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DAVON KAM DER TOD SO BALD

Date: 2015
Duration: 3 minutes
Instrumentation: flute, alto sax, cello
Premiere: February 6, 2015. Anna Bartlett (flute), Pam De Haan (sax), Hannah McGarvey (cello). Northwestern College (Orange City, IA)



Davon kam der Tod so bald was written as part of a collaborate project that included an artist, several composers and several poets. Composers and poets were invited to compose short compositions and poems based on the same artwork — a set of three prints entitled "Cruci" by artist Eric Robinson. The three images are variations on the same print depicting Christ during the crucifixion. All compositions were written for the same instrumentation.

Davon kam der Tod so bald reflects more than a slight nod to J.S. Bach, the great master whose many musical portrayals of the suffering Christ are unmatched in their beauty, deep sincerity, and expressivity. The most obvious nod to the great composer is in the descending cello passacaglia line which directly references the Crucifixus movement of the great composer’s Mass in B minor. It is as if Bach’s meditation of Christ’s torn body has been echoing through the generations, even until now. We, like Bach, continue to contemplate the terrifying beauty of the crucifixion. The title (English: Therefore death came so quickly) is the fifth line of the second verse of Martin Luther’s hymn "Christ lag in Todesbanden," a verse which Bach set for soprano and alto duet (indirectly referenced here by the flute/sax duet here) in the third movement of his fourth cantata.


click to enlarge


Eric Robinson, from the Cruci collection

Performances

—February 6, 2015: Anna Bartlett (flute), Pam De Haan (sax), Hannah McGarvey (cello), Northwestern College (Orange City, IA)
—February 18, 2015: Anna Bartlett (flute), Pam De Haan (sax), Hannah McGarvey (cello), Northwestern College (Orange City, IA)