The Passion of Jesus Christ is remembered in a most sober way in the Orthodox Church. The icon of the crucified Savior portrays his mortal nature being glorified through his divine stillness as the work of redemption is completed. Through Christ’s suffering and death humanity is allowed to return to his original beauty and the power of death and sin are forever destroyed. But just as the Passion Gospels end with the Lord’s death in anticipation of his rising, so too we remain waiting for eternal life while proclaiming: We venerate Thy Passion, O Christ. Show us also Thy glorious Resurrection.
The Crucifixion is a contemporary a cappella cantata drawing from the riches of the Royal Hours from Holy Friday. Once a service for the Byzantine Emperor and his court, the Royal Hours are still served in the Orthodox Church as a submission of all to Christ’s kingship. This ancient rite is presented in extraction while preserving the Gospel narratives and selected hymns emphasizing the self-emptying of Christ. Though set to traditional chants, the textures of these musical arrangements are various ranging from medieval polyphony to contemporary techniques. This work is the second in a series of sacred cantatas; it follows The Incarnation premiered in 2009 with the hopes of being concluded by The Epiphany in 2011.
In Lumine is a sacred vocal ensemble dedicated to educational concerts on the teachings of the Orthodox Christian Church. While primarily focusing on Orthodox repertoire, In Lumine also anticipates including the works from other Christian traditions that reaffirm or compliment those of the Church. The name of the ensemble is derived from a verse in the Psalms (77:14 LXX), “In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire.” This passage describes and divine leading of a people to the Promised Land. The mission of In Lumine is to guide or introduce an audience to Christ by his light.
Conductor & Composer Nicholas Reeves brings together classical, sacred and popular influences in well-crafted works that are gaining attention in New York City and beyond. His work has been performed by The Canticum Novum Singers under the direction of Harold Rosenbaum, the Winds of Læsø Art Festival in Denmark, and in a masterclass with Pierre Boulez during the IRCAM residency at the Manhattan School of Music. A new work “In Memoriam Dmitri Shostakovich” will be featured on the concert Orthodoxy Under The Communist Yoke in May 2010.
In February 2009, Reeves’s work was featured in a four-day concert engagement, The Four Stop Tour. This versatile series of performances in Manhattan encompassed four aspects of American musical culture: film, theater, sacred hymns and concert works. His music was heard at The Riverside Church, The 45th Street Theater, and Merkin Hall. Of special interest was an historic performance of selections from Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil, in which the Vespers portion was sung as an actual Orthodox Service with Propers composed by Reeves. The first stop of the tour encompassed Reeves’s multifaceted artistry in which the Oscar winning film No Country for Old Men, famous for having a minimal musical score, was viewed with a live orchestra performing his composition to accompany the film. Presently, Reeves is composing his much anticipated first opera Vicious.
Composer Robert Sirico was born in 1970 and raised in Sufflok County, Long Island, NY. He is a professional educator specializing in Physics, Advanced Mathematics, and Numerical Analysis of Environmental Fluid Systems. Mr. Sirico’s musical experience includes Liturgical Choir Director where he oversees the music program at his spiritual home in the parish of St. John Theologian Orthodox Church in Shirley, NY. (www.stjt.org)
Mr. Sirico has been studying music composition for the past 15 years under the auspices of noted American composers such as Charles Griffin, Ludmila Ulehla (d.2009+), and recently, Nicholas Reeves, who is the Artistic Director of the OCMP.
Soloist Aaron Theno has recently been seen as Le Commisaire in the Philip Glass opera “Orphée” which he performed with Glimmerglass opera while a member of their Young American Artists Program. He has been lauded by the Oregonian as “a musical singer who established his character through incisive tone and diction” in his portrayal of Collatinus for Portland Opera’s “The Rape of Lucretia.” Mr. Theno was also seen on the main stage as Masetto in their 2006 production of “Don Giovanni.” While a member of the Portland Opera Studio he also performed as Angelotti in “Tosca,” and Il Medico in “Macbeth.” He has also been seen as Figaro in “Le nozze di Figaro,” Colline in “La Boheme,” Leporello in “Don Giovanni,” and Superintedant Budd in “Albert Herring.”
He received his B.M. in voice performance from The University of Michigan where he studied with George Shirley, and his M.M. in voice performance from The Manhattan School of Music where he studied with Spiro Malas.
TEXTS AND TRANSLATIONS
Come, and let us Sing, setting 1, Byzantine Chant Plagal of the Fourth Mode
Come, and let us sing the praises of Him who was crucified for us. For Mary said, when she beheld Him on the tree; ‘Though Thou dost endure the Cross, yet Thou art my Son and God.’
First Gospel: MATTHEW 27: 1-54
Thou wast led as a sheep, Kievan Chant Tone 8
Thou wast led as a sheep to the slaughter, O Christ our King, and as an innocent Lamb Thou wast nailed to the Cross by wicked men for our sins, in Thy love for mankind.
Today the veil of the temple is rent in twain, as a reproof against the transgressors; and the sun hides its own rays, seeing the Master crucified.
Come, and let us Sing, setting 2
Second Gospel: MARK 15: 16-41
When the soldiers mocked Thee, Kievan Chant Tone 8
When the soldiers mocked Thee, O Lord, before Thy death upon the precious Cross, the heavenly hosts were struck with wonder. For Thou who hast adorned the earth with flowers wast arrayed in a crown of shame; and Thou who hast wrapped the firmament in clouds wast clothed in a robe of mockery. Thus in Thy providence O Christ, Thou hast made known Thy compassion and great mercy: Glory be to Thee.
Come, and let us Sing, setting 3
Third Gospel: LUKE 23:32-47
When the thief beheld, Kievan Chant Tone 8
When the thief beheld the Author of life hanging upon the Cross, he said: ‘If it were not God incarnate that is crucified with us, the sun would not have hid its rays nor would the earth have quaked and trembled. But, all-forbearing Lord, remember me in Thy Kingdom.’
Come, and let us Sing, setting 4
Fourth Gospel: JOHN (18:28-19:37)
Today He who hung the earth, Byzantine Chant Plagal of the 2nd Mode
Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung upon Cross (thrice).
He who is King of the angels is arrayed in a crown of thorns.
He who wraps the heaven in clouds is wrapped in the purple of mockery
He who in Jordan set Adam free receives blows upon His face.
The Bridegroom of the Church is transfixed with nails.
The Son of the Virgin is pierced with a spear.
We venerate Thy Passion, O Christ (thrice).”
Show us also Thy glorious Resurrection.
Come, and let us Sing, setting 5
Translation, The Lenten Triodion, Faber and Faber except movement 12, Orthodox Church in America