Via Crucis - Steadman & Provost
Cantores Oecumencia performed the world premiere of Robert Steadman and Neil Provost's Easter oratorio, Via Crucis, on Palm Sunday 2015. You can see the soloists and professional musicians below.
Via Crucis has been written following the success of Robert Steadman’s ‘Requiem’, the premiere of which Neil Provost directed and conducted. Robert wished to write another choral work for Passiontide and Neil had already begun writing a libretto which covered the telling of the fourteen stations of the cross. This provided an opportunity for both Robert and Neil and the notion of ‘Via Crucis’ was born.
The work is in fifteen movements; the fourteen traditional Stations of the Cross and a concluding chorale. The Stations of the Cross are a religious devotion (most commonly used in the Catholic Church) commemorating the final hours and ultimately the death of Jesus Christ.
There are many artistic representations and statues which depict tableaus of this story. Devotions will frequently use short biblical passages with contemplations, meditations and prayer to enable participants to experience the Passiontide story. The libretto for Via Crucis, loosely translated as Way of the Cross, builds on this concept to include thoughts and feelings of characters from the Passiontide story.
The music is set for three soloists, choir and organ. The soloists (mezzo-soprano, tenor and baritone) each sing key characters, however the tenor soloist only sings the part of Christ. The choir sing the part of the crowd as well as the general contemplations.
Mezzo-Soprano Narrator, Mary, Veronica
Baritone Narrator, Pilate, John, Soldier(s),
The work is written in a free flowing pattern with interactions between characters, the narrator, the crowd and interspersed with contemplations and meditations sung by the choir and soloists. There are two haunting arias, one sung by the mezzo-soprano as the character of Veronica, the other sung by Christ (‘The Women Lament’). A trio between all three soloists brings together the characters of Christ, Mary (his mother) and the disciple John.
Where a traditional Passiontide oratorio would end with Christ dying on the cross, Via Crucis continues the story to the tomb with a final duet between the mezzo-soprano and baritone. The work concludes with a chorale which summarises the story of Christ in a few short lines.
The Soloists and Professional Musicians
Joyce Tyndsley - Mezzo Soprano
(click on Joyce's image to see her biography)
Richard Pollock - Tenor
(click on Richard's image to see his biography)
Oliver Dunn - Baritone
(click on Oliver's image to see his biography)
Jonathan Scott - Guest Organist
(click on Jonathan's image to see his biography)
Neil Provost - Librettist & Conductor
(click on Neil's image to see his biography)
Robert Steadman - Composer
(click on Robert's image to see his biography)