This recording is from the 2011 CD release "Rethink Forever" vocal music of Peter Hannan. (winner Best Classical Recording Western Canada Music Awards 2011)

***This CD recently showed up at random in my post office box, and boy I'm sure glad it did! Canadian composer Peter Hannan joins forces with three venerated Vancouver vocal entities, slathers them with weird electronic effects, and, in the process, pops open a strikingly odd treasure chest of pure sonic pleasure. The title track floats into your hammers, stirrups and anvils on a 19-minute long barge full of joyful, melodic choral singing, courtesy of Musica Intima, perfectly meshed with synth drones, cut-up vocal shards, snappy drum samples and flying saucers lifting off. The text is composed of the 200 most common English words, phrases from a love advice web site and a Tallis song. Arcane Candy

Rethink Forever is a piece combining live vocal sound with electronic sound. The electronic sound consists mostly of processed singing and speaking of the members of Musica Intima.

Anything that resembles choral singing in the electronic part is from a recording that Musica Intima made of Thomas Tallis’s beautiful short piece ‘If ye love me’ , although mostly so thoroughly processed that even Tallis himself (and his lawyers) probably wouldn’t recognize it.

The text is composed from a very limited vocabulary , that contains

  1. the 200 most common words in the English language
  2. some phrases from a website with advice about love and relationships
  3. the text from the Tallis song.

Rethink Forever is a kind of ten commandments of love. This was inspired by the words of Tallis’s song- ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments’. I know, Tallis was talking about a different kind of love but...
The commandments are:
love over all ~ know need ~ learn hurt ~ get hard ~ get soft ~ see truth ~ study happiness ~ detect passion ~ understand freedom ~ rethink forever.

Hannan’s Rethink Forever incorporates Tallis’s anthem If ye love me ("So thoroughly processed that even Tallis himself - and his lawyers - probably wouldn’t recognize it" according to the composer) in 10 very contemporary vignettes on the subject of love. Hannan goes from streetwise to celestial in a heartbeat. This is hardly orthodox choral music; it demands a ‘ vocal ensemble of near-virtuoso singers (and it’s hard to think of any other groups who could handle the material).' Vancouver Sun Oct 28, 2005




Commissioned by Vancouver New Music for Musica Intima in 2000.

It’s as if Christopher Columbus’ commentary on his first voyage to the "new world" in 1492 (with incidental reference to kicking the Moors out of Spain) was somehow cross-transmitted with info from the NASA website about the 1996 Mars Pathfinder mission.

'...the highlight of the second half was Vancouver composer Peter Hannan’s wildly original the city of granada on the surface of mars. Hannan utterly rejects the tepid conventions of the "well-made" choral piece, and has the imagination to create an eclectic work that is witty, inventive, and elegant.' Vancouver Sun 

‘Peter Hannan’s the city of Granada on the surface of mars weirdly conflates Christopher Columbus’ 1492 voyage and the 1996 Mars Pathfinder Mission. An interesting piece, fun and mysterious, it left images in your mind with its spacey ostinatos and long held pedal points, free-floating lines, NASA jargon, and even vocal echoes of 16th-century Spain.' Vancouver Sun

city of granada... score



commissioned by Vancouver Cantata Singers

I've been thinking alot about the subject of happiness recently, especially after spending some time over the past two years in Lesotho, a tiny country landlocked by South Africa. I was accompanying my wife, who is a doctor who works with AIDS in the downtown eastside in Vancouver, and was in Lesotho working in an HIV clinic.

Lesotho is one of the poorest countries in the world , has one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world, has a very corrupt government (there was a coup attempt while we were there) , has had a severe drought for the past 3 years ... I could go on. The struggle of people just to cope with the basics of everyday life is something we found very difficult to imagine doing ourselves. We got to know lots of people there - people are very sociable - and what struck me was that people seemed no more or less discontent with their lot in life than anyone I know here despite unimaginable daily hardship . 

The 4 songs look at happiness from different angles.
1) Laying out the problem- I had to go with Freud’s assessment that happiness was never part of the plan.
2) Who is the happiest person I know? Carmen at Donald’s Market seemed to fit the bill, and maybe for surprising reasons.
3) Is a version of a conversation I had with a Lesotho person who started with “ You’ve got everything: we’ve got nothing. And you’re OK with that?”
4) Life is a process with an ending we’re all familiar with. So enjoy life while you can.

After being in Africa, where singing and dance are completely linked, I had decided that the next piece I wrote for singers needed to include movement. I was fortunate in having being asked to do this new work that was a joint project between Dancers Dancing and the Vancouver Cantata Singers.


This is a video of the premiere performance in March 2009, with Vancouver Cantata Singers and Dancers Dancing.

Happiness index score