Broken Group Islands, Pacific Ocean at Ucluelet, BC

The Broken Group Islands is a Pacific archipelago of more than 100 islands set in Barkley Sound in Pacific Rim National Park on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The Islands are easily visible from the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet (population just over 1,600), which is located about 300 kilometres northwest of Victoria, on the…

At the Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick 7 October 2006 (Photo: Gloria Steel)

Easter & the Johannes-Passion of Bach

When I had the good fortune to work in New Brunswick for several years, I often drove from St. Stephen, where I was chief administrative officer, to meet with colleagues or politicians in Saint Andrews, Blacks Harbour, St. George, Grand Manan, Woodstock, Fredericton, or Saint John. Often I would listen to Bach’s Passion According to Saint John,  its…

Country Market, St. George, NB (Courtesy: peggybacher.blogspot.ca)

Bach and New Brunswick Bricks and Berries

Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 8:21 am, St. Stephen, NB Long day; twelve hours straight. Protective canopy in place over the sidewalk, as pieces of brick persist in raining down from the façade of the 19th century building that now houses the town hall. S.C.’s house flooded, once again, this time to the basement doorknobs. Senior management meeting…

Inmate orchestra, Mauthausen concentration camp, 30 June 1942. (Courtesy: Wikipedia)

Art and Evil: The Fugal Architecture of the Dead

The subject of Todesfuge—the Death fugue—is the Nazi labour camp. The poet, Paul Celan, was a Romanian Jew and a polyglot whose mother tongue was German. For eighteen months during World War II, he was incarcerated in one of the Romanian labour camps, until liberated by the Red Army in 1944. Todesfuge was written in…