Passion and Belief
Proposed by Klarafestival
Composition for choir and organ, for choir and piano, for organ solo, for piano solo, and for piano duet, but NOT for cello quartet.
The theme of Musma 2016 takes Liszt’s masterpiece Via Crucis as starting point. So let’s do something about that by commissioning short new pieces (max 8’) to be inserted in a performance of the Via Crucis, or to be a stand-alone or part of group. The basic musical theme should be the same as used in Liszt’s piece: the hymn Vexilla regis prodeunt (as used in the prelude).
By proposing this theme, Klarafestival would like to reflect on the meaning of passion and belief in our time.
On Liszt’s Via Crucis:
Liszt seems to have imagined a procession around a church, stopping at each of the paintings or sculptures that so often depict the fourteen Stations of the Cross, and singing at each one — along with some kind of portative harmonium! It is safe to assume that all modern day performances of the work, which was rescued for performance only in 1929, and whose piano version was published for the first time in 1980 in the excellent New Liszt Edition, are performed without procession. However, the piece opens with a processional hymn, Vexilla regis, which Liszt made use of in three different compositions —the present work, the extended piano piece, and the short chorale (see below). The first three notes of this melody became a particularly beloved motif for Liszt in his later compositions, where it is always used to represent the Cross, as, for example, in the Crusaders’ March in St Elizabeth. Liszt begins with a short introduction on this motif before setting the hymn.
The first Station, Jesus is condemned to death, is a rather violent piece, mostly in octaves, and not based on any external source material. The second, Jesus is made to carry his cross, is punctuated by a short phrase of plainsong to the words ‘Ave Crux’, and ends with a passage which depicts slow walking. The third, Jesus falls for the first time, begins with the rough expression of ‘Jesus cadit’ and resolves into the first verse of the plainsong hymn ‘Stabat mater dolorosa’. The fourth, Jesus meets his Blessed mother, has a harmonic language that anticipates Messaien by over half a century. The melody which ends this piece, somehow reminding us of love in the midst of sorrow, will recur at the end of the work. The fifth, Simon the Cyrenian helps Jesus to carry his cross, also brings the solace of affection, and ends with the same music as does the second Station. The sixth, Saint Veronica, adds a short introduction and coda to a harmonization of the famous chorale usually translated as ‘O sacred head sore wounded’, and familiar to us especially from Bach, although actually the original work of Hans Leo Hassler (1564–1612).
Station VII, Jesus falls for the second time, is a slightly altered repetition of Station III, a semitone higher. The eighth Station, The women of Jerusalem, is one of the most idiomatic musical descriptions of weeping in the whole literature. After the first climax is a short monody with an inscription from St Luke: ‘Weep not for me, but for yourselves, and for your children.’ The final bleak marching passage indicates the last part of the road to Calvary. The ninth, Jesus falls a third time, moves the earlier music up another semitone, with minor alterations. The tenth, Jesus is deprived of his clothing, is another original piece with striking chromatic harmony far ahead of its time. Liszt’s remark to himself at the end of the manuscript (‘Durch Mitleid wissend’) comes from the libretto of the as yet unfinished Parsifal, and possibly indicates Liszt’s own awareness of how he discovered his forward-looking musical language through wisdom which came of compassion. There is certainly no question of Wagner’s music being quoted. Station XI, Jesus is nailed to the cross, reiterates the cry ‘Crucifige’ in a phrase of deliberate brutality. The twelfth, Jesus dies on the cross, is an extended piece, with two of the Last Words: ‘Eli, Eli lama Sabacthani?’ and ‘In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum’. A musical meditation on the three-note motif also takes in the last Word: ‘Consummatum est’ and the piece concludes with a harmonization and extension of the chorale O Traurigkeit, o Herzeleid! whose harmony is at once simple and daringly dissonant. Desolate is the only appropriate adjective for the thirteenth Station, Jesus is taken down from the cross—fragments of the ‘Stabat Mater’ and a varied version of the fourth Station trail away into silence. The final Station, Jesus is laid in the tomb, returns to the hymn of the opening procession, continuing from the text ‘Ave crux spes unica’, with a calming rhythmic accompaniment in 3/2 before the most delicate coda upon the melody from the fourth Station and the three-note ‘Cross’ motif bring the work to a close.
