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The Crossing at 15 on WRTI 90.1: Seven Responses Revisited

Join us on Sunday, October 13th from 4 to 6 pm to hear The Crossing, Philadelphia’s professional, Grammy-winning choir dedicated to new music, performing works recorded live in 2016 at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral.

“To launch our 15th season, and our broadcast partnership with WRTI,” says Donald Nally, conductor of The Crossing, “we thought we'd take a look at some seminal moments in the evolution of The Crossing."

"The massive project Seven Responses – in which seven contemporary composers respond to Buxtehude's Membra Jesu nostri, as well as the works of David Lang and John Luther Adams, have all played foundational roles in how we've come to think of the music of our time."

The Crossing performs A Native Hill in Chestnut Hill on Sunday, October 13th at 5 PM

I. Ad pedes (to the feet)
Response - David T. Little: dress in magic amulets, dark, from my feet

II. Ad genua (to the knees)
Response - Anna Thorvaldsdottir: Ad Genua/To the knees

III. Ad manus (to the hands)
Response - Caroline Shaw: To the Hands

IV. Ad latus (to the sides)
Response - Hans Thomalla: I come near you

V. Ad pectus (to the breast)
Response, Lewis Spratlan: Common Ground

VI. Ad cor (to the heart)
Response, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: Ad cor

VII. Ad faciem (to the face)
Response, Santa Ratniece: My soul will sink in to you

Seven of the world’s foremost choral composers have composed 15-minute musical responses to Dietrich Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri, a monumental sacred work of the German Baroque consisting of seven cantatas. The Crossing performs the new works alongside Buxtehude’s 1680 composition, with two leading ensembles in their respective fields of performance: Quicksilver Baroque and ICE, the International Contemporary Ensemble.

Seven Responses challenges artists and audiences alike to explore our relative distance from, or closeness to, music across centuries, cultures, and continents.

Each composer was invited to collaborate with an author of their choice, or to create their own libretto — those will include the words of Icelandic poet Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir, American poet Paul Kane, the words of St. Clare of Assisi, and Danish poet Ursula Andkjær Olsen.

The Crossing’s commissions have increasingly addressed issues related to the environment, to equality, and to the individual’s place in the community. Human suffering is often a theme in contemporary secular works, similar in character to sacred works of the past. Membra Jesu Nostri addresses the suffering of Christ; this will serve as a starting point for the secular cantata each composer of Seven Responses has written.

Donald Nally, conductor of The Crossing, chose the composers for their diverse styles and common interest in works with political or social themes. They come from Denmark, Latvia, Germany, Iceland, and the U.S., and include two Pulitzer Prize winners.