Cathedral's Stations of the Cross to be Illuminated in Light and Sound

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The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra teams up with the St. Peter in Chains Cathedral Choir for the North American premiere of Via Crucis by Paweł Łukeszewski. The frescos adorning the walls of the Cathedral will be individually illuminated as the performance processes the Via Dolorosa.

Station 14 — Jesus dies — Stations of the Cross in St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, Cincinnati, OH Jim Fausz, photo

Jennifer Higdon describes the cathedral as a space for spiritual contemplation, growth and expression — “a symbolic doorway into and out of this world.”

The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra’s 2018-19 Passport to musical adventure takes audiences across the globe. On November 17th, the KSO teams up with the St. Peter in Chains Cathedral Choir for the North American premiere of Paweł Łukeszewski’s Via Crucis.

“Bringing new, serious and expressive music to the U.S. and Tristate, and performing such works in an appropriate venue with first-rate performers became the catalyst for this program. Having worked with the St. Peter in Chains Cathedral Choir and director Anthony DiCello in 2016 on the premiere of Kim Arnesen’s Magnificat, everyone who performed and attended the program found the performance to be both moving and memorable. We hope to generate a similar musical/spiritual aura with this Fall’s collaboration, even though the text, music and style of Lukeszewski’s work are completely different,” commented KSO music director James Cassidy.

The program opens with Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award-winning composer Jennifer Higdon’s “Blue Cathedral.” Commenting on the 12-minute orchestral work from 2000, Higdon describes the cathedral as a space for spiritual contemplation, growth and expression — “a symbolic doorway into and out of this world.” The orchestral work requires musicians to play crystal glasses, tuned by the amount of water in each, and Chinese reflex bells creating ethereal sounds of time and distance.

Paweł Łukesewski is Poland’s most prolific and well-known living composer, specializing in anti-modern choral and instrumental writing. His 50-minute Via Crucis (2000) is written for 8-part chorus, orchestra, counter tenor (Evangelist), tenor (Pilate, Simon), baritone (Jesus), narrator and organ. The work, sung in Latin, is a powerful, yet hauntingly beautiful musical depiction of the 14 Stations of the Cross. (Łukeszewski includes the Resurrection as a 15th Station.) Jarring, heavy hammer-like blows (1-14) announce the arrival at each Station. (The opening is somewhat reminiscent of the opening of Orff’s Carmina Burana). The visceral scene gives way each time to a serene, uplifting calm of a 5-part women’s choir singing “Adoramus Te, Sanctissme Domine Jesu Christe.” As the procession to each station continues along the “Way of Sorrows,“ the frescos of the Stations adorning the walls of the Nave of the Cathedral will be illuminated, and also be viewed on monitors in the front of the church so the audience can virtually walk the Stations as the work proceeds.

Join the The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra and the St. Peter in Chains Cathedral Choir for a sonic and spiritual procession of the Via Dolorosa at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, November 17, at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, Cincinnati, OH. Reserved seating tickets are $19, $27, $35 (children ages 6-18 are 50% off) and are available online at kyso.org, by phone—(859) 431-6216, or at the door.

About the KSO:
For 26 years the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra has taken the “phony” out of symphony by eliminating traditional barriers and presenting engaging, live, thematic concerts that enrich, educate and entertain the residents of Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. The KSO performs three series of concerts annually throughout Northern Kentucky.

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James Cassidy
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