via crucis pulpito

Monday, 27th March

h.20.45 Church of San Fedele


Il Canto di Orfeo
dir. Gianluca Capuano
Francesco Zago, electric guitar

Adele Pellegatta, narrator

music: J.S. Bach and Franz Liszt

In collaboration with Fondazione Carlo Maria Martini
and support from Fondazione Cariplo


A meditative proposal, through music, of the Passion of Christ, with the texts of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini written in 2010 to be specially destined for musical representations of the Via Crucis. In this new dramatization, after the first which was presented in 2011, the sound material comes from the most emblematic compositions which have dealt with the painful mysteries of Jesus: some arias taken from the Passions of J.S. Bach and a reworking of Franz Liszt’s Via Crucis. On the one hand, an early music ensemble with basso continuo and vocal quartet to sing chorals and arias by the master from Leipzig, on the other, the sound of Francesco Zago’s electric guitar accompanied by a series of instruments for effects, to recolor the timbres of Liszt’s work in a new expressive guise, initially envisaged for organ or piano, without renouncing the original devotional motivation of the Hungarian composer.

The Via Crucis is a seminal work from Liszt’s last production. The sobriety and lean character of this work is surprising, reduced to the essentials of a melodic line, sometimes punctuated by a few simple chords. In the long preface to the score, the author writes among other things: “I was able to experience the most solemn celebration of this devotion, participating on a Good Friday at the Colosseum, this place whose soil is soaked in the blood of so many martyrs.” The texts of the sung parts (originally in French, in the definitive version in Latin and German) had been chosen by Liszt and Sayn Wittgenstein and include passages from the New Testament, Gregorian hymns and Lutheran chorales (with some themes from the St. Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach) elements that attest to an ecumenical musical direction. Completed in 1879, the Via Crucis was only created after Liszt’s death in 1929. The work consists of a hymn and 14 stations, dominated by a profound austerity and interiority. The songs are both a cappella and accompanied with simplicity on the organ.