Cambridge Holy Week Program Announced

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Duke Divinity School members are invited to celebrate Easter in Cambridge England with a full program of concerts and services during Holy Week, as part of the Duke-Cambridge Collaboration. 

Highlights of the week include:

The Chapel of Clare College CambridgeRumours of Passion (Weds April 4)

A sequence of poetry, readings and music based on the strange and stirring Servant Songs of Isaiah, in the intimate setting of Clare College Chapel. The evening will include four poems by distinguished Irish poet Micheal O’Siadhail, commissioned for the occasion and read by the poet.

One of the poems, entitled “O you whose love laid out our skies,” has been set to music by DITA’s Director Jeremy Begbie and will receive its first performance by the Cambridge-Duke Voices, a collaborative choir formed especially for the event.

Sung Eucharist on Maundy Thursday

Eucharist will be celebrated in King’s College Chapel with the world-renowned King’s College Choir. The preacher will be Duke Divinity School’s Dean Richard Hays.

"Illuminating Messiaen" Duke Photography Exhibition

The winning entries of Duke Divinity School’s photography contest will be displayed in an all-day exhibition open to the general public on Maundy Thursday in the Corpus Playroom theatre.

In the evening, distinguished pianist, composer, and broadcaster David Owen Norris will present an introduction to Olivier Messiaen’s Visions de l’Amen, which is to be performed in the Chapel immediately afterwards. David’s talk will draw on the photographs, which were inspired by the music and will be displayed during the concert itself.

View the winning photographs

Dr Jeremy Begbie at the pianoMessiaen, Visions de l’Amen

Written in the midst of the Second World War in occupied France, Messiaen’s spectacular Visions de l’Amen for two pianos is one of his most well-known and accessible pieces, encompassing a huge range of emotion and pianistic virtuosity. Messiaen paints a vast panorama in sound, depicting the passage from the world's creation to its re-creation, including at its center a profound meditation on Jesus’ agony in Gethsemane.

The work will be performed on two pianos by DITA’s Director Jeremy Begbie and London-based concert pianist Cordelia Williams.

Elgar, The Apostles (Sat 7 April)

“Upon me it produced an extraordinary effect” wrote  A.C. Benson to Elgar after The Apostles was first performed in King’s College Chapel in 1906 “…the beauty of certain movements is incredible – out of the reach of art. I can’t conceive the process by which you dreamed of such sounds.”

Such is the deeply moving experience in store for the audience that comes to King’s Chapel this Holy Saturday to hear in the words and music of this great oratorio the story of Christ’s apostles, from their calling, through to the events at Golgotha and the Sepulchre, to the Resurrection.

The Philharmonia Chorus will be joined for the performance by guest singers from Duke University, and the concert is being recorded by BBC Radio 3.

The Full Program

For full information on these and other concerts and services to be held during the week, download the Easter at King’s program.

The Duke-Cambridge Consultation

Running alongside the public events of the week will be private Consultation meetings in preparation for Duke’s commissioning of a new St Luke Passion from Scottish composer James MacMillan. Delegates who met in September 2011 will continue conversations with the composer, who will be joining the group for three days during the week in Cambridge.

They will also be joined by Irish poet Micheal O’Siadhail, whose has recently been commissioned by the Duke-Cambridge Consultation Group to write poetry based on the Servant Songs of Isaiah. The poems will receive their premier during the Rumours of Passion event at Clare Chapel on Wednesday 4 April.