Marco Polo Suite
The Marco Polo Suite is composer Jim Stewart's award-winning tribute to one of the most famous ships in Canadian history. Launched in Saint John, NB, in 1851, Marco Polo was the first ship to circumnavigate the globe in under six months, thus earning the accolade 'the fastest ship in the world.' Including performances by some of the finest musicians in Atlantic Canada, as well as Gordon Bok and Carol Rohl from Maine, the Marco Polo Suite has been featured on a variety of radio programs, including: Atlantic Airwaves (Halifax/CBC regional)[interview] Weekend Mornings (Halifax/CBC regional) Morningside (Toronto/CBC national) [interview] The Max Ferguson Show (Toronto/CBC national) Gabereau (Vancouver/CBC national) RSVP (Winnipeg/CBC national) Take Five (CBC Radio 2, national) The Eric MacEwen Show (syndicated Toronto/Maritimes) BBC Merseyside (Liverpool, England) BBC World Service Australian Broadcasting Corporation New Zealand Broadcasting Radio Limerick (Ireland) Various Public Radio Stations (USA) The first public performance of The Marco Polo Suite (August, 1993, Festival By The Sea), with 20 musicians, narrator and slide presentation, was recorded by the National Film Board of Canada for use in it's 1995 release The Marco Polo: Queen of the Seas In 2002, in partnership with Opera New Brunswick, an expanded form of The Marco Polo Suite premiered as a multimedia folk opera at the Imperial Theatre, in Saint John, NB. The distinguished Canadian actor/director R.H. Thomson joined the cast as narrator. The Marco Polo Suite has generated one of the largest listener responses to any music ever played on Max Ferguson's CBC Stereo program The Marco Polo Suite was a 1996 recipient of a Porcupine Award, in the category of Canadian History, presented by Steve Fruitman of University of Toronto Radio, Inc., for "preserving Canadian history in song." The overture of The Marco Polo Suite was performed by over 60 musicians at Fiddlers' Rally '98, Linlithgow, Scotland Portions of The Marco Polo Suite are being used by Parks Canada in a film promoting Fundy National Park (NB) Portions of The Marco Polo Suite were used in the marine gallery exhibit of the Market Square annex of the New Brunswick Museum (Saint John, NB) "... a tremendous piece of work which will go down in the annals of Maritime music history.' Broadcaster and East Coast Music Association director, Eric MacEwen 'The Marco Polo Suite is a major piece of work and a wonderful gathering of singers and musicians ...' David Pirie in Maple Roots (North American Folk Alliance) '... a fine and imaginative piece of work...' Hugh Jones, singer/songwriter and member of the legendary British folk group The Spinners 'It's quite an achievement and I will be playing it on the show here ... it's excellent and you should be very proud of it ...' John O'Regan, Radio Limerick, Ireland 'The Marco Polo Suite was given a first complete broadcast in Australia yesterday. It was presented by Roger Holdsworth on a special programme on radio station '3PBS' ... from the feedback and calls after the programme, it was warmly received.' Ken Shewan, Shiplovers' Society of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia 'I cannot think of any other musical work with it's origin in New Brunswick to make such an impact on the public imagination well beyond the borders of the province.' Douglas Hughes, Times-Globe, Saint John, NB 'If you haven't already heard it on CBC or international radio stations, you will be thrilled by this excellent recording which captures so well a significant part of Atlantic Canadian history. The music is rich and well-produced.' Donna Davis, Spray Magazine 'This folk opera takes us through instrumental traditionally based music, real folkie songs, songs of the theatre, along with narratives of diaries and tales. This remarkable CD is excellently produced ... ' Steve Fruitman, CIUT-FM, Toronto 'Jim Stewart's composition, The Marco Polo Suite, is a musical tribute to one of Canada's most famous sailing ships, the Marco Polo ... Typically, this vessel and it's rich history is unknown to most Canadians. Stewart has helped rectify this situation by creating The Marco Polo Suite ... The orchestration is sumptuous ... The album is graced by many fine performers.' Gene Wilburn, Northern Journey Online.