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Peeter Vähi. Maria Magdalena


Peeter Vähi koptikeelne oratoorium

Sevara Nazarkhan, sopraano
Juris Jēkabsons, tenor
Eduards Fiskovičs, bariton
Priit Volmer, bass
Uģis Meņģelis, bass
Peeter Volkonski, narraator
Riia toomkiriku poistekoor
Riiklik koor Latvija
Läti Riiklik Sümfooniaorkester
Risto Joost, dirigent

ERP 5412

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Detailne info


Oratorio by Peeter Vähi

Sevara Nazarkhan, Priit Volmer, Peeter Volkonski, State Choir Latvija, Riga Dom Cathedral Boys Choir, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra,
conductor Risto Joost

Oratorio for vocal soloists, basso, narrator, boys’ choir, mixed choir, nature sounds and symphony orchestra; original lyrics in Coptic language.
The Baltic Assambley Prize for the Arts 2013.

1 Movement I: Mary Magdalene Gospel 8:43
2 Movement II: Jesus’ aria All nature, all formations, all creatures… 9:16
3 Movement III: Mary Magdalene’s aria Do not weep and do not grieve… 13:33
4 Movement IV: I did not see you descending… 7:53
5 Movement V: He who has ears to hear… 7:30
6 Movement VI: Say what you wish to say… 6:12
7 Movement VII: Mary Magdalene Gospel 8:30

Movement I, fragm, 3 min 35 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps

Movement II, fragm, 4 min 21 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps

Movement VI, fragm, 4 min 57 sec, mp3, 320 Kbps


Performed by: Sevara Nazarkhan (soprano, Mary Magdalene), Juris Jēkabsons (tenor, Andreas), Eduards Fiskovičs (baritone, Levi), Priit Volmer (basso, Jesus), Uģis Meņģelis (basso, Peter), Peeter Volkonski (narrator), Riga Dom Cathedral Boys Choir, State Choir Latvija, Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, conductor Risto Joost

Recorded: Nov 29th − Dec 1st, 2011, Great Guild Hall, Riga
Engineered and mastered by Enno Mäemets / Editroom (Finland)
Artistic producer − Viive Mäemets / Editroom (Finland)

Nature sounds licensed from Ivar Vinkel
Advisor in Coptic pronunciation − Dr Jaan Lahe

Duration 61 min 42 sec

Booklet: liner notes in 3 languages (Estonian, English, German) + original Coptic text of the Mary Magdalene Gospel

In co-opreation with State Choir Latvija and Latvian National Symphony Orchestra
Manufactured by SONY DADC, Austria
Special thanks: Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Risto Joost, Māris Ošlejs, Ilze Paidere-Staķe, Tiina Jokinen

© 2012 ERP
ERP 5412

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Mary Magdalene Gospel

ImagetextMusic history knows many extensive vocal-symphonic works that are based on the gospels from the New Testament, probably the most famous of them being the Passions by Bach. Considerably less is known about the gnostic gospels that were excluded from the New Testament, of which the ones of Judas and Mary Magdalene are especially veiled by mystery. The latter is an apocryphal text, the manuscript of which was found in Egypt in 1896. The Coptic script on papyrus dates back to the 5th century, though one of the most respected authorities in the field Prof Karen L King presumes that the text was originally written in Greek already during the time of Jesus Christ. The oratorio is based without any exclusions on the original Coptic script that has been preserved till our times.
The oratorical works composed on gospel texts are mostly called Passions, however, in this case it would not be justified, since the text of the Gospel of Mary significantly differs from synoptic as well as John’s Gospels. The Gospel of Mary does not tell the story of Jesus’ Passion, instead it reveals philosophical reflections by Jesus as well as skeptic and, at times, jealous comments by the apostles. As an example, we can hereby read two fragments:
• The Savior said: “All nature, all formations, all creatures exist in and with one another, and they will be resolved again into their own roots. For the nature of matter is resolved into the roots of its own nature alone.”
• Andrew /…/ said to the brethren: “Say what you wish to say about what she has said. I at least do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas.” Peter /…/ questioned them about the Savior: “Did He really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He prefer her to us?” /…/ Levi /…/ said to Peter: “Peter you have always been hot tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries. But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well. That is why He loved her more than us…”
The Coptic language belongs − or rather, belonged to the Afro-Asian group of languages and was spoken in Egypt until the 16th century. The written language used Greek alphabet with the addition of 6 borrowed demotic letters from the hieroglyphic script. Coptic was subdivided into dialects among which the two most important ones were Bohairic and Sahidic. The first is until today used in the liturgy of the Coptic Church whereas the latter has become totally extinct. Unfortunately, the Gospel of Mary has been written down namely in Sahidic. As the language is no more spoken, it is extremely difficult to restore the correct pronunciation of the Gospel and thus, the latinization of the current oratorio possibly contains certain inaccuracy.
The composer said: “While composing this work I have not tried to make a stylization of Coptic Liturgy. Only some percussion instruments (sistrums and Egyptian drums) that are used in the Coptic Church have found their way into the score, even then bearing more of a symbolic meaning.
I owe my deepest gratitude to Dr Jaan Lahe for his patience in consulting me in the field of the Coptic language to composer Arvo Pärt who supplied me with numerous recordings of the Coptic Liturgies.”

Download: liner notes in Russian, Estonian or German (pdf)
Detailed info about the oratorio Mary Magdalene Gospel

Listen / watch Maria Magdalena on YouTube

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