Polish Cello Quartet
Tomasz Daroch, Wojciech Fudala, Krzysztof Karpeta and Adam Krzeszowiec formed Polish Cello Quartet in 2011. Its members belong to a new generation of Polish cellists that had an honour and privilage to acquire their skills from world-leading cello teachers such as: Jelena Očić, Frans Helmerson, Gary Hoffman, Michael Flaksman, Paweł Głombik, Stanisław Firlej. Their musical output includes many awards in solo and chamber performances; they gained experience in many European cultural centers e.g. Cologne, Mannheim or Brussels. The members of the quartet, being friends for a long time, decided to initiate a chamber music group, to show and share their unique sound with the world. You can see them performing on a regular basis at many international music festivals, including: Wratislavia Cantans, Schiermonnikoog Chamber Music Festival, Q’arto Mondi, and Jazztopad. Their repertoire consists mainly of pieces originally composed for four cellos, many of which has never before been presented in Poland. The Quartet is still working on and developing their repertoir, chosing the latest works by leading Polish and foreign composers. The group has collaborated with many great and highly regarded musicians both classical and jazz, among others: Gary Hoffman, Dominik Połoński, Tony Mallaby, Nate Wooley. Members of the Quartet are the organizers and originators of the International Cello Academy in Nysa (Poland) which is thought to promote cello chamber music among students.
Since 2014 Polish Cello Quartet is a group belonging to the National Forum of Music.
CSO Cello Quartet
The Presidential Symphony Orchestra Cello Quartet is founded by the four succesful cellists of the Presidential Symphony Orchestra: Onur Şenler, Ibrahim Aydoğdu, Yaz Irmak and Köklü Yiğit Tan. The repertoire ranges from jazz to tango, from sountracks to Turkish folk music, arranged by the Quartet. The Quartet has become one of the favourite chamber music group in Turkey, and performs many concerts all over the country.
20.30 – Welcome Dinner offered by Festival De Wallonie at Hotel Dream, Mons
Auditorium – Conservatory of Mons
Atelier of the six MusMA VI composers
Students in cello and composition from the Conservatories of Mons, Brussels and Liège are attending
9:30-10:30 – Arda Agosyan – 8’30
10:45-11:45 – Annelies Van Parys – 7’
12:00-13:00 – Alice Hebborn – 8’
LUNCH (Conservatory of Mons)
14:00-15:00 – Alessio Domini – 9’
15:15-16 :15 – Daniel Fjellström
16:30-17:30 – Artur Zagajewski – 8’
Michel Stockhem, Director of Conservatory
18:30 – 20:00 Dress rehearsal (6 pieces) and guided tour by Jean-Paul Dessy: composer and artistic director of « Musiques Nouvelles »
Klara Festival Offices, Brussels
10.30 Meeting of the MusMA festival partners (closed doors) – CANCELLED
12.00 Meeting with Radio partners MusMA – CANCELLED
13.00 Lunch offered by Klara Festival
20.00 MUSMA CONCERT – CANCELLED
JAN MICHIELS, INGE SPINETTE & POLISH CELLO QUARTET
Jan Michiels & Inge Spinette
Marcel Markowski, Krzysztof Karpeta, Wojciech Fudala, Tomasz Daroch cello
Franz Liszt – Via Crucis
Annelies van Parys – Via Crucis
Alice Hebborn – Ensauvagement
Arda Agosyan – The Third Fall
Alessio Domini – After The Torchlight Red
Unfortunately due to due terrible event of March 22nd in Brussels some of our activities as well as the long waited for first MusMA concert of this 2016 edition was cancelled.
Where some destroyed, others continue to build and affirm the presence of a deep thought through music. Liszt’s “Via Crucis” as a source of inspiration for young composers: spirituality ( far away from any religious manipulation) in response to the tragic … what is more uptodate.
Thank you MUSMA for this beautiful meeting yesterday!
Claude Ledoux, composer and teacher at the Music Conservatory of Mons