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Sofia Gubaidulina: Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

According to St. John - World Premiere 16 March 2002

An important concert event will take place on 16 March 2002 at 7:00 P.M. at the Hamburg Hauptkirche St. Michaelis, realised by North German Radio as part of the series "das neue werk" (the new work). Vocal soloists and choir of the Maryinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir as well as the North German Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Valery Gergiev will be performing the St. John Passion of Sofia Gubaidulina, premiered in Stuttgart in 2000, together with St. John Easter, a work commissioned by North German Radio, as a complete cycle.

The work, lasting a good three hours, unites over 200 participants on the concert gallery of the Hamburg Michel and is, as such, one of the largest performance projects that the Hanseatic town of Hamburg has ever experienced in the area of serious music.

Sofia Gubaidulina has provided the following commentary to her St. John Cycle:

"The starting point of the "St. John Passion" contains, from the very outset, the Resurrection. This part should be based upon the interaction between two levels of text to the highest degree, more than all the other sections. These two levels are the narration of the Gospel according to St. John and the Revelation of St. John. The Resurrection part, initially planned as the ending, already influenced the composition of the entire Passion; this formed the basis of the structure, which is determined to a large extent by the succession of Gospel and Revelation texts.

While working on the "Passion" I had to separate thoughts of the Resurrection from the actual "Passion." However, I sensed that the narration of Jesus's earthly life path must in no case be allowed to end with a "solution of the dramatic conflict;" after such a dramatic process, there could only be one thing - a sign from the Day of Judgement. This meant an extreme dissonance, a kind of cry or scream. And following this final scream, only one thing was possible - silence. There is no continuation and there can be no continuation: "It is finished."

The entire conception required a completion, however. And so I decided to find a genuine answer to the Passion scene, regardless of how psychologically impossible this may have seemed." (Sofia Gubaidulina)