Monday, March 30, 2015

Music for Holy Week from the Chapel of King's College, Cambridge

We venerate the wood of thy Cross, O thou who lovest mankind, for upon it thou, the life of all, was nailed. 

O Saviour, thou hast opened Paradise to the thief who turned to thee in faith, and thou hast counted him worthy of blessedness when he confessed to thee crying, 'O Lord remember me!' 

Accept us like him, as we cry: ‘We all have sinned, in thy merciful kindness despise us not.’ 

Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross; Orthodox. 

King's College, Cambridge is releasing a series of videos made inside the College Chapel featuring the stained glass windows depicting scenes of the Passion:

The films will feature Philharmonia Voices in a specially recorded performance of Grier’s Sword in the Soul, a seven-movement Passiontide sequence for choir, organ and virtuoso cello solo.

Interwoven with the footage of the Grier performance, and using it as a driving narrative force, the films explore the Passion story as portrayed in the famous stained glass windows.

The films focus on the majestic sequence of windows at the East end of the Chapel, which depict a dramatic succession of scenes including Christ before Pilate, Christ carrying the cross, his nailing to the cross, the crucifixion on Golgotha, and finally the deposition from the cross.

By exploring the windows in high resolution, the films will show the extraordinary detail of the stained glass in a way that is almost impossible for anyone viewing the windows from the floor of the Chapel.

The seven films last between two and five minutes, each one exploring a different aspect or episode of the Holy Week narrative. They will be released one by one on the King’s College website during the course of Holy Week in 2015, starting on Palm Sunday, 29 March, and culminating on Holy Saturday, 4 April.

The text of Sword in the Soul is here. More about the composition:

Grier’s Sword in the Soul was originally written in 1991 for a BBC Radio 4 broadcast, but it has not yet been commercially recorded. The imagery of the work’s sung texts, drawn from sources as diverse as the Orthodox liturgy and a 14th -century lyric poem, is particularly striking, making its 7- movement structure particularly well-suited to this visual treatment as a succession of contrasting video tableaux. As a BBC Radio 4 commission for Passiontide broadcast, Sword in the Soul was deliberately written by Grier in his most accessible and ravishing style, and this project will build on the work’s original aims by again ‘broadcasting’ it to a wide audience in Passiontide via the online release of the videos over Holy Week. 

This project is part of the 500th anniversary celebrations at the Chapel.

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