Marc Kissoczy | Orchestre de chambre de Lausanne | World premiere

Levinas : La Passion selon Marc. Une Passion après Auschwitz.

« The music in this Passion is a reflection on what connects these two religious traditions [judaism and protestantism], but also on this irretrievable loss, the 6 million people who died during the Holocaust, the silence of men, the silence of God. This is a Passion without redemption. What remains is the matter of survival.»
Michaël Levinas

La Passion selon Marc. Une Passion après Auschwitz (The Passion According to Mark. A Passion after Auschwitz), premiered in April 2017. The project was commissioned to French composer Michaël Levinas by the Swiss association «Musique pour un temps présent», as part of the events commemorating the 500th anniversary of Luther’s reform. This original oratorio is not only a reinterpretation or a mere revisitation of the Passion – what the many references to Bach’s Passions could lead to believe, it painfully faces, indeed, the irreconciliable nature of the Passion and the Holocaust.

What is the object of this Passion after Auschwitz, which revolves around what can link two musical traditions, two religions that have been separated by barbarism. Which music, which tradition, which language can the composer use in order to express this double silence, both historical and theological, both human and divine ? It is no coincidence that Levinas chose to start his score with a quote by his father, philosopher Emmanuel Levinas, from his book Otherwise than being and beyond essence : so he could pay tribute to the «six million people who were murdered by the Nazis», but also to the «millions of human beings all over the world, regardless of their origin or religion, who suffer from the same hatred of the other, of the same antisemitism.»

«After the Holocaust, is it possible to compose without crying and trembling ?», Michaël Levinas asks. It is not about anger or compassion. Because of the subtle polyphonies written for the chorus, the voices and the orchestra, and also because of the way the different languages (Old French, Yiddish, Aramaic, German) create meaning out of one another, both the structure and the musical language of this Passion are incredibly intricate. But they are so for a reason : by putting side by side western musical traditions and the tragic component of modern history, Levinas manages to «shake», during the artistic process, the future of the Holy Language and of the Gospel after Auschwitz. What separates therefore the Gospel of Mark from the Jewish prayer for the dead (Kaddish) or from the El male Rahamim, or from the two poems by Paul Celan ending the work, is not so much a question of representation, but more accurately it is a way to make the tragedy resound, without any artifice and without any safety net.

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Levinas : La Passion selon Marc [DVD & Blu-ray]

Music and libretto : Michaël Levinas (*1949)

Texts : Gospel of Mark after the French Bible from the 13th century, transcribed by Michel Zink
Excerpts from the Mystère de la Passion by Arnoul Gréban (1452)
Jewish prayers (‘Hatzi Kaddish & El maleh Rahamim)
Paul Celan’s poems (Die Schleuse & Espenbaum)

With: Magali Léger (soprano)
Marion Grange (soprano)
Guilhem Terrail (counter-tenor)
Mathieu Dubroca (baritone)
Marie Hamard (mezzo-soprano)
Tristan Blanchet (tenor)
Simon Savoy (counter-tenor)

Organ : Benjamin Righetti

Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne
Concertmaster : Gyula Stuller

Ensemble vocal de Lausanne

Conducted by Marc Kissoczy

Sound engineers : Alessandro Ratoci & Carlos de Castellarnau Artero

Technical informations

HD recording : Eglise Saint-François de Lausanne | 04/2017
TV direction : Jean-Marc Chevillard
Release date : 17 April 2019
Distribution : Naxos Distribution

: BAC152
Barcode : 3760115301528
Running time : 87 minutes
Booklet : ENG / FR / GER
Original language : Old French, Yiddish, Aramaic, German
Subtitles : ENG / GER / FR
Video : Color, 16/9, NTSC
Audio : PCM 2.0
Region code : 0

Reference : BAC552
Barcode : 3760115305526
Running time : 87 minutes
Booklet : ENG / FR / GER
Original language : Old French, Yiddish, Aramaic, German
Subtitles : ENG / GER / FR
Video : Color, 16/9, Full HD
Audio : PCM 2.0
Region code : A, B, C