Oerknal!Damask: Sin and Expiation
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Oerknal and vocal quartet Damask present a concert inspired by Bach’s Matthaüs-Passion. Themes of loss, sin, betrayal, sacrifice and redemption weave through various textures, tapestries and compositional voices, reinventing the traditional passion experience.
Since its inception Oerknal has cultivated a substantive collaborative relationship with American composer and conductor Lewis Nielson. This concert presents the premiere of Nielson’s Cilice, a co-commission from Oerknal and Damask. Cilice is a 21st-century cantata setting texts from Psalms, Dante, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Hölderlin, Goethe, Brecht, and Bachmann exploring themes of sin and expiation. In something of a Nielson trademark, the instrumentalists are called on to sing and the singers to create instrument-like sounds with the formal intention of developing a unification of ensemble and image as the work proceeds. In addition to this premiere, Damask offers Prophetiae Sibyllarum, a stunning collection of motets by Renaissance composer Orlande de Lassus, as well as Kaija Saariaho’s beautiful duet From the Grammar of Dreams, based on texts by Sylvia Plath exploring themes of self-doubt and absolution.
Oerknal offers Effluénces, an ethereal quintet by Greek composers Dimitri Papageorgiou, and both groups join forces to perform an arrangement of Medieval composer Hildegard van Bingen’s mystical masterpiece Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum.
‘Erkenne mich, mein Hüter’ from Matthäus-Passion, BWV 244 (1727)
Effluénces (12 min., 2011)
Orlando DI LASSO
Excerpts from Prophetiae Sibyllarum (10 min., c. 1550)
From the Grammar of Dreams (10 min., 1988)
Hildegard VAN BINGEN
Excerpts from Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum (12 min., c. 1140/2017)
‘Wenn ich einmal soll scheiden’ from Matthäus-Passion, BWV 244 (1727)
Cilice (35 min., 2017)