Wednesday 30 March 2022

Arvo Pärt's Passio at St Martin's Easter Festival

Arvo Pärt's Passio

The centrepiece of St Martin's Easter Festival (which runs at St Martin-in-the-Fields from 7 to 18 April 2022) is a performance of Arvo Pärt's Passio on 12 April when Owain Park conducts the Gesualdo Six, and St Martin's own choirs. Pärt's setting of the Latin text from St John's Gospel uses a solo quartet as the Evangelist alongside solo baritone (Jesus), solo tenor (Pilate), choir and instrumental quintet. The work was premiered in 1982 and is very much a crystallisation of his early Tinntinabuli style.

The festival opens with Jeffrey Skidmore directing Ex Cathedra in music by Bach, Purcell, Lotti, Scarlattin and Monteverdi, whilst saxophonist Christian Forshaw joins forces with Tenebrae for an exploration of old and new entitled Drop, slow tears: A Meditation for Choir and Sax [see my interview with Christian].

Good Friday features a performance of Bach's St John Passion when Andrew Earis directs St Martin's Voices with the London Mozart Players and the choir returns on Easter Saturday with a concert which pairs Allegri's Miserere with James MacMillan's recent setting of the same text, originally written for The Sixteen. The festival ends with a visit from the London Handel Festival, when Laurence Cummings directs the London Handel Orchestra and Nardus Williams, Rachel Redmond (sopranos), Ed Lyon (tenor), and Callum Thorpe (bass) in Handel's early Italian oratorio, La Resurrezione.

Full details from St Martin-in-the-Fields website.

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