Monday 25 March 19:00
Duration: 1 hour and 25 minutes
ERNST WILHELM WOLF:
PASSION ORATORIO JESU, DEINE PASSION WILL ICH JETZT BEDENKEN (JESUS, ON THY DYING LOVE)
DIE KÖLNER AKADEMIE
MICHAEL ALEXANDER WILLENS, CONDUCTOR
Experience a great Passion oratorio!
Of the many Passion works of music history, few are better known or performed more often than J. S. Bach's Matthew Passion and St. John Passion. Both works are exceptional in their length and ambition. During the second half of the 18th century, a number of Passions were written that do not follow the gospels page for page, but instead choose specific scenes. This is the case with Ernst Wilhelm Wolf's (1735–1792) Passion oratorio Jesu, deine Passion will ich jetzt bedenken (Jesus, On Thy Dying Love), composed in 1756.
The work is influenced by the ideas and philosophy of the Enlightenment, and uses Rococo's tonal language. Wolf was a very well-regarded and well-known composer in his day who lived a large part of his life in Weimar, a powerhouse in German spiritual life, and was a good friend of, among others, author and poet Christoph Martin Wieland and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Musically he was inspired by his teacher and friend Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach.
The German early music ensemble Die Kölner Akademie under the direction of conductor Michael Alexander Willens performs Wolf's Passion oratorio in concert. The oratorio has never been performed in concert, only recorded on CD and thus has its world premiere at the festival. The work was written before Wolf became a well-known composer, and was not published in his lifetime. The audience has a unique opportunity to discover this beautiful Passion oratorio by an exciting composer while experiencing a neglected musical genre, the German oratorio from the period between J. S. Bach and J. Haydn.
Die Kölner Akademie is a critically acclaimed German early music ensemble under the artistic direction of American conductor Michael Alexander Willens. The ensemble performs music from the 17th century and up to the present day on original instruments with world-leading soloists. They receive glowing reviews for their concerts at festivals and concert venues in Europe, North America, South America, Asia and the Middle East. The ensemble has won a number of awards for their CD recordings.
The Kölner Akademie Chor consists of professional singers who collaborate with Die Kölner Akademie on a number of projects. The choir is flexible and performs a broad range of music, from Pergolesi and Bach to Kurt Weill and Arvo Pärt.
Michael Alexander Willens is an American conductor. He is principal conductor and artistic director of Die Kölner Akademie. Willens was educated at the Juilliard School in New York, where he studied conducting under John Nelson, and later with conductor legend and composer Leonard Bernstein at Tanglewood. Willens has a broad repertoire spanning from Baroque works to contemporary music with a special interest in newly written American choir music.
Hanna Herfurtner is a versatile concert and opera singer with a repertoire that spans from Monteverdi to 20th century vocal music. She performs throughout Europe on concert and opera stages such as Konzerthaus Berlin, Wiener Konzerthaus, Theater an der Wien, Stavanger Concert Hall and The Norwegian National Opera & Ballet. Herfurtner has performed under conductors such as Alfredo Bernardini, Christian Thielemann, Michi Gaigg and Michael Alexander Willens.
Photo: Theresa Pewal
Marian Dijkhuizen studied singing in The Hague and Zurich and through her studies developed a broad concert and opera repertoire that spans from Purcell and Handel to newly written works of contemporary composers, most recently an opera by Kaija Saariaho. She is a mezzo-soprano who is often chosen for oratorios and vocal works by Bach, Beethoven, Handel, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Dvořák. Dijkhuizen tours regularly all over Europe, performing under conductors such as Raphaël Pichon, Peter Dijkstra, Risto Joost and Daniel Reuss.
Photo: Anaïs López
Gwilym Bowen is a British tenor who performs regularly with orchestras and ensembles at the highest level internationally, such as the BBC National Orchestra, Dunedin Consort and Seattle Symphony Orchestra. His repertoire is broad and spans from Baroque works to contemporary, with a special interest in Monteverdi, Handel and Bach. Bowen has performed under conductors such as John Butt, Masaaki Suzuki and Stephen Layton.
Photo: Benjamin Ealovega
Mauro Borgioni studied singing at Scuola Civica in Milan and later at the Fondation Royaumont in Paris. As a soloist he performs a broad repertoire that includes madrigals, cantatas, oratorios and operas. He regularly collaborates with orchestras and ensembles such as La Venexiana, Concerto Italiano, Coro della Radio Svizzera and Orchestra da Camera di Mantova. Borgioni has performed under conductors such as Rinaldo Alessandrini, Claudio Cavina, Lorenzo Ghielmi, Jonathan Webb and Timothy Brock.