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June 24, 2016 @ 8:00 pm - June 25, 2016 @ 8:00 pm
Seven Responses, performed by The Crossing, Quicksilver Baroque, and International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), is a dialogue between the 17th and 21st centuries, across lands and cultures, exploring suffering and joy.
Each of Membra Jesu Nostri's seven cantatas contemplates a body part of Christ on the cross and will precede its Response.
Seven composers have created their own librettos as musical responses to Dietrich Buxtehude's 17th-century sacred masterpiece Membra Jesu Nostri.
When & where
Presented over two evenings in Philadelphia
Part 1: Friday, June 24, 8pm
Part 2: Saturday, June 25, 8pm
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 3723 Chestnut Street
Presented in one day in New York
Part 1: Sunday, August 21, 3pm
Part 2: Sunday, August 21, 7pm
Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival
Merkin Concert Hall, 129 West 67th Street
(feet, knees, hands, and side)
Buxtehude's Cantatas 1-4 and the responses of:
DAVID T. LITTLE USA (feet)
ANNA THORVALDSDOTTIR Iceland (knees)
CAROLINE SHAW USA (hands)
HANS THOMALLA Germany (side)
(breast, heart, and face)
Buxtehude's Cantatas 5-7 and the responses of:
LEWIS SPRATLAN USA (breast)
PELLE GUDMUNDSEN-HOLMGREEN Denmark (heart)
SANTA RATNIECE Latvia (face)
For more aboiut the composition,
David Little has a gift for setting texts in bold, compelling musical strokes that move from modernist atmospheres to heavy-metal-influenced sounds in ways that reach the listener as entirely sensible. His Soldier Songs is at once opera, theatre, rock concert, and multi-media event, and his opera JFK opens at Fort Worth Opera in April 2016. David will respond to Buxtehude's first cantata, TO THE FEET, launching The Crossing's Seven Responses on Friday night June 24. David has prepared his own libretto.
A sound colorist who creates emotional spaces for listener and performer to crawl into and live for a while, Anna Thorvaldsdottir's music evokes great landscapes that seem also to capture a kind of longing for their beauty and solitude. Anna will respond to Buxtehude's second cantata, TO THE KNEES, premiering Friday night June 24. She has collaborated with Icelandic poet Gudrun Eva Minervudottir to create a new libretto; the libretto and a video of Anna describing her Response have been posted here.
With a 2013 Pulitzer and Grammy Award, Caroline Shaw has made a mark by creating sound worlds of enormous eclecticism; unafraid to introduce non-classical sounds into that world, she challenges singers to move from style to style in organic ways that strike the ear with extraordinary immediacy. Caroline will respond to Buxtehude's third cantata, TO THE HANDS. A singer and violinist, she has performed Buxtehude's work many times and has composed her own libretto as a response. Her libretto is inspired in part by original Biblical text in the Buxtehude and Emma Lazarus' "The New Colossus," the poem engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty.
A composer of dramatic works with a command of vocal textures and aleatoric techniques involving speech, approximated pitch, and repetitive cells, Hans Thomalla’s work in opera includes major choral contributions; his music will present new challenges to The Crossing in a postmodern language influenced by the experimental period. Hans will respond to Buxtehude's fourth cantata, TO THE SIDES, premiering Friday night June 24. Accustomed to opera, Hans's libretto has been arranged by himself after Arnulf of Louvain and Song of Solomon.
The 2000 Pulitzer Prize winner, Lewis Spratlan knows The Crossing through his Vespers Cantata, which the choir commissioned in 2011 with Network for New Music. This was a concert-length work on a libretto assembled from physicists, playwrights, poets, and liturgy, finding rich emotional depths and connections in otherwise unrelated texts, and was enormously successful with singers and audience members. Lewis will respond to Buxtehude's fifth cantata, TO THE BREAST, premiering Saturday night June 25. He is collaborating with American poet Paul Kane; click here to read Kane's libretto and to hear Spratlan talk about his Response.
