Prayers for a Feverish Planet

Heat Island (2017) — Frank Horvat (Canada)

When you read the words “Heat Island”, one might imagine “fun-in-the-sun” touristy images or the title of some chintzy Reality TV show. The true reality though is that the Heat Island Effect is a serious part of man-made climate change. On any hot summer day within an urban area, everything is even more hot than it should be simply because of the sun’s reflection off an infinite amount of concrete and building surfaces. 

The Heat Island Effect isn’t just some visual effect where you see waves emanating from concrete…it can be quite deadly. Thankfully some cities are already taking steps to curb the effect, like making it mandatory for new building construction to have green roofs and more green space being incorporated into urban planning. But more must be done and quickly if the world has an opportunity to curb the disastrous effects of climate change. 

The rumbly and murky start of this composition attempts to emulate the world oozing heat from pavement. As the piece progresses, it gradually works its way up to the higher registers with a more calm tone. This symbolizes the hope that I have that we do have the ability to transform the earth back to a more natural state so it won’t emit so much heat. At the beginning, the piano is dark and foreboding. By the end, it’s calm and soothing – Earth is breathing once again.

Ann adds: This minimalist work has long pedals and pedal tones in the base, which contribute, in part, to the sensation of being relentless and unyielding (like the heat in the city on an intense summer day).

And, Frank’s piece is a consistent favorite with audiences!

Frank Horvat

Frank Horvat is one of the most inventive songwriters to come out of the contemporary scene in Canada (WholeNote Magazine). This award-winning composer’s music is emotional and intense. As a pianist and multi-genre composer, he has made the tricky musical leap that allows him to pursue a niche of his own (Edmonton Journal). Frank explores a wide array of themes in his music from love to the environment, mental health and social justice issues. He gives his audiences time and space to reflect in this fast-paced world. Frank’s compositions tell deeply personal stories while permitting audiences to ponder their own.

His works have been featured on over a dozen albums on labels including ATMA Classique, Really Records, I Am Who I Am and Centrediscs. With composition premieres on four continents, his music has been showcased internationally in theatre, feature films, and radio/TV networks including BBC Radio 3, Bravo, CBC, CBS, Discovery, HBO, Vice, and featured in publications such as Gramophone, The Strad, BBC Music Magazine, Toronto Star and Vancouver Sun.

Frank’s 2021 album, Music for Self-Isolation, was listed in the top 5 classical albums of the year by CBC Classical, plus, Frank’s other 2021 album, Project Dovetail, was included in CBC Music’s ‘must hear’ Fall albums.

He ignores boundaries and isn’t afraid to mix politics with art (Ludwig van Toronto) as many of his composition projects revolve around social issues. He has been a panelist at the Classical:NEXT conference speaking on the topic of ‘Artivism’ and featured in Chris Gunness’ UK Classical Music Magazine podcast.

Born in Ottawa, he lives and composes by the lake in Toronto with his wife/manager. Frank is a Canadian Music Centre Associate Composer and the inaugural recipient of the Kathleen McMorrow Music Award for contemporary composition.

Discover Frank’s latest adventures at