music sample

Art is Radical: “Aberfan”

Memorial Garden, Aberfan

If truly creative, art is radical.

Art upends institutions and challenges us to examine the very fabric of our being, our society.  We are loosened to re-member ourselves and our reason for living.

What greater purpose beyond the tactics of greed, what measurement of a timeless nature, what pattern of the gods.

“Rain/Rubble”, demo excerpt of pianos from Aberfan.  Life forever altered.  Rain and rubble forever bound.

Laura Siersema is composer of Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue), a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  Your contribution ensures we can return to the studio to complete its recording.

(Originally posted February 2017.)

“Aberfan”: Rain – Rubble, Altered Interlude, Final Hymn (Altered)

Photo IC Rapoport, Aberfan, 1966

An extended excerpt of piano parts from Aberfan — survivors resuming the impossibility and despair of life, forever altered in the aftermath.

Laura Siersema is composer of Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue), a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  Your contribution ensures we can return to the studio to complete its recording.

(Originally posted June 2016)

ABERFAN 54TH ANNIVERSARY 10.21.20 “How with this rage…”

How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea… —Shakespeare, Sonnet 65

“Rain Sequence”, pianos, Aberfan — it has started to rain, the composition begins.  In this demo sample, as single pianos enter one after the other, you listen to the gradual dissolution of harmony.

Laura Siersema is composer of Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue), a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  Your contribution ensures we can return to the studio to complete its recording.

Getty images, Aberfan, October 21, 1966

21ST.OCTOBER 2020: Aberfan 54th Anniversary — Ronnie Davis

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Photo by IC Rapoport, Aberfan, 1966

This is Ronnie Davis, the first boy photographed by IC Rapoport in the aftermath of the tragedy.  He lost his older brother in the landslide.  His house, close to the school, was destroyed. Out walking his dog, he looked about the ruins of his house.

“Altered Rain” is a demo excerpt of piano parts from my new composition Aberfan. Conceived to represent the thousands of people coming down the hillside following the mass funeral on a “windswept, grey” Thursday less than one week after the disaster, this musical section turns “Rain Sequence” — which occurs at the beginning of the composition, before the landslide –upside down.

“Altered Rain” (Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue)

Laura Siersema is composer of Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue), a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  Your contribution ensures we can return to the studio to complete its recording.

Aberfan Disaster: Final Tribute

aberfan final tribute no sound THUMBNAIL_3Here is one frame of the footage that I discovered at the AP Archives that had no sound — 5 minutes of film taken at the mass burial of 81 children and one adult on October 27, 1966.

“Loving Shepherd of Thy Sheep” was sung at the service on the hillside.  Here is a short demo excerpt from Aberfan, Final Hymn:

My composition Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue) is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions on behalf of Aberfan must be made payable to NYFA, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Sunrise on “Aberfan”

AberfanPantglasSchoolCourtesy of Alan GeorgeFriday morning at 7:30am, October 21st, 1966, was ironically “calm and sunny”.

Though there had been “over a week of heavy rainfall”, there were “no reports of rain [on the morning of the landslide]…the images all seem to show dry but dull conditions”.

Demo excerpt “Sunrise”:  

Aberfan  is a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501 (c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  Contributions are tax deductible and will go towards the studio recording, which begins later this month.

Thank you to Dave Petley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom for all his help providing facts during my time of research.  American Geophysical Union Blogosphere

Photo of Pantglas School courtesy of Alan George.

“Aberfan”: Rain – Rubble, Altered Interlude, Final Hymn (Altered)

An extended excerpt of piano parts from Aberfan — survivors resuming the impossibility and hope of life forever altered in the aftermath.

Laura Siersema is composer of Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue), a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  Your contribution ensures we can return to the studio to complete its recording.

How with this rage shall beauty…

How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea… —Shakespeare, Sonnet 65

ABERFAN WALES 1966

“Rain Sequence”, pianos, Aberfan — it has just started to rain.  In this sample, as single pianos enter one after the other, you hear the gradual dissolution of harmony.

Laura Siersema is composer of Aberfan (7 pianos, voice and tools of rescue), a sponsored project of New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  Your contribution ensures we can return to the studio to complete its recording.

Photo by IC Rapoport, Aberfan Disaster, 1966

“Aberfan” First Hymn – Rock Sequence

“On the 21st of October 1966, 144 people, 116 of them children, were killed when a man-made mountain of coal waste slid onto the village of Aberfan in South Wales. The elementary school building was the first structure in its path and the school was demolished by a thousand tons of black mud.”  (IC Rapoport, Aberfan, 1966)

Here is a demo excerpt from my composition, Aberfan.

“All Things Bright and Beautiful” was sung at morning assembly on the day of the disaster.

To support the recording of this project, please make a tax-deductible contribution:  www.tinyurl.com/FundAberfan 

“Aberfan” (Rain Sequence with first collapse, excerpt)

Rain Sequence — an intuitive formula of prime numbers, of fate and its irrevocable movement — increasing failure, descent and dissolution —

The disaster itself occurred on 21st October 1966 at about 9:15 am.  The day was calm and sunny at 7:30 am, when the team of men responsible for the dumping of mine waste on Tip 7 arrived for work.  At the top they found the tip had subsided by about three metres.  (The Landslide Blog)

Here is a demo sample of 7 pianos:

To contribute to the recording of Aberfan, please go to www.tinyurl.com/FundAberfan.

Photo IC Rapoport, 1966