On The 3rd of April the commissioned work: ST MATTHEW PASSION will have its world premier at St Mary Church, Helsingborg, Sweden. It’s my largest sacred work to this date and have a running time of 90 minutes. It’s scored for 6 soloists, mixed choir and orchestra as follows:
Christ – countertenor
Evangelist – solo quartet (SATB)
1 English Horn, 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns, 2 Trombones, Tuba
Harp, organ & Percussion
I have focused on the fact that The Gospel of St Matthew is strongly connected to the Old Testament. It begins with a family saga connecting Jesus all the way back to Abraham and king David. The latter one is seen as the writer of The Book of Psalms. Therefore I have included 13 interludes which consists of verses from this song book commentating the passion story as it unfolds. I also use the scales from the Jewish traditions and the Harp has its special role to play related to king David. The role of Jesus Christ is sung by a countertenor. The reason for this is to make it possible to show the duality of Christ as being both a true human as the Son of God. When Jesus is doubting and showing truly human weakness the solist uses his own original voice, when he is singing with the authority as being God’s only Son he uses his divine countertenor voice. It’s the first time this has been done in a passion. The work also begins with Jesus singing his prophesy of what is about to take place: that he will suffer and be crucified. The same text from St Matthew will return at the end but then also with the final sentence that was left out in the beginning: “and he will after 3 days rise again!”
The Passion is in the Swedish language. Maria Oratorio Choir with soloists and members of Helsingborg’s Symphony orchestra conducted by the former director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus: Ragnar Bohlin.