Several years ago, Alberta poet Elly van Mourik invited Peter to write music to accompany her poetry, with the intention of recording it on a CD. They recorded the CD in 2003 in Leacock Theatre at Mount Royal College Conservatory, using their lovely Fazioli 308 piano. Elly decided to include a 24 page booklet with her poetry written out, and beautifully accompanied by watercolours by Alberta artist Anke Klapp. Elly decided to call the CD, “Oh Evergreens”, because of her love for the evergreen trees growing around her home in Sundre, Alberta. Below is a short description Peter wrote about the music for the CD booklet.
About the Music
My path crossed that of Elly van Mourik’s several times in the years that I have lived in Alberta. I first met her at a music festival in Olds. She invited me back the following year to give a masterclass for local piano students. We would occasionally see each other at concerts in Calgary. We met again at a reception at the Banff Center, and she mentioned that she was writing poetry. I asked to see it, and some time later, a package appeared in our mailbox. I read through her poetry, and loved it. In her words, I felt the passion and conviction that I recognized in her manner – she is a small, very intense and energetic woman with a delightful Dutch accent – but beneath that intensity, I detected a wonderful sense of calm and tranquillity. This is the message her poetry sends to me: a passionate, intense, almost militant call for peace, harmony and simplicity. I immediately composed a song to one of the poems (an early version of Time Before Ages) and sent it to her. She invited me to compose some piano music to accompany a set of poems she calls “Oh Evergreens” and I agreed. With alacrity.