Karol Wojtyla, trans Jerzy Peterkiewicz (E)
At the heart of the philosophy and poetry of Karol Wojtyla was the question posed in the famous text in Luke 10:29, ‘who is my neighbour?’ He answers it by saying that the ‘neighbour’ reveals how I am a person, for he or she is another I. This is apparent in the text of ‘Invocation to Man who became the body of history’.
In my musical setting of this poem I have tried to capture the mystery and simplicity of the words. It opens with floating chords, hummed by the choir, which bleed into each other. Much of the text is delivered in an uncomplicated folk-like or popular style, accompanied by closed-mouth harmonies and melodic commentaries.
2006, James MacMillan
This programme note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programmes with a credit to the composer
Choral level of difficulty: Level 3 (5 greatest)
This is beautifully written for absolute clarity of words and a reflection of their obvious power for the composer. It is richly scored for double SATB and begins recitative-like, hesitantly, with hummed ‘accompaniment’ to the words when altos introduce them. The double choir resource is used both for antiphonal drama and for its sonorous possibilities. This is a short, passionate work and MacMillan takes us on a far greater journey than its mere six minute duration would imply.
Repertoire note by Paul Spicer