The Road to Peace: A Reflection on the Relocation of the Russian Mennonites is a composition by Professor Emeritus Leonard Enns.
Here are his notes:
Much of the Cello Sonata was drafted in October 2005, at a cottage in the Ontario Muskokas where I spent a week on a composition retreat during a sabbatical year. I had been thinking of the road from pain and suffering to hope and celebration. My goal for that sabbatical had been to begin sketching an oratorio on the plight of the "Russian Mennonites", reflecting the violence of the revolutionary times, the agony of relocation, and the challenge and joy of establishing new communities in a foreign land. In the end, I postponed this large plan, and rather set out to write a number of smaller works influenced by the dynamic of that narrative, one of them being the Cello Sonata.
Two months earlier that summer I had visited Tiegenhagen in the Ukraine, my mother's childhood village. Through there was no remaining trace of the house and yard at the site, here was the home of her story, beginning with childhood years in a revolutionary Russia, before her family fled for refuge to a new homeland in North America in 1924. None of that history is explicitly part of the Sonata, but traces of the emotional/spiritual narrative come through: the first movement expresses grief and pain; the second movement, "Hymn and Variations", is hopeful with an almost giddy excitement in some of its variations; the third movement is a celebration - it is a Rondo, the joyful nature of its rustic refrains tempered by episodes recalling, in turn, the intensity of the first movement, and the hymn-like confidence of the second. In the end, though, it is the rustic theme--an almost peasant-like celebration--that wins out.
The work is unapologetically melodic, relative to the huge body of material for solo cello that has appeared in recent decades. In this, perhaps, the Sonata reflects my personal history of choral and congregational singing - of music as a voice of lament, healing, and celebration. I have always loved the cello, in my imagination it is a human voice.
The Sonata is dedicated to cellist Ben Bolt Martin, who premiered it in Waterloo, Ontario on 7 February 2007. Leonard Enns website
Miriam Stewart-Kroeker, a well-known local cellist will be performing this solo piece. She is a native of Hamilton, Ontario, where she began her studies at the age of 5. She studied with Paul Pulford and the Penderecki String Quartet at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she received an Honours Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance as well as a Diploma in Chamber Music Performance. She went on to complete a Master’s degree in Cello Performance at McGill University under the direction of Matt Haimovitz. She recently joined the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony cello section in January 2020.
On top of performing with various orchestras throughout Ontario, Miriam is an active chamber musician. She is a founding member of the Andromeda Piano Trio, who perform frequently for a number of chamber music series in the region, including the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society, Guelph Connections Chamber Music Series, Conrad Grebel Noon Hour series, Toronto Chamber Players series and more. In 2013 Miriam completed a winter residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts in solo and chamber music, and her chamber ensembles have been the recipients of a number of awards. She has performed as a soloist with numerous orchestras and ensembles, including the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, Da Capo Chamber Choir and the Georgian Bay Symphony.
Miriam Stewart-Kroeker's website
The video for this concert will be available starting October 28, 2020. A link will be posted at that time.
This Noon Hour Concert series is proudly sponsored by