Saturday, 7 April 2012

Schubert's Lazarus raised

"I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  and whoever lives by believing in me will never die".

In Christian tradition, Lazarus was the only person to be raised from the dead (Jesus doesn't count, since he wasn't mortal). Lazarus has been lying in his tomb four days when Jesus arrives. "If you'd been there" reproaches Martha, "he wouldn't have died!" Calmly, Jesus calls "Arise!" and Lazarus, partly decomposed, comes out, still wearing his shroud but alive. Why this miracle and not a billion others? It still confuses me, but faith is mystery.

I'm still high on Schubert after the BBC Radio 3 Schubert week, so here is a complete sequence of Schubert's incomplete cantata Lazarus. oder die Feier der Auferstehung (D 689,1820)  Part of it was lost for decades, and pieces are still missing. But enough has been restored to get an idea of how it might have been. There are two main recordings, the one below from the 1990's conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch and another from 2002 conducted by Helmuth Rilling. Play the whole sequence in 9 parts.

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