(2012) – Solo Counter tenor, baroque Oboe, Vln, Vla, Vc, Harpsichord
Commissioned by the London Bach Society, this music is a response to one of the most famous parts of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, the violent chorus of ‘Laß ihn kreuzigen!’ (Let him be crucified!), followed by the chorale ‘Wie wunderbarlich ist doch diese Strafe!’ (How wondrous is this punishment!). The piece takes Bach’s material and creates an expanded reaction to the original. The initial instrumental introduction pushes Bach’s material to further extremes (to an almost unrecognisable point) whilst weaving the chorale melody through from the start.
After a violent climax the chorale emerges with the addition of the countertenor. The two parts are gradually combined harmonically, superimposing expressive, dissonant lines in the oboe and countertenor over the chorale harmonies, before a reflective and fatigued conclusion.
‘…Wie Wunderbarlich…’ was first performed by countertenor Meili Li with students from The Royal Academy of Music at The Foundling Museum, London, in November 2013.