Friday, January 28, 2011

The Pope in England

The premiere of MacMillan's "Tu Es Petrus" is embedded in this post. It was used for the Pope's visit to England.

Yes, it's a big one. Huge! Orchestra, full organ, massive chamber, decent (not highly disciplined) choir.

What struck me is MacMillan's tone-painting, or illumination of the text.

The music at the beginning clearly tells us that someone important is speaking and that what he says is significant. But it also is vaguely threatening, as if to say that 'this "Petrus" thing will not be a light and easy task'.

The music accompanying the 'gates of Hell' is unsettled, almost chaotic. The rhythm, as well as the vocal 'hooks' in the music, tell us about demons.

Then, at the end, the music is gentle, solicitous. You can hear the "I will love and support you" in that final unaccompanied phrase "...and I give you the keys....."

"Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam Meam, et portae inferi non praevalebunt adversus eam; et tibi dabo claves regni coelorum"

You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against her, and I give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven."

HT: Jeffrey & Co.

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