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Thomas Joseph Gerard Victory
1921 - 1995
Ireland
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Th.J.G. Victory
Gerard Victory (24/12/1921 - 14/03/1995), an Irish composer, born in Dublin. What we have in Gerard Victory is a largely unknown but distinguished and prolific composer. He has nine operas, nine works for solo instrument and orchestra, much choral and vocal music, chamber music and songs to his name. Above all, he has a marvellous and unfailing capacity for communication to which all his works testify.
Ultima rerum
Period:Modernism
Composed in:1981
Musical form:free
Text/libretto:Latin mass + texts from the Koran, Navajo Indians, Norse Edda, Flecker, Blake, Whitman, Leopardi and Tennyson
Duration:97'51''
Label(s):Marco Polo 8.223532-3
On 2 March 1984 the National Concert Hall in Dublin witnessed the first performance of the mammoth ten movement Ultima rerum which the composer described as a "global Requiem Symphony reaching beyond the traditional framework and covering a wide span of human thought on the subject of death and its aftermath". The framework is the traditional requiem of the Roman Ritual with additional texts including the comments of non-Christian religion with quotations from the Koran, the Navajo Indians, the Norse Edda and the fantastic apocalyptic poetry of James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915), an English poet, William Blake (1757-1827), an English poet and Walt Whitman (1819-1892), an American poet; elegiac writings from the ritualistic poems of the Italian sceptic Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837) to the poignant "In Memoriam" of Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892), an English poet. Old Irish visionary literature appears in lines from "Tidings of Doomsday” in Lebor na hUidhre. The inclusion of such varied material may be worrying because it is unartistically unnatural and in any long work interest can be adversely affected by the diversity of material as well as the quality and changing styles of the music. For example, many admit that the symphonies of such figures as Mahler and Bruckner have superb moments but also passages that if they were not included would enhance enjoyment and overall continuitv of such works. Ultima rerum may be an unequal work but it is a magnificent achievement and concept. Many present at its first performance hailed it as “a sublime experience" even if it was sometimes a flawed rendering of the score. Perhaps the truly memorable moments of this work - and there are many - make up for the less-than-satisfactory passages. For example, some will prefer the superior power and drama of Verdi's "Dies irae" to Victory's. Yet for all this it is a compassionate and human work receiving lavish praise in the Irish press.
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J.E. Flecker
(text)
W. Blake
(text)
W. Whitman
(text)
G. Leopardi
(text)
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A. Tennyson
(text)