Tuesday, 30 May 2017

150 composers, 150 psalms, 1000 years of music

150Psalms festival logo
Nederlands Kammerkoor is 80 this year and has come up with a gloriously mad project as part of the celebrations. On 1 & 2 September 2017 at the Utrecht Early Music Festival the choir will be joined by The Tallis Scholars, Det Norske Solistkor, and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, to give a sequence of concerts performing all 150 of the psalms, with music from 150 composers representing 1000 years of choral music. In all, a celebration of one of the most important literary sources for the choral music tradition.

When I interviewed Peter Dijkstra (see the full interview), conductor of Nederlands Kammerkoor, he was at pains to point out the that the weekend is not an exercise in nostalgia, and that many of the psalm texts are relevant today. The references to sovereigns using power at will, the sufferings of refugees, and peoples walking around homeless clearly apply to today's world, asking the question where do I belong, what is my future, and what does my religion mean to me? And Peter calls them fantastic texts to bring alive.

There will be a dozen concerts, with a wide range of composers Josquin to Rossi and Gretchaninov to Schumann, contemporary composers specially commissioned and premieres from American composer David Lang and Lebanese composer Zad Moultaka. But there will also be lectures, workshops, and even an interactive exhibition. Distinguished speakers including Michael Ignatieff will reflect on the psalms themes and ideas.

Full details from the 150psalms website.

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