- Many Thousands Gone, for cello and voice, commission by Ellen Lindquist (2017)
The music of Ellen Lindquist is performed regularly throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe (Sweden, Norway, England, Scotland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria), and has also been performed in Australia, Cuba, South Korea, the Philippines, and South Africa. Discovery of unique sound-worlds through collaboration is central to Ellen’s work; several of her pieces involve dance, theater, poetry, and performance art. Ellen’s work has been heard at venues such as Carnegie Hall, The United Nations, and The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine (New York). Past commissions range from solo and chamber pieces to choral and orchestral works. Currently, Ellen is working on a new piece for music-theatre, Drömseminarium, produced by Companion Star, based on the work of Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer. She has served as composer-in-residence at Mälardalen University (Sweden), and has been invited for multiple residencies at the Visby International Centre for Composers (Sweden), the Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada). She now lives in Rissa, Norway and teaches composition at NTNU Department of music.
Lindquist says about Many Thousands Gone:
It is my response to the ongoing refugee crisis. This ‘story’, told with music and fragments of folksongs, is based on the enormous diversity of stories which I have learned from refugee friends, and read in the media. Those of us who have grown up in relatively peaceful countries cannot truly understand what it means to have to flee from one’s homeland. The closest I have come to understanding comes from my deep empathetic response — having a young child myself — to mothers who have fled with infants and young children. What must it be like to undertake such a journey while also doing your best to care for your children? I cannot imagine. This ‘story’ for cello and voice is told from the perspective of a mother, remembering. Fragments of two folksongs, one American and one Norwegian, are woven into the piece: Many Thousands Gone is an American slave spiritual from the mid-1800s, and ‘Vi har ei tulle’ by Margrethe Munthe about absolute love for one’s child.