Canadian musicians, it appears, are no less exempt (than US ones), from the unpleasant vagaries of the seemingly pervasive, angst-ridden socio-political climate in the continent. We like to think that ground zero for all of this is the US, but the ripples are often felt in Canada. At least this is what pianist and composer Peter Hum seems to say as he references, in his music, numerous disturbing incidents that have left our society shaken to its core.
Much music that makes reference to manmade tragedies is often strident in tone and utilizes disturbing dissonances to make its point, but Hum’s music doesn’t do so. The very title of the recording, Ordinary Heroes, provides an insight into Hum’s poetics and aesthetic and it is this: principally, disquiet is viewed from a perspective apposite to the violence that causes it. He evokes this in the emotion and intellect of his pianism.
Thus we hear the voices of victims instead of perpetrators – innocent worshippers shot to death in a mosque (Tears for the Innocent), Japanese migrants imprisoned in internment camps during World War II (Ordinary Heroes) and refugees from Latin American countries, Myanmar and Syria (Safe Passage), for instance – soar in the deeply meditative pathos of melodic and harmonic conceptions.
And when rhythms are employed to bring stories to life, even in music such as Rabble Rouser, Hum does so in a manner that is artfully idiomatic.