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crescendo 2022: aufgefühlt [EN]

Did you hear? – Passion oratorios of the 20th century in focus – crescendo

Elin Stahre

In their lecture filled with sound samples from the Singakademie zu Berlin and the Rundfunkchor Berlin, new Visiting Professor of Choral Conducting Stefan Parkman and Prof. Kai-Uwe Jirka focus on two significant Passion works of the 20th century: the St. Mark Passion (1975) by Christfried Schmidt and the St. Matthew Passion (1949) by Ernst Pepping.

On Good Friday 2019, the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin premiered Christfried Schmidt's unique "St. Mark Passion" 40 years after it was written. His powerful, multi-perspective setting of the Passion story follows the principles of Protestant Passion music: arias, recitatives, and chorales alternate to tell of Jesus' death and resurrection. In the score, quotations from Bach chorales are found next to microtonal cluster sounds; strictly serial series stand next to free, improvisatory fields. Turba choruses and a percussion battery visualize with great expressivity the war atrocities of a tale of woe that has no end. The score, written at the time without a commission and inspired by visits to the Warsaw Autumn Festival, lay unperformed for over forty years in the drawer of the unjustly misjudged Berlin composer.


Contrasted with this, Ernst Pepping's Passion Report of St. Matthew (1949) is also an unusual masterpiece in every respect. Thus, it follows traditional compositional methods while, as it were, cleverly venturing down unexpected paths: Not only is the work written for two choirs a cappella - which in itself poses a great challenge to the performers - but the part of the evangelist is taken by an ensemble of four voices. So Moreover, the technical challenges in the piece as well as the extremely close relationship between the text and the music of the world produce an absolutely fascinating work of art and reveal in an impressive way the interesting personality of Ernst Pepping.


With recordings and music-historical and -theoretical reflections, the director of the Staats- und Domchor Berlin, Prof. Kai-Uwe Jirka, and the newly appointed visiting professor of choral conducting, Stefan Parkman, approach the two Passion works, giving them a long overdue attention.


Free entry

Location: Joseph Joachim Concert Hall


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