Instrumentation SSAATTBB choir a cappella
Text by Jeffrey Ryan
World Premiere March 13, 1992, Church of the Covenant, Cleveland, Ohio. Gayle Ross, Deborah Christie, sopranos; Kim Hawkins, Sylvia Sharp, altos; Dwayne Milburn, David Gilson, tenors; Mark Stachowsky, Tom Anderson, basses; Jeffrey Ryan, conductor
This short choral work was inspired by a medieval English stained glass window (part of the collection at the Cleveland Museum of Art), depicting the Crucifixion. In keeping with this medieval source, the work is scored for eight voices, which echo and imitate each other to evoke the sound of a reverberant cathedral.
The Latin title translates as “Behold the man” — the words spoken by Pilate as he turned Christ over to the crowd. This work speaks, intimately and introspectively, of the grief, suffering, and, ultimately, acceptance and release which we experience both individually and collectively throughout our lives.
One of the most intense and complex pieces of [the Alfred Chamber Singers’] repertoire… (Jasmine Lellock/Fiat Lux)
This is a serious Passion work…and the music, like driftwood tunneled with woodworm, is a tangled polyphony of sighing, semitone motifs and lamenting inner voices, often combined in murmured confusion over a drone, and somewhat reminiscent of Gothic organum–though never as serene. It struck me as a piece with real backbone… (Elissa Poole/Opus Magazine)
PDF score excerpt
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