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Osvaldo Golijov's Musical "Passion"

Composer Osvaldo Golijov. (AP)

When Osvaldo Golijov’s “Passion According to St. Mark” debuted in Stuttgart ten years ago this year, the response was one for the history books.

Ecstatic, rapturous, thunderous applause for twenty minutes. 

Critics were raving about the birth of a new age in Golijov’s Afro-Latin infused musical rendering of the story of the last days of Jesus. And in its US debut, rapture all over again. 

A decade on, on this Good Friday, we’re looking back over a decade now of performances of a mold-breaking, breath-taking work of sacred music. 

This Hour, On Point: Oswaldo Golijov’s Passion.

Guests:

Osvaldo Golijov, Grammy award-winning classical music composer. His landmark work “Passion According to St. Mark” debuted ten years ago. You can listen back to NPR’s early review of the work.

Stephen Crist, professor of music history at Emory University, and a scholar of Bach and early music.

John Sparrow, general manager and vice president of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

More links:

On Point has delved into the classical music world many times in years past. In 2004, we caught up with mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. Peter Gelb, general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, joined us in 2008 to discuss how his company is rocking the opera world.  Chinese pianist Lang Lang has been playing since he was 3 years old, and, still under 30 years old, is considered one of the top classical pianists in the world.  Opera singer Anna Netrebko, described as “Audrey Hepburn with a voice,” joined the show in 2006, telling listeners how she worked her way from scrubbing the floors in a Russian opera house to singing center stage at the Met. Legendary composer Philip Glass and his cellist muse, Wendy Sutter, joined us in 2008 to talk about their new show-stopping collaborations.  Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker and author of the bestselling book “The Rest is Noise,” explained the history and cultural significance of music to us in 2007.

And here’s Osvaldo with Tom today in the studio:

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  • Paul

    I think we saw the final performance of the Boston premiere – if we had been fortunate to see the first we would have been there for all of them! It was a truly unique musical experience and will forever be my reference for creativity and innovation in music.

  • Esther

    I remember myself buying an unwanted ticket on the stairs of the Symphony Hall as the show was completely sold out. I got an excellent seat in the very front. I got so lucky. I’ll never forget the performance. It was so moving and powerful (I am jewish, it did not matter). I remember myself thinking: classical music is born again!

  • Paul Johnson

    I am a Catholic who is quite sensitive to the ant-Judaism aspects of the Passion stories. How did you handle the anti-Judaism in your treatment of Mark’s gospel?

  • robert morris

    congrats on this show. i saw the US debut?? at Symphony Hall , I was shouting in aisle for the audience to explode at the beauty. Christopher Lydon said on WBUR the work represents the new standard for this century

    I just told my daughter in China to stream the broadcast!! we are both Holy Cross graduates. thanks so much

    dr robert

  • Susan K. Gaffney

    On Osvaldo Golijov: We were staying in NYC a few years ago, and our son gave us tickets to Ainadamar at Lincoln Center. It was so moving to us, that we bought tickets to St. Mark Passion, later that season. I cried at each performance. Such a fine composer, and such fine musicians and singers working with him.

    Susan Gaffney
    Keene Valley, NY

    (NCPR and VPR)

  • Charlie Mc

    The earliest written of the four Gospels is that attributed to “Mark”. In that Gospel, the very first words placed on the lips of Jesus are:
    “The present moment is the right time,
    the Kingdom of God is within you,
    ‘METANOIESETE’ [i.e., “Change the way
    you think about reality); believe this
    good news.”
    Osvaldo is a work which helps us to undergo this
    ‘Metanoia’.

  • Rachel

    I’ve loved Golijov’s music since the Pasion came out, but I’ve never seen a live performance or video — thanks for posting the youtube link!

  • Z. Vayman

    Garrison Keillor asked Jews not to write songs for Christians.
    But Jews still do.
    What a range of the Jewish universe! From the Jesus’ passion to the Islamic faith (one of the distant relatives teaches at the American U in Cairo after conversion from the Californian Judaism to the Mislim faith.)

  • John Watson

    I only caught part of the NPR broadcast tonight. Excuse my ignorance but is this only a past event? I live in the Boston area and would travel to see a live production – where it seems the full value and richness is realized. Can anyone answer my question?

    johnwatson9@comcast.net

    Thanks!

  • Cathy Walsh

    I was driving on the interstate during your broadcast of this show and could not call in. I would have liked to ask Osvaldo, “How did the creation and re-creation of this wonderful music in turn shape you?”

    Second, throughout the broadcast it was interesting to note how Mr. Ashbrook, Osvaldo, and the other guests spoke of “transcendance,” “magic,” “performance event,” and so forth, but were so unwilling to broach the spiritual dimensions of the music. I thank God that the listeners who called in fully understood the spiritual impact of the music. In the brief excerpts featured on the program, I also experienced the awe, reverence, goosebumps, hair-raising feelings that come from being in the presence of God.

  • http://WWW.magdawatts.com magda watts

    Garrison Keillor, should read a little, then he will know, that Jesus was born as a Jew, and died as a Jew , so why a Jew can’t write christian songs? from where is the christineteat coming? not from Judaism?
    I am an Israeli Jew, and i loved Jesus from my childhood on, not as a mistyk person, but somebody who suffered i did the same in Aushwitz 7 months,So Dear Garrison go get a life,
    Magda watts Israel

  • Potter

    I hope we can have the podcast of this show. Thanks.

  • Bernardo Rincón

    Thanks you for this great interview. I hope they will come to Bogotá to feel those deep impressions your broadcast has left in my soul (not religious at all).

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