Lacuna Arts Chorale
The Story of Christmas: Distler’s Die Weihnachtsgeschichte
Sven Edward Olbash, Artistic Director
Hugo Distler Die Weihnachtsgeschichte
Arvo Pärt Which Was the Son of…
Following the model of the a cappella choral Passion settings of Baroque composer Heinrich Schütz, Hugo Distler (1908–1942) has set the familiar story of the Nativity of Jesus Christ for soloists and unaccompanied chorus in a highly idiosyncratic style that is truly modern while still firmly rooted in the Germanic compositional tradition. Woven into the story are seven chorale variations on the carol Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, which recall J. S. Bach’s chorale cantatas. In a sort of Biblical prequel to the Christmas story, Arvo Pärt’s Which was the son of… recounts the genealogy of Jesus through seventy generations back to Adam and Eve. Pärt uses his minimal, “tintinnabulous” style to evoke a meditative quality through the litanic text. The Lacuna Arts Chorale—now entering its second decade under the direction of conductor Sven Edward Olbash—are thrilled to be returning to Old First Concerts for their second innovative Christmas concert of rarely heard modern works after last year’s performance of Persichetti’s Mass, Poulenc’s Christmas motets, and minimalist compositions by Górecki and Pärt.