Luciana Souza, Golijov: La Pasion Segun San Marcos

Brian Wise

By Brian Wise

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
An Afro-Cuban, bossa nova, tango and flamenco flavored version of St. Mark’s Gospel.

In commemoration of the 250th anniversary of Bach's death in 2000, the International Bachakademie Stuttgart commissioned four composers from different cultures to write tribute pieces. Osvaldo Golijov, an Argentinean-Jewish composer living in Boston, delivered the most exuberantly theatrical of the bunch, his 90-minute “La Pasion Segun San Marcos.” Imagined as a street festival the piece is based on St. Mark's Gospel and infused with the multilayered sounds of Afro-Cuban music, bossa nova, tango and flamenco song. It ends with a Jewish prayer for the dead. Lending a particularly authentic touch is the Schola Cantorum of Caracas, a chorus that delivers everything from chanting to antiphonal call and response phrases. This recording was nominated for a Grammy and Latin Grammy award and helped place Golijov among the front ranks of contemporary composers.