LAKE SUPERIOR SUITE


  • Wind Ensemble B500 / Grade 5
  • Duration: 19 minutes
  • Premiere performance by the University of Toronto Wind Ensemble, directed by Dr. Gillian MacKay, February 2018
  • View perusal score
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Lake Superior Suite is a five-movement piece for wind band, inspired by the landscapes of five provincial and national parks on the north shore of Lake Superior. The piece was conceptualized during camping trips at each of the parks, and was finalized during the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation. The creation of this work was intended, in part, to expose listeners and performers to local natural wonders through music.

The opening movement, Pancake Bay, depicts endlessly flowing waves, soaring birds, peaceful rays of light, and the first glimpse of the vastness of Lake Superior. Pancake Bay Provincial Park is situated on a wide bay that offers stunning panoramic views of the lake.

Pukaskwa National Park is on the northeast shore of the lake, and features towering cliffs and rocky shores with century-old driftwood. Through meter changes and driving ostinatos,  the music in Pukakswa represents the sense of wonder, adventure, and determination involved in hiking precarious cliffs to breathtaking views.
 

Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, the northernmost park included in this piece, is named after a landform that resembles a giant lying on its back. This is the park in which the composer interacted with the most wildlife, experienced the most extreme jaw-dropping views, and witnessed the most beautiful moments in nature. Sleeping Giant’s disjunct melodies, shifts in timbre, and unexpected rhythmic patterns represent this experience.

Neys Provincial Park, a former WWII prisoner of war camp and processing camp for interned Japanese-Canadians, has a somewhat dark history. Much of the natural growth forest was cut down to build the POW camp, and trees were later re-planted in rows. Slow and steady melodic fragments represent the solemn voices of this beautiful but remote location, while the gradual build toward the climax evokes feelings of destruction, anguish, and yearning for peace. Neys is dedicated with love to the composer’s grandparents.

The final movement, Agawa Bay, is named after a campground within Lake Superior Provincial Park. The music portrays the serenity of calm evening water, and the mixed emotions about returning home after a life-changing journey.