...The “Petite messe solennelle” constituted a belated and “earnest” footnote to the life's work of the self-indulgent Italian Rossini (1792–1868) – thirty-four years after turning away from opera composition and turning instead to exquisite dishes. Limited to two pianos (SooJin Anjou and David Zobel) and a harmonium (Jan Gerdes) as well as a twelve-strong choir (including the four excellent soloists Laura Mitchell, Ulrike Mayer, Milos Bulajic and Nikolay Borchev), the meagre musical components in Erfurt came fairly close to what they would have been originally. Nicholas Jenkins conducted while remaining in the thick of events. The four dancer-performers of Hümpel's troupe (Peter Fasching, Adrian Gillott, Patric Schott and Yui Kawaguchi) bring narrative crash barriers to bear against the musically associative game-play.
Just like the protagonists, the pianos, too, move around a kind of reception desk. Its elements can be used to form a staircase for a group picture for the “Amen” or utilised individually as seesaws, providing an additional “argument” to a discussion, all in keeping with the ironic and dynamic images in this collage. A quiet, yet sometimes shrill scepticism surrounding the truth of today's rituals of faith hovers over the stage... At the piece's end, whether God is to be found there remains as inconclusive as the question of his presence on earth. The music provides a most suitable vehicle for the journey.
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