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Thread: OTF - Christus am Ölberge

          
   
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    Senior Member Involved Member itywltmt's Avatar
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    Cool OTF - Christus am Ölberge

    This week’s OTF post is a “tandem” post, taking advantage of my Friday Podcast for this week, a Good Friday-themed musical selection. I try not to “revisit” pieces I discuss on my individual blogs, and this week is the rare case of one such revisit.

    A couple of years back, I posrted an OTF musing on the sacred music composed by Beethoven, which pointed to a YouTube performance of “Christ at the Mount of Olives”. Beethoven’s only sacred oratorio returns this week, this time in a performance by Helmuth Rilling and two of his ensembles, the Gächinger Kantorei and the Bach-Collegium Stuttgart from the year 2000.

    I won’t spend much time here discussing the main work on the podcast, having done so before. Suffice it to say that this oratorio has somewhat drifted into obscurity, and is rarely performed, being regarded as one of Beethoven’s weaker choral works, eclipsed by the Ode to Joy in that regard. However, given that Beethoven only left one opera, it seems to me this oratorio deserves a bit more attention, as he left so few dramatic works.

    The podcast is completed by, of all things, film music.

    Over the last decade or so, there has been a good number of films (meant for television or theatrical release) that have tackled the events of the Passion. It is not my place to comment on these per se, but I’d rather point to what I would consider some vague memories of my childhood, and the kind of films we were treated to on television this time of year. Having been raised in (staunchly Catholic) French Québec in the 1960’s, where tens of thousands would tune in for the Rosary at 7 PM on the radio, on Good Fridays broadcasters would indulge in religious programming, including the obligatory “program interruption” at 3 PM, to allow for folks to fall on their knees…

    The 1935 French film “Golgotha” was probably one of two or three films that were programmed every few years, and though I can’t specifically claim to recognize the music of Jacques Ibert, I do remember some of the theremin-sounding effects that were engrained in the score.

    In his album notes, conductor Adriano writes that Ibert’s score is very demanding and dramatic. It plays an important part in a picture containing long sequences almost without dialogue. The version featured today is a suite assembled by Ibert himself, using various unaltered cues, but played by a larger ensemble. The original wind section which consisted of solo instruments, in accordance with the standard concession film composers had to make towards the primitive sound possibilities of the thirties, was therefore doubled when necessary, and the part of the second martenot re-arranged into sections for bass-clarinet, tuba and vibraphone.

    The original ad libitum wind effects played by the ondes martenot in the last movement were reduced to a few specific interventions. An eight-minute cut, containing some of the most exciting music, and the crossing-out of the final quotation of the opening fanfare, following the lovely funeral procession à la Satie, were restored, in order to give the suite a cyclic unity.


    Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
    Christus am Ölberge (Christ on the Mount of Olives), op. 85
    Maria Venuti, soprano
    Keith Lewis, tenor
    Michel Brodard, bass
    Stuttgart Gächinger Kantorei
    Stuttgart Bach Collegium
    Helmut Rilling, conducting

    Jacques IBERT (1890-1962)
    Golgotha, suite from the music for the film by Julien Duvivier(1935)
    Jacques Tchamkerten, ondes martenot
    Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Adriano, conducting

    Podcast Link - http://itywltmt.podomatic.com/entry/...00_00_00-07_00

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    Senior Member Involved Member itywltmt's Avatar
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    This montages will leave our Pod-O-Matic rotation on May 1. You can always find it in our archives at https://archive.org/details/pcast192

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