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen is a master of compositional structure and form; his technique is such that each work has its own musical language. He is a pioneer in minimalism who often immerses himself in topics reflecting contemporary emotional issues. Pelle will respond to Buxtehude's sixth cantata, TO THE HEART, premiering Saturday night June 25. He will draw on poetry of Denmark's Ursula Andkjær and the text of Buxtehude's original work.
Santa Ratniece is a composer of extraordinary sound textures and imaginative tonal colors, whose work largely reflects society’s relationship with nature and the increasing gap with the natural world. Santa will respond to Buxtehude's seventh and final cantata, TO THE FACE, premiering Saturday night June 25 and bringing Seven Responses to its conclusion. She set texts from St. Clare of Assisi's letters to St. Agnes of Prague, augmented by the Song of Solomon.
The Crossing is a professional chamber choir conducted by Donald Nally and dedicated to new music. Consistently recognized in critical reviews, The Crossing has been hailed as “superb” (The New York Times), “ardently angelic” (The Los Angeles Times), and “something of a miracle” (The Philadelphia Inquirer). Formed by a group of friends in 2005, the ensemble has since grown exponentially and “has made a name for itself in recent years as a champion of new music” (The New York Times).
Highly sought-after for projects, The Crossing’s first collaboration was as the resident choir of the Spoleto Festival, Italy, in 2007. Collaborations are now an important aspect of their work; The Crossing has appeared at Miller Theatre of Columbia University in the American premiere of James Dillon’s Nine Rivers with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE); joined Bang on a Can’s first Philadelphia Marathon; and has sung with the American Composers Orchestra, Network for New Music, Lyric Fest, Piffaro, red fish blue fish, Tempesta di Mare Baroque Chamber Orchestra, PRISM Saxophone Quartet, Toshimaru Nakamura, Dolce Suono, and The Rolling Stones. The ensemble has sung at Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They premiered John Luther Adams’ Sila: the breath of the world at Lincoln Center in a collaboration with the Mostly Mozart Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival, eighth blackbird, Jack Quartet, and TILT brass. The 2014-15 season featured a major project with The Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Fabric Workshop and Museum, conceived by Allora & Calzadilla, with a new score by David Lang.
The Crossing commissions works regularly and has presented over forty world premieres. The 2015-16 season will feature an additional twenty-five commissioned works, with substantial contributions from Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, David T. Little, Santa Ratniece, Caroline Shaw, Kile Smith, Lewis Spratlan, Hans Thomalla, and Anna Thorvaldsdottir. Major commissioned world premieres have included John Luther Adams’ Canticles of the Holy Wind (2013, co-commissioned with Kamer), Gavin Bryars’ The Fifth Century (2014, written for The Crossing and PRISM), Kile Smith’s The Consolation of Apollo (2014) and Vespers (2008, a commission of Piffaro), David Lang’s Statement to the Court (2010), Lewis Spratlan’s Hesperus is Phosphorus (2012, co-commissioned with Network for New Music), and Ted Hearne’s Sound from the Bench (2014, co-commissioned with Volti).
The Crossing has released six recordings: Lewis Spratlan’s Vespers Cantata: Hesperus is Phosphorus (on Innova, 2015, with Network for New Music); Moonstrung Air (choral music of Gregory Brown, on Navona, 2015); Christmas Daybreak (on Innova, 2011, with world premiere recordings of James MacMillan and Gabriel Jackson); I want to live (on Innova, 2011, with the complete to-date choral works for women by David Lang); and It is Time (on Navona, 2008, featuring music commissioned for our first Month of Moderns). Gavin Bryars’ The Fifth Century is due to be released on ECM records in the coming year.
The Crossing is the recipient of the 2015 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, two ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming, as well as the Dale Warland Singers Commission Award (with composer Joel Puckett) from Chorus America. Donald Nally was awarded the 2012 Louis Botto Award for Innovative Action and Entrepreneurial Zeal for his work with The Crossing. The Crossing has been named in The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Top Classical Events of the Season numerous times; a July 2015 review in that journal led with the headline, “The event of the season.”