'Beslan' is a highly concentrated and lyrical piece with text by Tony Bicat, full of drama and emotion; the listener is relentlessly drawn into the tragedy as it unfolds.
In September 2004 Islamic separatist militants occupied a school in Beslan, North Ossetia and held over 1,100 people hostage for three days. Their main demand was recognition of the independence of Chechnya at the UN and withdrawal of Russian troops. The siege ended when Russian security forces stormed the school, killing all but one of the terrorists. Of the 334 people who died,186 were children.The tragedy had a powerful effect on both Nick Bicat and his brother Tony, as their grandfather, General Tapa Tchermoeff, was President of the short-lived National Assembly of The North Caucasian Republic in 1919. Both brothers were born in England and never knew their grandfather but feel he would have been appalled both by the separatists’ action and the storming of the school by the Russian security forces.
There are 2 lead voices: the first is a single mother taking her daughter to her first day at school, and the second is one of the so-called ‘Black Widows’, whose husbands had been killed by the Russians. She too is a mother but one filled with despair. The two women’s identities spring to life and draw the listener into this dramatic and terrifying story.
Nick has often worked with conductor Andrew Parrott to evolve a musical style without any pre-formed idea of idiom. Here, Nick combines this approach with research into traditional Caucasian music to find a lean modern style which serves Tony Bicat's powerful narrative.
Nick Bicat's 'Requiem' is for unaccompanied choir and soloists; the familiar sections of the Requiem are interspersed with short solo songs, using inscriptions in Latin and Greek from the early Christian catacombs - simple epitaphs for ordinary people like us, recalling the ancient world and the simple but powerful needs which gave birth to the elaborate rituals we know today.
Buy the CD of Beslan/Requiem HERE on Amazon UK