Anerca. Inuit word for "soul," also the root of the verb "to breathe" or "to make poetry." Anerca was chosen by Edmund Carpenter as the title of his edition (Toronto 1959, 1972) of Inuit verse translations by Knud Rasmussen, William Thalbitzer, and himself. Four Canadian composers have used the title for works inspired either by the verse or by the concept.
Serge Garant'sAnerca (1961, revised 1963, BMI Canada 1967), is a setting of two of the poems for soprano, woodwinds, strings, harp, and percussion. It was premiered 3 Aug 1961 during the International Week of Today's Music in Montreal. The soprano was Claire Grenon-Masella and the performance was conducted by Mauricio Kagel. Mary Morrison is the soprano on the subsequent recording (RCI 217/RCA CCS-1011/4-ACM 2).
Harry Freedman'sAnerca (1966, commissioned by Lois Marshall) is a setting of three of the poems - one ('Great Sea') in common with the Garant - for soprano and piano. It also had its premiere in Montreal, by Lois Marshall and the pianist Weldon Kilburn in 1966.
Victor Davies'Anerca (1969, subtitled Three Eskimo Chants: A Ballet) uses only the title for what essentially is a mood achieved by a soprano vocalise against a background of violins, percussion, and piano or celeste. A choreographed version by the Contemporary Dancers of Winnipeg was filmed by CBC TV in 1969.
Milton Barnes has composed three works with this title. Anerca I (1979), a solo for bassoon or double-bass, was premiered by James McKay at York University. Anerca II: The Raven and the Children (1980) for clarinet and bassoon performers who also narrate, was written on a text by Michelle Marcil based on an Inuit legend. It was premiered by James McKay and James Campbell. Anerca III: The Origin of the Winds (1981) used an Inuit text adapted by Jackie Henniger and is scored for harp and narrator. Erica Goodman and Thom Bennett gave the premiere at the 1986 Festival of the Sound.