Long before the word "passion" became associated with love — and romance novels — it took on the darker meaning of suffering, particularly that of Jesus and his brutal death on the cross. But these final moments are only part of the story.
The passion begins with Jesus' joyous arrival in Jerusalem, his betrayal, arrest, conviction and finally his crucifixion. The characters grappling with their myriad — and often contradictory — emotions feel relevant to us today, as composer Rene Clausen points out, because these feelings and subsequent actions comprise the emotional and moral ambiguities of the human condition, particularly the power of crowd mentality vs. the individuals who grapple with their complicity.
Clausen was commissioned to write his Passion to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Concordia College in Moorhead, as well as to acknowledge the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The words are a weaving together of hymns and scripture by Concordia religion professor Roy Hammerling and are presented by a huge ensemble of more than 400 musicians: Concordia's voice faculty, the Concordia Orchestra and Concordia's four choirs — the Concordia Choir, Concordia Chapel Choir, Cantabile and Kantorei.
Clausen conducted the world premiere last April at Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis, and I am thrilled to present this stunning new work on this Maundy Thursday via Classical MPR.
To follow along with the program, click here.
Supported by Trinity Lutheran Church of Moorhead, welcoming the community to worship this Holy Week and Easter.