The second half of the 20th century saw a revival in musical settings of Christ s Passion, including Frank Martin s Golgotha (1945 48), Penderecki s St. Luke Passion (1963 66) and Arvo Pärt s St. John Passion (1980 82), as well as two successful Broadway musicals that drew on the story: Stephen Schwartz s Godspell and Andrew Lloyd Webber s Jesus Christ Superstar. In 2000, one of the most original initiatives to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Bach s death was Passion 2000, devised by Helmuth Rilling and the Internationale Bachakademie of Stuttgart. Four new works were commissioned for the project, each using a different gospel account: Tan Dun s Water Passion (after St. Matthew), Wolfgang Rihm s Deus Passus (after St. Luke), Sofia Gubaidulina s Johannes-Passion (after St. John) and Osvaldo Golijov s La Pasión según San Marcos. Of these works, Golijov s is the one that made the most immediate impact. When María Guinand to whom La Pasión is dedicated conducted the world premiere in Stuttgart on 5 September 2000, it was greeted with a 20-minute ovation (prompting the critic of the Stuttgarter Nachrichten to ask: Is Madonna in the house? Or at least Michael Jackson? ). That astonishing success was repeated a few months later, when La Pasión was performed in Boston on 8 February 2001, conducted by Robert Spano.
Stylistically, Golijov s La Pasión is a dazzling mix of serious and popular styles and per-haps a parallel might be drawn with another work that attempts a similar kind of fusion Leonard Bernstein s Mass (1971). The Argentine-Jewish Golijov and the American-Jewish Bernstein (both with devout Russian fathers) set texts drawn from, or inspired by, Christian biblical or liturgical texts in new, fresh and explicitly theatrical treatments. While Mass is described as a Theatre Piece for Singers, Players and Dancers , Golijov s Pasión similarly involves dance, and a choir that is mobile during the performance (coincidentally, Golijov has listed Bernstein among his own favourite composers).
In an interview for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Golijov discussed the nature of the challenge he faced when writing La Pasión: When I was working on it, I had basically two years of absolute fear, and I was frozen, because ... being Jewish, I had to open myself to believe in the possibility that this was the reality that Jesus was God, that he was resurrected, and so forth, which is a huge challenge in mid-life to open yourself to a whole new possibility. The result is a work of tremendous communicative power. Golijov has said that he aimed to write a Passion as it s lived in Latin America with a very different Jesus from the European Jesus that we re used to . To underline this, he used a popular translation of the story, and even rhythmicized some of the text so that the whole piece would be driven by rhythm . While most of La Pasión is sung in Spanish, Golijov also uses different languages as a dramatic device: Latin and Aramaic for the Lamentations of Jeremiah and Kaddish at the close, and Galician (a poem by Rosalia de Castro) to express Peter s despair.
Golijov s score is among the most vibrant and inventive of all 20th-century Passion settings. There s something wonderfully appealing in his tapestry of South American and Latin music, from Cuba, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and beyond and in that sense La Pasión s energetic originality is the consequence of its assimilation of such a range of traditional styles. As Mark Swed put it in his review of the Stuttgart premiere: This is a marvellous new voice for expressing the joy and sorrow of a boisterous multicultural world, and it traverses ethnic walls as if they didn t exist at all. The scoring of La Pasión reflects its cross-cultural inspiration, and the energ
|Item Weight:||0.18 pounds|
|Item Size:||4.99 x 0.29 x 0.29 inches|
|Package Weight:||0.09 pounds|
|Package Size:||4.96 x 0.16 x 0.16 inches|
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