Themed "Love is capable of everything", star tenor and Barocktage director Michael Schade, together with a few musicians, pilgrimage in this new production through the Wachau, which celebrates its 20th anniversary as a world cultural heritage site this year, ending up in the almost deserted Benedictine monastery of Melk.
The production for the International Barocktage Melk 2020, which cannot take place as usual due to COVID19, wants to take into account the special circumstances, especially the changed perception of nature and culture due to the restrictions of the last weeks. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Wachau World Cultural Heritage Site, Kammersänger Michael Schade travels via passages of the World Heritage Site ascent through the Wachau to the almost deserted Benedictine Monastery of Melk.
His personal pilgrimage - also the "St. James' Way" runs partly parallel - he walks in the awareness of a newly won freedom of movement and a renewed appreciation of the experience of nature and culture after a long abstinence. On his walk and at the musical stations in the monastery there is room for reflection, gratitude, remembrance, deep joy of life, and above all attentiveness for what he sees and for human-musical encounters. In this way - despite the baroque splendour of the architecture - a character of spiritual reduction emerges, which is not staged as a lack born of necessity, but as quality and spiritual concentration. Michael Schade accordingly walks through the cultural landscape of the Wachau to Melk Abbey, which has survived the chaos of war, catastrophes and culturally glorious epochs for 1000 years. Together with a few musicians - lute, recorder, harpsichord, cello under the direction of Stefan Gottfried - songs and instrumental works by John Dowland and Henry Purcell are "performed" at various places in the monastery - of course without an audience. Where otherwise thousands of visitors crowd and students swarm through the corridors, there is now a contemplative silence. This is how it may have felt in the 18th century when the imperial visitors with their entourage finally left.
As a contrast to the Renaissance and Baroque programme, there are also "off-road" encounters with modern counterparts of English lute songs. Lena Kuchling and Georg Buxhofer lead this repertoire gently into a timeless jazz; Agnes Palmisano and her trio musically fantasize what a "Viennese" Dowland would have sounded like.
We will also pay a virtual visit to the Abbey library, whose literary treasures will also bring unexpected secular things to light, such as instructions for writing love letters that will melt the recipient's heart.
The crowning "Pentecostal" finale in the Collegiate Church is Purcell's "Now that the sun has veil'd his light", which culminates in a radiant "Hallelujah".
Henry Purcell (1659-1695): „Music for a while“ (harpsichord)
Anonym (17th cent.): „Witches Dance“ (harpsichord, recorder)
John Dowland (1563 - 1626): „Fine Knacks for Ladies“ (lute, harpsichord)
„Now, o now“ (lute)
„Can She excuse my wrongs?“ (lute)
„Es tuad ma lad“ (Agnes Palmisano - offroad)
„Kumm tiafa Schlaf“ (Agnes Palmisano - offroad)
John Dowland: „Lachrimae Pavan“ (lute solo)
„Come, heavy sleep“ (lute)
Anonym (17th cent.): „Adsonn’s Masque“ (harpsichord, recorder)
„Cupararee or Graysin“ (harpsichord, recorder)
John Dowland: „Prelude“ (lute solo)
„I must complain“ (lute)
„Say Love if ever thou did’st find“ (lute)
Tobias Hume (ca. 1569-1645): „Love’s Farewell“ (gamba solo)
„Pollish Ayre“ (gamba solo)
Thomas Robinson/ John Danyel: „Passamezzo Gaylard“ (harpsichord, lute)
John Dowland: „What poor astronomers they are“ (harpsichord, lute, recorder)
Matthew Locke (1621-1677): „Suite E minor“ (recorder, harpsichord/organ)
Robert Johnson (17 Jhd.); „Have you seen but a white lily grow“ (lute)
John Dowland: „Come again“ Buxhofer - offroad)
„Come again“ (lute)
Richard Smarte (†nach 1630): „Mounsiers Allman“ (gamba solo)
Henry Purcell: „Now that the sun has veiled its light“ (tutti)