The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Easter is a great time to hear new versions of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as the old favorites. Listen to some Bach, Mahler and Osvaldo Golijov to mark the religious holiday. Plus, on Monday night, the Gustavus Adolphus College Orchestra performs Mozart and Rimsky-Korsakov at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Middleton. | March 31, 2013

ALERTS: Tomorrow, on Monday, April 1,at 8:30 p.m. and also on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. in short concerts in Morphy Hall, the works of student composers at the UW-Madison will be performed. The concert is free and open to the public.  Also, on Monday night at 7 p.m., the student orchestra (below) from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minn., will perform at St. Luke’s (NOT Mark’s as I mistakenly wrote at first) Lutheran Church in Middleton. The group, which has toured four continents and played on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” will perform the Overture to Mozart‘s opera “Cosi Fan Tutte,” the first movement of Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante” for violin and viola; and Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade.” Admission is a free-will offering.

Gustavus Adolphus symphony

By Jacob Stockinger

Today, Sunday, March 31, is Easter, the day that marks the resurrection of Jesus from death after his Crucifixion on Good Friday. (Below is a 1635 depiction of the Crucifixion by Rembrandt)

passion

As always, it is a great time to acknowledge and listen to the great music that has been written with the highest Christian holiday as inspiration.

That can mean of course Johann Sebastian Bach and his Cantatas and Passions (below is the Passion Chorale from Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion”) as well as the B Minor Mass.

Appropriate music for Easter can also mean other composers from other periods from Mozart and Haydn in the Classical era to Liszt and Dvorak, Wagner and Mahler (below in a YouTube video is the final movement from Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 “Resurrection”), in the Romantic era to an early modernist like Francis Poulenc. And of course there is much more in all eras, especially the pre-Baroque.

Or course most, if not all, the religiously themed works were done by composers who were Christian or who converted to Christianity.

But when it comes to more contemporary works, especially by non-Christian composers, one can get stuck or baffled.

So some recent postings on National Public Radio (NPR) about the Jewish Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov (below) and his “Passion According to St. Mark”  (at bottom) is all the more timely and informative.

Osvaldo Golijov

Here is an interview NPR did with the celebrated and popular contemporary composer:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2013/03/17/173179261/how-does-a-jewish-artist-tell-the-ultimate-christian-story

And here is a link to 5 excerpts from other memorable Passion music that NPR’s blog “Deceptive Cadence” featured on Good Friday:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2013/03/27/175496458/the-good-friday-5-musical-passion-stories-you-must-hear

And finally here is a link a short interview with Golijov about the work plus a complete performance of Golijov’s work that was performed in Carnegie Hall and can be heard by streaming through the famed radio station WQXR-FM in New York City:

http://www.npr.org/event/music/173635212/carnegie-hall-live-golijovs-st-mark-passion

Happening listening.

I wish a Happy and Joyous Easter to all of you who celebrate it.

What is your preferred classical music to listen to on this important religious holiday?


4 Comments »

  1. My playlist this year:
    Maundy Thursday: Part, ‘De Profundis’

    Good Friday: Schutz, ‘St. Matthew Passion’; Eriks Esenvalds, ‘Passion & Resurrection’

    Holy Saturday: Gesualdo, ‘Tenebrae Responsoria’

    Easter Sunday: Brahms, ‘Ein Deutsches Requeim’ (every year!)

    Comment by Susan Fiore — March 31, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

    • Hi Susan,
      These are all excellent choices.
      And very eclectic too!
      Thank you.
      Jake

      Comment by welltemperedear — April 2, 2013 @ 8:10 am

  2. Don’t you mean St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Middleton? Monday -Gustavus Adolphus concert. I don’t know any St. Mark’$ Lutheran in Middleton.

    Comment by Terry Peterson — March 31, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

    • Hoi Terry,
      Thank you for correcting me.
      You are completely CORRECT — and I am wrong. I must have been thinking of the title of the Golijov work.
      The location is indeed St, Luke;s Lutheran Church in Middleton — NOT St. Mark’s.
      I apologize for the inaccuracy and am sorry.
      I have changed it in this post and will also mention it in tomorrow’s post.
      Best wishes,
      Jake

      Comment by welltemperedear — March 31, 2013 @ 2:00 pm


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