Rising Tides of Generations Lost

Wende Bartley

Rising Tides of Generations Lost

  • Wende Bartley
  • Year of composition: 1985, 93
  • Duration: 15:01
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • ISWC: T0705066325

The ancient art of storytelling, always present among us, preserves what we cannot afford to lose, reminds us of what we have forgotten, highlights that which is collectively experienced, and points to new possibilities. Rising Tides of Generations Lost is one attempt to retell a small portion of the story of woman. Our collective foremothers issue forth a clear call to give voice to the rising energy centuries of common experience has created.

Starting with the most elemental forms of language — whispered vowels, consonants, and syllables — moving through to spoken syllables, words, and phrases, the accumulating voices gather a surging sense of energy which is temporarily overshadowed by memories of earlier days when we were burned and tortured for our knowledge and sensuality; virtues intolerable for the age of reason and control. Almost buried in this tumult, the voices rise again with a clarity of vision, compelling us to free ourselves and no longer fear those forces which do not understand the tears of silence. Spiralling us forward through time to the rhythm of everyday conversation, the weight of tradition is forced upon us. We do remember, for these things have remembered themselves.

This piece is dedicated to my grandmother, Cora Parry Showers, who pointed me towards a path of ‘new beginnings’. In the words of 19th century American novelist Kate Chopin this ‘beginning of things’ is “vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing. How few of us ever emerge from such beginning. How many souls perish in its tumult.”

Rising Tides of Generations Lost was realized at the Electronic Music Studio at McGill University in Montréal in 1985 with the Synclavier Sample-to-Disk system. It was remixed in 1993 at the Luscar Recording Studio of The Banff Centre for the Arts, with engineer Frank Lockwood. Sampled voices include those of Anne Erskine, Wende Bartley, Cathy Herd, Helen Hall, Marguerite Bartley, and Dorothy Young. The piece premiered at a Group of the Electronic Music Studio (GEMS)’ concert at Pollack Hall in Montréal on April 4, 1985.


  • April 4, 1985, Concert, Salle Pollack — Pavillon Strathcona — Université McGill, Montréal (Québec)