Kreuzwegstationen II (The Stations of the Cross II)
Contemporary Music for the Passion
written for Large Ensemble and Mixed Choir
Music: Hannes Beckmann
Texts: Susanne Breiter-Kessler
Paintings: Cesar Radetzky
Philharmonic-Jazz-Chamber Orchestra (conducted by Hannes Beckmann)
Don Camillo Choir
After a process of creative development spanning many years, the composer and violinist Hannes Beckmannn has produced his Kreuzwegstationen – The Stations of the Cross, inspired by the paintings of Cäsar W. Radetsky. With this work, we are witnessing the emergence of a new form of “Musica Sacra”, in which music styles from both West- and East-European traditions are combined with Oriental elements in a setting of meditative calm. The result is one that takes us beyond the traditional church liturgy, from the historical Stations of the Cross, in an arc leading right up to today’s political events.
This internalized music, together with religious-biblical reflexions, finds it’s way into the heart and soul. Hope, courage, and the release from suffering are expressed in lively rhythms and stirring melodies. Over the years, the composer has constantly expanded his work, resulting in ever more new compositions and arrangements. For Beckmann’s music, Regional bishop Susanne Breit-Kessler contributed lyrics, which can be heard and followed on the CD and accompanying booklet, along with reproductions of of Radetsky’s artwork.
Hannes Beckmann writes:
“In 1998 I was commissioned by artist – chaplain Monsignor Ott, in collaboration with the painter Caeser Radetzky to write the music for the Kreuzwegstationen – Stations of the Cross. The deep impressions which Caesar Radetzky images left upon me, combined with my own ideas inspired from the very place these events occured, drove me as a jazz musician and composer to break new ground. What I saw moved me to work expressionistically. This should be less exclusively contemplative, informal and free, but rather an active, tightly-woven, and expressionist form of music.
During an appearance at a jazz festival in Israel in 1999, I visited Jerusalem and walked through the Via Dolorosa, the historic road trodden by Jesus to his crucifixion, which is a very narrow and crowded lane. Locals and tourists throng in masses between the dark walls; there are no moments of meditation or contemplation, but rather raucous life and commerce. My Jewish friend told me: ‘Believe me; the situation 2000 years ago was no different!’
I suddenly envisioned a man being mocked, tortured, and driven by the crowds; someone who embodies a political problem. As a person he is lonely, he endures pain, exhaustion and humiliation, all brutally symbolized by the crown of thorns. As the Son of God however, he is the one who rises above all sorrow, offering solace even in this situation; the one whose aura radiates, even under the horrifying circumstances of the cross. Other than it outwardly appears, it is he who triumphs, as his ideas survive and flourish. Back in Munich, I set almost all previous compositions aside and wrote music that allows for urban ‘ Groove ‘, Drive’ and ‘Swing’.
The Stations of the Cross have undergone many changes in the years since the first recording. Not only were brass arrangements added to each section; Totally new compositions were also written. After a lung surgery, “Breath” appeared, and “Cantus Mollis” emerged, first as a a string section, followed by a choral setting. The overall result of these changes is a more powerful orchestral soundscape, to which the new soloists voices lend further tonal and emotional aspects. The texts by Susanne Breit-Kessler open new meditative spaces.”