Knox Music Series Presents BERLINER MESSE, SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST and STABAT MATER Tonight
Cincinnati, OH -- The Knox Music Series presents three choral/orchestral masterworks - Arvo Pärt Berliner Messe Franz Joseph Haydn Seven Last Words of Christ (excerpts), and Szymanowski Stabat Mater on Good tonight, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. at Knox Presbyterian Church, Michigan & Observatory Avenues in Hyde Park. A freewill offering will be collected. Visit knox.org/musicseries for additional information. Earl Rivers, Knox Director of Music, conducts the Knox Choir, Orchestra, and Knox Soloists. Featured Knox Soloists include Eric Keesy and Jasmine Habersham, sopranos, Theresa Merrill and Debra Van Engen, mezzo-sopranos, Alec Carlson, tenor, Michael Young, baritone, and Claude Cassion, bass.
The Good Friday, April 18, 2014 7:30 p.m. Knox Music Series program opens with the Berliner Messe (Berlin Mass) by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt (b. 1935). Pärt is a pioneer of the minimalist style, and his music exhibits a unique sound known as tintinnabuli (from the Latin "little bells") that is characterized by two types of simultaneous musical lines. The first ("tintinnabular voice") arpeggiates a chord, creating a "bell-like" resonance; the second line moves in stepwise motion. Composed in 1990 and revised in 1992 for chorus and string orchestra, Pärt's Berliner Mass of 23 minutes engages the listener with its mystical and austere qualities and historical roots in chant.
The Seven Last Words of Christ (Die sieben letzten Worte) of Franz Joseph Haydn was originally a commission as an orchestral work by the Cathedral of Cadiz, Spain for its Good Friday services in 1785 or 1786. Haydn reset the work for string quartet in 1878 and as an oratorio for chorus and orchestra in 1796. The nine-movement work comprises seven slow, meditative movements, each a setting of Christ's last words as found in the four Gospels. These seven movements are framed by an Introduction and final Earthquake movement. Knox Music Series will present three movements (about 15 minutes) of the nine-movement work.
Karol Szymanowski (1882-1937), one of Poland's greatest composers of the 20th century, composed Stabat Mater (Litany to the Virgin) in 1925-1926 for mixed choir, orchestra, and soprano, alto, and baritone soloists. The Stabat Mater text is well known for its profound reflection on the "grieving mother." The 24-minute work is divided into six movements.
Szymanowski's first work on a liturgical text, Stabat Mater was composed during his late Nationalist period of 1922-1937 and is characterized by his incorporation of Polish melodies and rhythms. Szymanowski wrote of Polish folk music: "[it] is enlivening by its proximity to Nature, by its force, by its directness of feeling, by its undisturbed racial purity." Conductor Charles Dutoit says about Szymanowski's music: "We are very fond of Szymanowski's music. It is so extraordinarily vivid, full of wonderful colours and, in this sense, seems rather unlike Central European music."
The Knox Music Series is a Community Outreach Program of Knox Church. Recognized for its outstanding contributions to the quality of life in Cincinnati, the Knox Music has been cited by "Cincinnati Magazine" as the Best Church Music in Cincinnati.