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Nov. 21 2011

Jeanne d’arc au bucher

By Judith Krummeck | Posted in Host Blogs | No Comments

Marin Alsop is a fearless conductor. For her inaugural concert with the BSO she conducted Stravinsky’s unruly Rite of Spring, then came Bernstein’s Mass, which includes a full orchestra, three choirs, actors, a rock band and a marching band, and now comes Arthur Honegger’s oratorio, Jeanne d’arc au bûcher, Joan of Arc at the Stake. Keeping together all the disparate forces seems to hold no terror for the maestra. And the forces for Honegger’s oratorio are huge: full orchestra, including the electronic ondes Martenot; an enormous choir and a children’s choir; five singers; and two actors—Joan herself (in this instance the French-Canadian, Caroline Dhavernas) and Brother Dominic (the Belgian, Ronald Guttman). What an extraordinary opportunity to hear this work from the BSO. It was simply staged, but with very effective lighting and English supertitles (I had a French couple next to me, whom I assume didn’t need those!) I was so gratified to be commissioned by the BSO to write three Jeanne d’arc essays for their web site (http://www.bsomusic.org/main.taf?p=0,1,38) but, even having become so intimately acquainted with the work as I was writing the pieces, I wasn’t prepared for how powerful, moving and beautiful the work would be. Hats off to the BSO for their bold and creative programming!

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Judith Krummeck

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Judith is WBJC's afternoon host. Her full bio can be read here.

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