PEETER VÄHI (b.1955): Mary Magdalene Gospel.
Catalogue Number: 02P094
Label: Estonian Record Productions
Reference: ERP 5412
Description: Composed in 2010-11, this oratorio sets the surviving texts of one of the more interesting apocryphal gospels (apostles jealous that Jesus spent so much time talking with a woman! horrors!). Vähi's wide-ranging stylistic experience is widened further by having listened to recordings of Coptic liturgy and his use of unusual instruments - marimbaphone, tubular bells, piatti, 2−3 sistrum-rattles, 3 Paiste sound plates, thunder sheet, tam-tam, 2 Egyptian double-headed kebero-drums, gran cassa, hand-claps) - and recorded sound (wind, thunder, rain, Coptic liturgy) add to the exotic orchestral color which one reviewer compared to Maurice Jarre's score for "Lawrence of Arabia" (a little wildly, in my opinion). Nevertheless, it's an interesting and ear-opening way to spend an hour even if there are no translations of the Coptic originals (but if you have ancient Greek or studied Greek papyrology, you can sort of read the texts - watch out for those six added letters from Egyptian demotic hieroglyphics though!). Coptic texts. Sevara Nazarkhan (soprano), Priit Vollmer (bass), Juris Jekabsons (tenor), Mixed Choir Latvija, Riga Dom Cathedral Boys Choir, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra; Risto Joost.