World Premiere recording with scrolling score – release scheduled for 23h45m December 24, 2022
SILVER ANGEL  for solo bassoon and string orchestra by Constantine Caravassilis
I. Prayer Among the Ruins
2. A New Dawn Nadina Mackie, solo bassoon Constantine Caravassilis, conductor
Notes by Composer [all credits below]
SILVER ANGEL is a two-movement concerto for solo bassoon and string orchestra, commissioned by the Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra (Ottawa) and premiered by soloist Nadina Mackie. The project was initiated by conductor Kevin Mallon, generously supported by an Ontario Arts Council Commissioning Grant.
The title references Archangel Gabriel, an important figure featured in both the Old and New Testaments, also very prominent in the Islamic tradition (referred to as Jibra’il). Both in Christianity and in Islam, Gabriel has the role of the messenger to various prophets and to specific people. The bassoonist embodies the role of the messenger in the concerto and ‘silver’ refers to one Nadina’s extraordinary concert outfits, an element of this artist that is as well-known as her virtuosity.
The first movement, Prayer Among the Ruins, is a requiem to the lives lost in the Middle East during the catastrophic events of 2014-2015, composed while members of the ISIS were beheading people and destroying a number of ancient ruins, including the ancient Assyrian city of Nimrud. With the reports of these violent events, my late grandmother’s health started to deteriorate rapidly, bringing a number of her stories related to the Nazi occupation in Greece to the surface. The contemporary events and my grandmother’s memoirs are reflected in the music with the requiem being interrupted by the voice of the Archangel introducing us to sounds from the Eastern Mediterranean, Asia Minor and Middle Eastern regions, signalling a desideratum for peace among all nations and peoples. Tragedy dominates and the orchestra interrupts the voice of the Archangel with a number of passionate and violent passages.
The fast second movement is New Dawn and the message of hope permeates throughout. This movement was completed on the very day that my grandmother’s death was announced, and uses the melody from one of her own songs that she sung to her grandchildren. To celebrate a long life of a very positive, energetic and cheerful person, I turned my grandmother’s melody to a Manheim rocket and used a number of western musical elements including baroque, jazz and a touch of tango, all of which culminate to a joyful dance, just as she would have liked it. A number of sarcastic entrances from the bassoon are in place to lighten the atmosphere created by the first movement. Just before this big feast comes to an end, we are reminded of the struggles of the past through interjections of deeply-felt laments reminiscent of ecclesiastical music from the Byzantine era.
SILVER ANGEL is dedicated in loving memory to Maria Caravassilis (1920-2015).
Constantine Caravassilis, Toronto, May 2015/2022
Constantine Caravassilis, composer and conductor
Nadina Mackie Jackson, solo bassoon
CREDITS Robert DiVito, Society of Sound – Recording, mix and mastering engineer Keith Horner – Producer Dennis Kwok – Video editor Nadina Mackie Jackson – Executive Producer Commissioned by Thirteen Strings, Ottawa Kevin Mallon, conductor Funded by the Ontario Arts Council Commissioning Grant Published by Pythagorean Editions SILVER ANGEL ORCHESTRA Violin 1 – Rebecca MacLeod Violin 2 – Bijan Sepanji Violin 3 – Steve Sang Koh Violin 4 – Brenna Hardy-Kavanagh Violin 5 – Amy Spurr Violin 6 – Charna Matsushige Violin 7 – Jennifer Murphy Violin 8 – Alice Hong Viola 1 – Rory McLeod Viola 2 –(Alex McLeod Cello 1 – Bryan Lu Cello 2 – Amahl Arulanandam Bass: Joe Phillips and Theo Chan Premiered by Nadina Mackie Jackson and Thirteen Strings, Kevin Mallon, conductor June 12, 2015, Ottawa Toronto premiere, October 24, 2016, Nadina Mackie Jackson and the SILVER ANGEL Out Of This World Orchestra, Constantine Caravassilis, conductor Recorded at Heliconian Hall, Toronto, October 23, 2016 Robert di Vito SOCIETY OF SOUND recording equipment tracked using DPA, Schoeps and Royer microphones through Millennia, Neve, Cranesong, Earlybird and NPNG preamps. ADDA converters by Apogee.
Nadina is playing Heckel #15202