A Performer’s Perspective of Two Works by Ēriks Ešenvalds: Passion and Resurrection and Songs of David
Nataliya V. Bolgar, DMA
The purpose of this document is to serve as a resource for singers and teachers of singing in selecting repertoire for the soprano voice and to provide a performer’s perspective of two compositions by Ēriks Ešenvalds: the oratorio Passion and Resurrection and the song cycle Songs of David. Both works represent modern-day sacred music that demonstrates the connection between Renaissance music and twenty-first-century compositional techniques.
The first chapter of Part I of the document outlines the composer’s biographical sketch. Chapter Two discusses the history of the oratorio’s journey from conception to performance. Chapter Three includes a brief overview of the biblical perspective in the oratorio on the suffering and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Chapter Four contains information on the motet Parce mihi Domine by Cristóbal de Morales, which serves as a unifying component within the four sections of the oratorio. Chapter Five summarizes some of the basic principles of compositional technique present in the oratorio. Also included in this chapter is a synopsis of how the composer utilizes Morales’ motet and Mary Magdalene’s thematic material in this composition.
Chapter One of Part II presents a brief history on the writing of Songs of David. A summary of the book of Psalms set by Ešenvalds appears in Chapter Two. Chapter Three investigates the interrelatedness between Psalms 23, 24, and 13 as depicted by the composer. Chapters Four through Seven discuss the musical and textual language of these three psalms.
Finally, a score of Morales’ motet and the composer’s adaptation of it are included in appendix A and appendix B. Appendix C contains a translation of an interview with the composer on the Songs of David.