Exquisitely restrained yet indescribably intense, Arvo Pärt’s Passio is a modern masterpiece. This hour-long setting of St John’s Gospel draws upon some of the earliest settings of the passion story to reframe and distil its message for modern listeners. Interpolating passages for solo voices and choral ensembles, we are never far away from familiar passion territory and yet, with Pärt’s characteristic vocal candour and pared-down orchestration, it is a work that somehow remains timeless. In a Dunedin Consort first, we are delighted to be joining forces with Hebrides Ensemble in presenting this meditative and inescapably moving work to audiences across Scotland.
Nicholas Mulroy director
In times of isolation we find ourselves longing for community — for acts of kindness, understanding, and generosity of spirit. Few texts seem more fitting just now than the opening of the Lamentations of Jeremiah: ‘How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations!’
As we come to terms with a prolonged period of social isolation, we reflect upon these themes in music from the Renaissance to the present day. From Orlande de Lassus’s exquisite five-part Lamentations and William Byrd’s haunting Ne irascaris Domine and Civitas sancti tui, to the contemporary voices of James MacMillan and Cecilia McDowall. A new work from Ninfea Crutwell-Reade, specially commissioned for our a cappella consort during the period of lockdown, completes the programme.