Jacques Marhand's work, Quatre Jours dans la vie d'un homme , newly scored for String Quartet, is about exactly that: four days in the life of a man, not a god, a man. Inspired by stained glass windows in a church turned concert hall depicting the stations of the cross, Marchand's work imagines the thoughts and feelings of Jesus the human being, rather than re-telling the traditional Easter story of godhead incarnate, suffering, dying and being ressurected in glory.
Sebastian Sallans, leader of the Madoc quartet is excited about premiering this new scoring of the work specifically for string quartet. The writing is, in his view, accessible yet novel and very much writing for our times. He describes the piece as "very like a jazz ensemble in design with themes or meldies that are passed around between the players. Then they re-occur transformed as we go through the ideas inspired by the last days of Jesus living as a man. These soloistic passages are supported by the driving rhythm that you expect in jazz, but that too is traded around between the four instruments, even as it holds the music together and keeps us moving through."
Monsieur Marchand gives us the following program notes explaining the ideas behind the writing: 4 Days in a Man’s Life History: The story beyond Jacques Marchand’s work
Today, in our times, Catholic churches are being sold because of the decrease in believers.
In my city of Rouyn-Noranda, there is a church that was transformed into a Concert Hall. In the first year of the concerts,the Stations of the Cross still hung on the walls.
In Catholic worship, the Stations of the Cross is a series of 12 small wall sculptures that tell of the tragic end of Jesus.
During a concert, I was looking at the Stations of the Cross and wondering why when a man speaks of love and peace, he is killed.
So the idea occurred to me to compose something about the last 4 days of Jesus' life.
The inspiration was not religious inspiration, it was the human side of the story that inspired me.
The work is in 5 movements. The first is a prelude that sets us in the dramatic context of the subject. The other movements are based on what we know are the main events in this story:
-Thursday Jesus is arrested.
-Friday he is sentenced to death.
-On Saturday, we witness Mary Magdalene and the apostles grieving even as they anticipate the eventual return of Christ as promised
-Sunday, Jesus meets with Mary Magdalene, and then with his disciples.
-The work ends with the departure of Jesus! Departure to heaven or departure from public life?
Therein lies the mystery!
Marchand's Quatre Jours dans la vie d'un homme will be performed Saturday evening by the Madoc Quartet at Eldorado Ball Park in QSCM's first ever outdoor "stadium" chamber music concert! (Sat. Sept. 26, 7p.m. Details at wwww.qsmusic.com. ) New work, new context - its a year of surprises and innovation for sure! Stay tuned for the post concert review!