a new choral work for A Capella Choir

"Move Him Into the Sun" premiered by Marion Wood:

Clear anti-war message

The First World War was the most brutal the European continent had experienced up to that time. Millions of people died, most of them gruesomely termed "cannon fodder," and of course innumerable artists. Much talent was lost in the trenches - including that of the English poet Wilfred Owen, who died on November 4, 1918. Three of his poems provide the nucleus for the six-part choral cycle "Move Him Into the Sun" written by Marion Wood, which was first performed on on Sunday to a capacity audience in the Überwasserkirche.

From Christoph Schulte-im-Walde
Monday, 05.11.2018, 17:14

Wood is an extremely versatile musician, who in recent years in Münster has already brought attention to herself and her musical colleagues with remarkable activities. And here, again. With a clear anti-war message with universal resonance, Wood sets the English Owen poems side by side with the verses of German poets August Stramm, Walter Flex and Goldfeld, (of whom one knows neither first name nor any life details). In terms of sound, the composer moves in a considerably extended major-minor scheme, motivated by a high degree of expressivity in relation to the set word. In "Anthem for Doomed Youth" the passing-bells ring, later a swarm of gray wild geese screams, symbolizing the equally gray army "in the name of Kaiser".

Harsh friction alternates with relaxed, calm sequences filled with quiet hope - no insurmountable difficulties for Wood's vocal ensemble "Tonfarben". The Choir turned out to be vocally well-conditioned, balanced and sensitive in dealing with the texts, which could be read in the program, but in addition also recited, unfortunately without the help of a microphone.

Much more disturbing was the unnecessary applause of the audience for each of the poem settings - which broke the concentrated atmosphere of the music again and again. However, violist Iberê Carvalho and the string orchestra for Herbert Howell's "Elegy" at the very beginning of the program deserved a lot of applause - a thoroughly moving piece.