The Miracle - The Passion of Saint Margareth
concert work, contest piece
This work was inspired by the legend (The Passion) of St. Margaret of Antioch from the 3rd-4th century.
Margaret was very religious and lived in the countryside as a shepherdess. When the city prefect Olybrius made her a marriage proposal, on condition that she renounced her faith, she refused. Because of this, she was imprisoned and tortured. In prison she was visited by Satan who appeared to her in various forms. She resisted the devil and all the tortures that were done to her in a miraculous way. Eventually she was put to death.
The figure of Margaretha reminded me very much of my own mother who died last year. She, too, was unyielding and continued to fight for her death in which she believed. An unshakable faith, struggle and the confrontation with suffering and death are the central themes of this work.
In order to evoke the archaic early medieval atmosphere, I used 2 Gregorian kyries: the first serves as a symbol for Margaret's strong faith. The second kyrie (de angeli) resounds with her Ascension at the end of the work. In addition, there are influences from old music (old modes, fifth parallels) and from the work of Carl Orff.
In Part 1 (The Virgin), various elements are used: Margaret's religious convictions (kyrie), her life at the countryside (medieval dance) and the confrontation with the Roman prefect (fifth sounds). Despite all the difficulties, this part ends with a joyous chorale: her deep faith overcomes everything
Part 2 (The Devil) opens with a rousing third-motif that symbolizes the devil. Diabolical melodies, clusters, upbeat rhythms, meter changes and dissonances create an atmosphere of tension and struggle. In between elements from the Gregorian kyrie return: Margaret's faith remains unshakeable. The fight is getting fiercer until everything is discharging and the peace returns: the devil is expelled.
In part 3 (Death) a soprano solo speaks to God and asks to bring her to the heavenly light. The text is based upon a poem by John Donne (1572-1631) combined with a few sentences from the Bible (revelation 21: 4). It is a kind of universal urge of man to find comfort and deliverance that is expressed here.
From afar, trumpet choirs sound (Part 4: Ascension). The music gradually swells to finally burst into a grand ending: Magdalena ascends into heaven.
Before the end of this work, 2 trumpet groups can play behind the orchestra on the left and right above the stage or standing behind the orchestra from two sides. The harp and piano part can be collected by a synthesizer, which then takes care of both parts.
This composition was commissioned by 'Stadtmusik Waldkirch', on the occasion of the 1100-year jubilee of the foundation 'Stift St.Margarethen' in Waldkirch.