Photo: Hans Scherhaufer


Composition Commission issued to James Wood: Lamentations

Vocalconsort Berlin, Germany

The production of conductor and composer James Wood, together with Vocalconsort Berlin and project artist Arnim Friess, picks up on the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC mentioned in testimonies in the Old Testament. The text and structure of the musical program are based on the elegies attributed to Jeremias. Only individual texts found their way into Christian liturgy and were set to music – especially by composers of the 16th century. These texts and works form the focal point of the first part of the program. The second part is based on texts that have not found their way into liturgical canon. Instead, the focus is on the compositions of James Wood supported by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation. The composition of the musical program corresponds to the possible sequence of a nocturne. Lectio and responsorio, elegy and Gregorian chant alternate here. However, in James Wood’s work, elegies are not echoed in traditional song but in present day testimonies also set to music: letters, blogs and reports of persecuted Christians in the areas of conflict in the Near East that correspond thematically to the relevant Old Testament verses. James Wood approaches the suggestive power and the contrasting tension between the form and theme of the Old Testament texts in his composition by picking up on numerological systems and the significant symbolism of the 22 cards of the Major Arcana in tarot. Their allegorical power and inner logic are suggestive of the proximity to the verses.

Presented by the 12 singers of Vocalconsort Berlin and four instrumentalists (accordion, 2 bass clarinets, viola da gamba) the musical program finds its visual counterpart in a dramaturgy of light and visuals by Arnim Friess. His projections correlate history with the present day in an overlapping, interlocking and simultaneous way.


November 13 – 15, 2015
Berlin, Radialsystem V/Thomaskirche

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