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From the beginning, an engagement with tradition has been part of Ensemble Horizonte’s profile. This is also a special interest of the ensemble’s artistic director, Jörg-Peter Mittmann: “An involvement with religious and metaphysical subjects and the tradition of their musical treatment” is for the ensemble “a question of identity.” This does not mean, however, that the ensemble has restricted itself to these themes in its choice of programs, but rather that the group views all musical activity in the context of the broader history of music and philosophy. This is also characteristic of Jörg-Peter Mittmann’s composing.

“... mit Bach” [… with Bach] uses one of the most famous compositions Bach wrote during his time as cantor of the St. Thomas church in Leipzig: the chorale movement “Jesus bleibet meine Freude” [Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring] from Cantata 147, “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben” [Heart and Mouth and Deed and Life]. The piece is here broken up into the smallest motivic elements and reassembled anew.

In “Dona nobis pacem” the “bizarre jagged sounds of the ensemble” are based – according to the composer – “on distorted quotations from Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ symphony and choruses in the Bach Passions”.

“Lamento” refers to “songs of lamentation throughout the Western tradition”. Mittmann mentions the “Lamento della Ninfa” from Claudio Monteverdi’s eighth book of madrigals as an inspiration, and also the “chromatically descending lamento bass line” from works such as the “Crucifixus” from Bach’s B minor Mass and the “Qui tollis” from Mozart’s Mass in C minor.

“Kreuzgesang” “grew out of my involvement with the theme of the Crucifixion and its power as a Christian symbol” (Mittmann). Texts by Thomas Aquinas and Friedrich Nietzsche among others, cut into brief fragments, are assembled into a self-contradictory continuous text given to a solo part.

In the “Passacaglia” the basic form of Western music-making is re-interpreted with contemporary means. The theme from Bach’s famous organ Passacaglia in C minor appears in fragments throughout the entire spectrum of the instrumental ensemble, though always in such a way that its contour is still recognizable – the effect is similar to that of an unfocussed photograph.

“Dem Unendlichen” [To the Infinite One], based on the ode of the same name by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock, evokes the issue of theodicy: the irresolvable contradiction between the conception of an “omnipotent”, “benevolent” God and the presence of suffering in the world. At the same time that the music intones a song of praise to the Infinite One, with the sounds of gongs and bells, “shivering” tremolos, and noble fanfares, it also evokes Gustav Mahler’s “Kindertotenlieder” [Songs on the Death of Children].

co-production: Deutschlandradio


… mit Bach Annäherung an das Choralvorspiel „Jesus bleibet meine Freude“ für Ensemble (2002)
Dona nobis pacem Konzertszene für Violine und Ensemble (1998)
Lamento Musik mit Monteverdi für sieben Spieler (2008)
Kreuzgesang für Frauenstimme und neun Instrumente auf Texte von Friedrich Nietzsche, Thomas von Aquin u.a. (1997)
Passacaglia für zehn Instrumente (2006)
Dem Unendlichen
Musik auf Worte von Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock für Sopran und sechs Instrumente (2009)


Ensemble Horizonte / Katrin Bähre: soprano / Nicole Pieper: alto / Mareike Neumann: violin / Jörg-Peter Mittmann: conductor

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68 ′18 ′′

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WER 67982
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