Isle of the Bless’d (2012)

Music by Anastasia Pahos, words by Lindsay Ryder

Isle of the Bless’d is a programmatic piece of music, which illustrates elements of Gregorian chant and dance, as well as possessing requiem-like qualities. It describes an enchanted valley that ensnares passers-by with its beauty and tranquil timelessness. The longer travelers stay in this valley, enraptured by its spirit, the faster they forget about their own lives and identities, as they are slowly transformed into mere spirits of their former selves, trapped in the Isle of the Bless’d forevermore. The isle has one rule: Those who remember themselves are freed from the valley’s spell.

In Rondo form – (Section A-B-A1-C-A2-B1-A3) – Isle of the Bless’d makes deliberate choices in the organization of text. Each stanza of the poem Reflections by Lindsay Ryder has been assigned a section – for example, the first stanza is Section A, the middle stanza, Section B, and the final stanza, Section C. The final section, A3, is made up of the poem in its entirety, and heard chronologically at last. As such, not only are new meanings discovered in relation to Reflections, but it also represents the disintegrating memories of the trapped passers-by until, at the eleventh hour, they regain composure and triumph against the Isle of the Bless’d.

Anastasia PahosAustralian composer Anastasia Pahos is a student at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music working on an undergraduate degree in music composition. An accomplished musician (piano/flute) and choral singer, Anastasia has been composing music since high school and has already received recognition, including the Matthew Hindson Composition Award (2009), the Australian Music Centre Composition Award (2007) and the Reverend Kenneth Cornwall Award for Outstanding Work in Composition (2006). This year, Anastasia is also a participant in the Halcyon First Stones Composer Project, an emerging composer program similar to YIY that focuses on chamber music for voice. Anastasia’s long term professional goal is to score and conduct music for the media industry. Visit Anastasia’s YouTube channel to hear her music. In particular, don’t miss Parthene Mitir, an a cappella piece for women’s voices and Ouzo, an instrumental work that she herself conducts.

Lindsay Ryder PerezLindsay Ryder Perez wrote her poem Reflections when she was in middle school, while growing up in Bend, Oregon. She later earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education, now lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband and is the Life Skills Coordinator at a private special education school. She has always enjoyed the arts, especially music, and has played the piano her whole life. Lindsay has a life-long love of the beauty she finds in the mountains and nature that inspired the writing of Reflections. “I think it is a beautiful thing how the world takes care of itself – the snow on the mountains becomes the rivers and streams that support our lives”.



when the mountains
reflect on rivers,
you can find out things
you never knew before.
There are flowers up there,
rocks like clouds,
a little snow becomes a creek
and grows into a river.

Lindsay Ryder, age 11
Bend, Oregon