Passion and Resurrection


church opera in twelve scenes for soloists, chorus and ensemble of 20 (or 21) players
Benedictine Latin Church Drama (Text)
Libretto (Eng): Michael Wadsworth (Benedictine Latin Church Dramas) )
0000 - 1121 - perc(2): timp/t.bells/BD/2 gong/2 bronze sheet/vib/crot/tam-t/SD/bongos/roto-tom - 7 vln.vla.2 vlc.2 db - large organ/(chamber organ)
Principals: Jesus(Bar)/ Mary Magdalene(S)/Second Mary(S)/Third Mary(M-S)/Pilate(T)/Caiaphas(B)/Judas(B-Bar)/Priest(Bar) Small Roles: 2 Angels (2 Trebles)/Peter(B)/John(T)/Good Thief(B)/Procula(C)/Procula's Maid(S)/Thief(T)/Servant Girl(S)/Annas(B)/Chorus: SATB

Commissioned by Martin Neary

First Performance
21.3.81, Winchester Cathedral, Winchester: Waynflete Singers/Winchester Cathedral Choir/Music Projects/Donald Sweeney/Brian Burrows/Allan Mottram/Rosemary Hardy/Penelope Walmsley-Clarke/Linda Hirst/Martin Neary

Vocal score 0-571-50616-X and libretto 0-571-50629-1 on sale, full score and parts for hire

Programme Notes

Passion and Resurrection was commissioned by Martin Neary. Reviving the practice of the beginning of Western drama, the two medieval Benedictine Latin church dramas I have used arise out of a liturgical event, in this case the Eucharist, with which the work begins and ends. “Do this in remembrance of me”. The audience or congregation may participate in the singing of the plainsong hymns, Sing My Soul, and The Royal Banners, upon which the musical fabric is based, thus emphasising the ritualistic rather than the conventionally operatic nature of the work. The eleven initial scenes move directly forward in austere, chant-like style: each character is accompanied by a musical halo more or less bright according to his sanctity. Instrumental interludes separate the scenes. Before the twelfth scene, which is concerned with the resurrection, the interlude idea becomes magnified to symphonic proportions as the crucifixion itself is acted out. The final, resurrection scene represents a musical blossoming of the previous style, where the inevitable and dire procession of events leading up to the crucifixion were depicted. Austere, dark, male-dominated music there, florid, bright, female-dominated music here. The instrumentation also reflects this division, with tuba, two trombones and two double basses (amongst others) on the one side, and trumpet, seven solo violins and viola on the other. Jonathan Harvey

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Jonathan Harvey

One of the most important British Composers of the 20th Century, Jonathan Harvey composed music of radiant beauty....

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