FRÉDÉRIC LEDROIT (b.1968): La Passion de Christ selon Saint-Jean, Op. 56.
Catalogue Number: 07V059
Reference: DSK 2194
Description: This is a major Passion oratorio, dramatically setting the account which arguably lends itself the best to this approach; the uncluttered Christocentrism and biographical nature of the narrative almost suggests an operatic libretto and it is no accident that the composer set out to write an opera sacra following the success of his Requiem. The tonal score, with its generous neo-Romantic orchestration presents its themes as a a very visceral, indeed operatic, drama; this is not a solemnly liturgical account of the Passion but one heroically declaimed by the Evangelist (unconventionally represented by three female voices successively rising in register which represents the gospel's symbolism of 'raising up' and being 'exalted', and likened by the composer to Dante's ascent from Hell toward Heaven in successive sections of the Commedia) and passionately acted out by the soloists. Pilate's conflicted agonizing over his actions in the 'Ecce homo' scene, for instance (which is followed by a searing and magnificent choral statement of the Agnus Dei, one of several prayers and excerpts from the Johannine texts interpolated into the score), is comparable to Faust's in Busoni's opera. A small number of listeners might find this unabashedly operatic approach to a Biblical narrative a bit over the top; most will find it as magnificent, compelling and utterly immersive as one of John Martin's epic and grandiose Biblical canvases. Cristina Obregon (soprano), Gaelle Malada (mezzo), Clara Pertuy (contralto), Alessandro Rinella (tenor), Bernard Causse (baritone), Chamber Choir of Europe, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz; Robert Reimer.