Magazine article Gramophone

'Seven Responses'

Magazine article Gramophone

'Seven Responses'

Article excerpt

'Seven Responses'

Gudmundsen-Holmgreen Ad cor Little dress in magic amulets, dark from My feet Ratniece IVIy soul will sink witfiin me Shaw To the Hands Spratlan Common Ground Thomalla I come near you Thorvaldsdottir Ad genua/To the knees The Crossing; International Contemporary Ensemble / Donald Nally

Innova (B) (2) INNOVA912 (106' * DDD * T)

These seven chamber cantatas were commissioned by the innovative chamber chorus The Crossing to go with a 2016 concert performance of Buxtehude's Membra Jesu nostri patientis sanctissima (1680), a cycle of seven cantatas each of which takes a part of Christ's anatomy as its subject. Each of the seven present-day composers was assigned one of the 'membra' (feet, knees, hands, side, breast, heart, head) as their point of departure to create a musical response to Buxtehude's paean to Christ's agony on the Cross but substituting a contemporary area of pain.

Innova's recording omits the Buxtehude--the 2016 concert ran for some three and a half hours--and presents the new works, which are all performable and viable separately, in a musically satisfying sequence different to Buxtehude's. Each is very different in structure, too, none replicating the oratorio's hexapartite mix of orchestral concertinos and ritornellos with vocal ensembles and arias. However, Caroline Shaw's To the Hands is in six sections, all vocal and instrumental, her music weaving in and out of Buxtehude's in beguiling fashion. By contrast, Hans Thomalla's I near you--taking the breast as its membrum--is a meditative motet. Its thematic material also derives from Buxtehude but uses multiphonics and other techniques the Danish master could not have dreamt of. Anna Thorvaldsdottir's beautiful Ad genua/To the knees (setting a text by GuSrun Eva Minervudottir), David T Little's lowering dress in magic amulets, dark from My feet and Santa Ratniece's sweeter-toned My soul will sink within me are also single-span, motet-like pieces. …

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