To mark Oslo International Church Music Festival’s anniversary in 2020, a new St Matthew Passion was commissioned from Bent Sørensen, one of northern Europe’s most performed and admired composers and winner of the Grawemeyer Award for Music in 2018. The première was postponed owing to the pandemic and had to wait the following year for a streamed world première that reached a large number of listeners and viewers throughout Europe.
The libretto [in English] was curated by Jakob Holtze and is made of fragments of the Gospels of Matthew and John, traditional mass texts, as well as poetry by six authors, three of them women. In his work, Sørensen says, ‘lies a love passion. Not only Christ’s love declaration to all humankind, through crucifixion and resurrection, but also a simple and beautiful love. The passion for the people we love.’
Sørensen’s St Matthew Passion is performed by the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir and Ensemble Allegria under the direction of Grete Pedersen, a musical partnership that has resulted in several award-winning recordings for BIS over the years.