. Poet Suzanne Steele, however, gained a unique firsthand perspective on war. As Canada’s first War Poet, Steele joined the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in 2009 during the war in Afghanistan, documenting her experiences in her poetry and at She saw the fear, the belief, and the sacrifice. She met people who did not come home alive. She met people who did come home, but broken, to a life shattered by post-traumatic stress disorder. She met their families, mourning, powerless. Her writings and experiences–stories we do not see on television or read in the media–provide the foundation for this hour-long concert work with music by Canadian composer Jeffrey Ryan.

Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation opens with an evocation of the space and calm of the North, and a prayer for healing lifted up to the starry night sky of the winter solstice. It quickly comes back to earth, and to Afghanistan, with the fractured memories of a soldier suffering from PTSD, living in the present but tortured by the past, the sound of helicopters ringing in his ears. As the work unfolds, a young soldier writes home during a cold Afghan night, the voices of parents and children echoing in his mind. In the Day of Wrath, apprehension turns to catastrophe seen first in slow motion, gradually speeding up to real time as a soldier, critically injured by an Improvised Explosive Device, is airlifted to emergency care. A lover mourns. A soldier is killed two days before the tour of duty ends. A body returns home. Two soldiers tell their story of a lamb. Children play, voices of light evoking a flock of birds flying freely overhead. A medic is overwhelmed by mounting casualties. A soldier seeks to be made whole again. In the final movement, the choir looks to an unknown future as the soloists remember past sacrifices, all coming together in a closing appeal for rest and peace.

Almost every generation has its war (or wars) that it carries as a scar forever. For Steele, this work is “a love letter. Not just to one person…but to each of us, to our country, and to a generation that will be paying for this war emotionally or financially (looking after the injured and next of kin) for another generation.” Afghanistan: Requiem for a Generation marks one particular war for one particular generation, but its message is universal and timeless.

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Bramwell Tovey, conductor

Bramwell Tovey
Born in East London, UK, his musical training began in Salvation Army bands. His talents took him from tuba, to piano, to conducting, and eventually attracted the attention of Leonard Bernstein who described him as his “hero.” Tovey’s musical legacy can be felt around the world, having led countless orchestras, ensembles and opera companies across Canada, the United States and Europe. During his career, he won a Juno award for his work as a composer and became the founding host and conductor of the New York Philharmonic’s Summertime Classics Festival as well as the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Principal Guest Conductor at the Hollywood Bowl. In 2013, Tovey was appointed an Honorary Officer of the Order of Canada for his achievements as a conductor and composer, and for his commitment to promoting new Canadian music.

His dedication and enthusiasm for building a strong community through music helped place the VSO at the heart of cultural life throughout the Lower Mainland. From 2000 to 2018, Bramwell led the VSO as its longest serving Music Director and was later appointed the orchestra’s Music Director Emeritus. Under his visionary leadership, the VSO won Grammy and Juno awards, and embarked on ambitious tours of China, Korea, the United States, and Canada. His commitment to music education led to the establishment of the VSO School of Music now in its 12th year and The Tovey Centre for Music. This legacy as the school’s founder and Artistic Director continues to impact thousands of students every year, nurturing musical appreciation and generations of emerging artists.

“The world has lost an incredible musician, Maestro, educator, activist and giant of a human being. We at the VSO and the VSO School of Music are shattered and heartbroken,” said Angela Elster, President and CEO of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the VSO School of Music. “Bramwell Tovey’s legacy as Music Director of the VSO changed the landscape of music, arts and culture in British Columbia. For 18 years he was a valued friend and colleague, a driver of change and a unique person of brilliance, humor, generosity, and sincerity. As one of the key founders of the VSO School of Music, Maestro Tovey’s legacy lives on at the Tovey Centre for Music where the next generation of fine young musicians and music lovers are developing outstanding musicianship and artistic integrity. In all the many years I have known Bramwell I have witnessed his unwavering commitment to both music education and to artistic excellence – which he valued equally. His passing is an unthinkable loss to our sector, to the VSO and VSO School of Music, and to all whose lives he touched so deeply.”

“There are no words to describe the legacy that Maestro Tovey has left the city of Vancouver,” shared Etienne Bruson, Board Chair of the VSO. “His artistic vision has left a lasting impression on the orchestra, and his passion for music education will continue to live on through The Tovey Centre for Music at the VSO School of Music, and future generations of students and music lovers. Our thoughts are with his family, the musicians of the VSO, and all those whose lives have been transformed by his generosity and inspirational leadership.”

This album contains no booklet.

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