Episode 191. Music for Holy Week

Episode 191. Music for Holy Week



Diana Montague (born April 8… Happy Birthday!)

Welcome to all listeners both old and new to the podcast! This week I am focusing on music related to the Christian observation of Holy Week: oratorios, motets, cantatas, songs and song cycles, even operas from Renaissance to contemporary, performed by a wide range of singers. Alongside podcast favorites Jennie Tourel, Roberta Alexander, Eugene Holmes, Hugues Cuénod, Mitsuko Shirai, Muriel Smith, and others, I also feature performances by recently departed vocal giants Virginia Zeani and James Bowman (both of whom will be foregrounded in next week’s episode), as well as the sublime British mezzo-soprano Diana Montague, who celebrates her birthday this week. We also hear her husband, the magnificent tenor David Rendall, as well as their extraordinarily gifted son, baritone Huw Montague Rendall, whom I was privileged to meet in Berlin this past week. We also hear a variety of settings of the 13th century Stabat Mater text from Giovanni Felice Sances in the 17th century to the more thorny twentieth-century idiom of the Swiss Frank Martin and the African American Julia Perry. Contemplative art songs by Schubert, Wolf, Hindemith, Finzi, and Andriessen round out the episode.


Paul Dessau, Max Brod: Jeden Tag wir bewahrt unser Gott (Haggadah shel Pessach). Bernd Weikl, Gerd Albrecht, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester [1995]

Gianna Pederzini, Virginia Zeani, Francis Poulenc, and Gigliola Frazzoni at the premiere of Dialoghe delle Carmelitane, La Scala, 1957.

Francis Poulenc [after Georges Bernanos, Gertrud von le Fort]: Excerpt from Act I, Scene 1 (Dialoghi delle Carmelitane). Virginia Zeani, Scipio Colombo, Nino Sanzogno, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala [world premiere, Milano, 26.I.1957]

James Bowman as Oberon in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Anonymous composer and poet: Miserere, my maker (verses 2 & 3). James Bowman, Robert Spencer [1972]

César Franck, Joséphine Colomb: Moi du Sauveur je suis la mère (Les Béatitudes, M. 53). Diana Montague, Helmuth Rilling, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR [1990]

Gioacchino Rossini: Cujus animam gementem (Stabat mater). David Rendall, Owain Arwel Hughes, BBC Welsh Symphony Orchestra [live Tewkesbury Abbey 1988]

Hugo Wolf, Eduard Mörike: Karwoche. Mitsuko Shirai, David Shallon, Radio-Symphonie-Orchester Berlin [1992]

François Couperin (le Grand): Daleth… Viae Sion (Première Leçon de Ténèbres pour le Mercredy Saint). Hugues Cuénod, Daniel Pinkham, Robert Brink, William Waterhouse, Alfred Zighera [1954]

Giovanni Felice Sances: Eja, Mater, fons amoris (Stabat Mater). Carlos Mena, Philippe Pierlot, Ricercar Consort [2007]

Franz Schubert: Bei des Mittlers Kreuze standen bang (Stabat Mater, D. 383). Sheila Armstrong, Michel Corboz, Lausanne Chamber Orchestra [1979]

Franz Schubert, Friedrich Schlegel: Vom Mitleiden Mariae, D. 632. Werner Krenn, Gerald Moore [1967]

Traditional Spiritual, arr. Harry T. Burleigh: Weepin’ Mary. Eugene Holmes, Gerd Hirtz [1988]

Rainer Maria Rilke: Pietà (Das Marienleben). Lotte Lehmann [1958]

Paul Hindemith, Rainer Maria Rilke: Pietà (Das Marienleben, Op. 27-11) [1948 revised version]. Jennie Tourel, Erich Itor Kahn [1954]

Frank Martin: Stabat Mater (Maria Triptychon). Edith Mathis, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Jean Fournet, Schweizerisches Festspielorchester [live Luzern 22.VIII.84]

Hendrik Andriessen, Henri Ghéon: Flagellation (Miroir de Peine, No. 2). Roberta Alexander, David Porcelijn, Netherlands Radio Orchestra [1992]

Julia Perry: Quis est homo qui non fleret (Stabat Mater). Briana Hunter, Leon Bostein, The Orchestra Now (TŌN) [livestream 14.XI.21]

Julia Perry

Gerald Finzi, William Shakespeare: Fear no more the head o’ the sun (Let Us Garlands Bring, Op. 18/3). Huw Montague Rendall, Hélio Vida [live Nancy 11.II.2020]

Hugo Wolf, Eduard Mörike: Seufzer. Benjamin Luxon, David Willison [1972]

Johannes Brahms: Herr, lehre doch mich (Ein deutsches Requiem). Hans Hotter, Sergiu Celibidache, Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester und -Chor [live Köln, 28.X.1957]

Felix Mendelssohn: O rest in the Lord (Elijah). Florence Quivar, Robert Shaw, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra [1995]

Virgil Thomson, anonymous text: Before Sleeping (Praises and Prayers, No. 4). Betty Allen, Virgil Thomson [world premiere, New York 24.X.1963]

Traditional Spiritual: Were You There? Muriel Smith [1955]

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