19 September 2018

19 Sep 2008

Ten years ago today, Our Man in Montréal wrote (of the Henning Op.92):

What I crave most about you Passion, Karl, its its closeness with Johns’ unique writing style.  He, alone among the Evangelists, wrote in a repetitive-accretive idiom. And that's where that Firste Parte really hits it: the increasingly hypnotic manner in which John brings us into the Passion narrative.  And then that break of emotional/writing style for a more emotional, broken, “quavering” response to the Crucifixion and Entombment.  And how the initial “archaic” musical style comes back in places in that last third of the work.  Mixing the old with the new is particularly relevant here.

I’ve always preferred Bach’s St-John Passion to his St-Matthew one – even though the latter has a more ‘spiritual’ bent.  No wonder he was called St-John The Divine.  Karl has grasped this essential – unique – character about John’s writing.  I’m not comparing Henning to Bach, but the artist’s response to his subject.  And it’s fully worthy of It.

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