Nickel / Vancouver Contemporary Orchestra - Gospel According To Mark | RECORD STORE DAY

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Multi-award-winning Canadian composer Christopher Tyler Nickel has created a truly unique magnum opus: The Gospel According to Mark, a seven-hour oratorio setting the disciple's text from the King James bible in it's entirety. What originated as an idea to distil the text, as most passion music does, Chris quickly became more interested in setting the complete prose. He chose to compose a work employing an English Protestant text, rather than the more traditional Latin or German, envisioning The Gospel According to Mark as a seven-hour-long prayer. With the text as Chris' starting point, the musical motifs and melodies followed, setting concepts including the themes of teaching, healing, miracles, forgiveness, death and resurrection. The scope of the text is illuminated by scaled-down forces - chamber-sized string orchestra plus two horns, oboe (doubling oboe d'amore) and cor anglais (doubling bass oboe), with soprano, alto, tenor and bass solo voices. Unlike other oratorios, the singers do not represent any particular person but rather act as a chorus of storytellers. Chris explains, "This nebulous use of the voices, which sidesteps role assignment, keeps the vocal parts more abstract and hence the listener focused on the text." With Chris' faith as his guide, The Gospel According to Mark takes the listener a journey through the contrasts of peacefulness and agitation, darkness and light.