The Dutch composer Patrick van Deurzen (1964) has already written many vocal works performed by renowned ensembles such as the Flemish Radio Choir, the Latvian Radio Choir, Wishful Singing, The Gents and the National Youth Choir. His last composition, the Sura Cantate (2019), is a six-part composition about Sura van Dordrecht who appears in court after her death to ask forgiveness for her murderers…
The music and text develops from darkness to light. In the first movements are about the preparations for the hanging of the murderers, with an important role for the people (choir) who call for revenge. At the end of the third movement Sura’s spirit (soprano) appears and asks the people to be gentle. In the following parts, thanks to Sura’s plea, the people change their minds, forgive the murderers and finally sing the unconditional love to Sura.
The writer Jules Terlingen has added the son of one of the murderers (boy soprano) to the original story, which gives an extra dimension to the perspective of guilt, penance and forgiveness. The music is direct and goes from dark, ominous sounds that support the revenge of the people, through lyrical melodies of Sura, to ecstatic love music.
The commission for the work, supported by the Performing Arts Fund, comes from the Merwe’s Oratorium Association (MOV) in honour of their 100th anniversary. Conducted by Patrick van der Linden, the choir, together with the Ars Musica Orkest and Heleen Koele (soprano), will premiere the Cantata on 13 March 2020 in the Antonius Church in Dordrecht. The composition has been made financially possible by a subsidy from the Fonds Podiumkunsten.
Patrick van Deurzen – Sura Cantate (text Jules Terlingen) can be performed in two versions: choir, soloists, organ and percussion; and choir, soloists, orchestra and percussion.
(*) article from Zing Magazine (2020)