Kay Johannsen: Veni

Kay Johannsen

Veni

2015

Description

"Veni" was composed by Kay Johannsen in November 2015. Similar to his 2010 work "Et vidimus gloriam eius" for four choral groups (SSA, TTB, SATB, SATB) and organ based on the beginning of St John’s Gospel, "Veni" requires a spatial separation of three four-part choirs. The starting point of the composition is the 12th century hymn "Veni redemptor gentium" by St Ambrose of Milan, which Martin Luther used as the basis of his 1524 hymn "Nun komm, der Heiland". The four sections of the cantus firmus are sung in turn by all the basses, altos, sopranos, and tenors, each part at a louder dynamic than the other parts. For the accompanying voices Johannsen uses different principles of canonic technique and motivic variation, with most of the material derived from the cantus firmus. The organ part of this 12-part "chorale arrangement" provides a harmonic orientation, but is completely independent and introduces both moments of rhythmic accentuation and elements of "veiling". The choral writing is also "deepened" and "elevated" by the organ sounds derived from the text. Despite all the motivic links between the parts, the music has a direct sensual effect as a sound collage. The work ends with three increasingly distant, homophonic invocations of "Veni": the plea "Komm" occurs at the beginning as at the end.

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