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Distler Choral Passion
Distler Choral Passion

Sun, 07 Apr


Christ Church with St Ewen, Bristol

Distler Choral Passion

First performance of a new version in English

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Time & Location

07 Apr 2019, 15:00

Christ Church with St Ewen, Bristol, 63 Broad St, Bristol BS1 2EJ, UK

About the event

Seven years ago, Bristol Chamber Choir gave the first performance in the city of the astonishing ‘Choral Passion’ by the 20th-century German composer, Hugo Distler. It was a memorable and moving occasion. Now, at 3 pm on Sunday 7 April at Christ Church in Broad Street, Bristol Chamber Choir will give another ‘first’ performance of this work – an English version specially created by Gordon Pullin.

Born in 1908, Distler was a talented composer, organist and teacher.  His musical style was profoundly influenced by Heinrich Schütz, and you will hear evidence of that influence, as two motets by Heinrich Schütz will accompany the Passion. A very religious man, Distler was deeply affected by Hitler’s persecution of Protestants; so much so that, when he received his call-up papers in 1942, he killed himself rather than take up arms. He was just 34.

The Choral Passion was composed only nine years before, using texts drawn from the four Gospels in Luther's translation. Two soloists, one taking the role of Jesus and the other the Evangelist, sing unaccompanied recitative to tell the familiar story. The choir provides commentary or underlines the most emotional moments in a series of chorales, while also taking on the traditional dramatic role of the crowd. This polyphonic work is absorbing and at times hypnotic, creating an unmissable musical experience. 

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