Passion and Resurrection - for soloists, chorus and ensemble of 20 (or 21) players

(1981)

by Jonathan Harvey

Description
church opera in twelve scenes
Contributors
Benedictine Latin Church Drama (Text)
Duration
90
Genres
Opera
Text
Libretto (Eng): Michael Wadsworth (Benedictine Latin Church Dramas) )
Instrumentation
0000 - 1121 - perc(2): timp/t.bells/BD/2 gong/2 tpl.bl/susp.cym/ bronze sheet/vib/crot/tam-t/SD/bongos/roto-tom - 7 vln.vla.2 vlc.2 db - large organ/(chamber organ)
Singer(s)
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
Languages
English
Commission
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
Availability

Vocal score 0-571-50616-X 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

Licensing Information

News & Reviews

'Passion and Resurrection' reviews and synopsis

'Harvey's liturgical drama is sometimes claimed as the first operatic setting since the middle ages of the passion story (Michael Wadsworth's text is a translation of a 12th-century Latin passion play). However, more relevant comparisons would be with Bach's Passions - it's set within the context of the Eucharist, and includes hymns sung by the audience - or with Britten's Church Parables, which were clearly a model for the plainsong-rooted calls and responses with which Harvey's work begins. Read more

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