Tuesday 22 August 2017

European premiere of Craig Hella Johnson's Considering Matthew Shepard

Matthew Shepard
Matthew Shepard
I reviewed the premiere recording of Craig Hella Johnson's Considering Matthew Shepard in October last year (see my review), a work for choir and instrumental ensemble which places the tragic events of the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard into the context of a Passion-type narrative. The work, which was written for Hella Johnson's choir Conspirare, is now receiving its European premiere on 21 October 2017 at the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, when Simon Halsey conducts Marta Mathéu, soprano, Gemma Coma-Alabert, mezzo, Manu Guix, tenor, Joan Martín-Royo, baritone, Orfeó Català, Cor Jove de l’Orfeó Català, Cor de Noies de l’Orfeó Català, with Craig Hella Johnson on piano and an instrumental ensemble.

I have to confess to having doubts about the work when I first reviewed the CD but there is no doubting that a work originally written for a professional choir will make an exciting and stimulating challenge for an amateur choir. Conspirare recorded the work with just 29 singers (who provided the soloists as well), and it will be interesting to see what perspective is brought by a performance with the far larger forces of Orfeo Catala with its youth choirs.

Craig Hella Johnson's Considering Matthew Shepard is performed by Orfeo Catala at the Palau de l Musica in Barcelona, further information from the Orfeo Catala web page.

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