Spiritus Dei - Beyond the sky

Mar 26, 2024
7:30 PM
Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation, Großer Saal

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Mark Simpson


  • Bachchor Salzburg
  • Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra
  • Benjamin Hartmann (Conductor)


Mark Simpson (*1988)
    Phôs (Text: Rainer Maria Rilke)
    World premiere (commissioned by the Bach Choir)

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)
    Virga Jesse floruit WAB 52 (1885)
    Aequale 1 in C minor WAB 114 (1847)
    Locus iste WAB 23 (1869)
    Afferentur regi WAB 1 (1861)
    Aequale 2 in C minor WAB 149 (1847)

Cheryl Frances-Hoad (*1980)
    Beyond the Night Sky (Text: Steven Schnurr/Stephen Hawking)

Anton Bruckner
    Christus factus est, D minor WAB 11 (1884)
    Mass No. 2 in E minor for eight-part choir and wind orchestra WAB 27 (1866)

Marcus Hufnagl
    Bruckner portraits (picture cycle)

Anton Bruckner, then cathedral organist in Linz, applied twice in vain for the directorship of the Cathedral Music Society and Mozarteum in Salzburg before he went to Vienna in 1868 after the second rejection, where he was appointed professor of music theory and organ playing at the Academy of Music. A large part of his phenomenal church music output already existed at that time: motets, in which Bruckner created harmonically and contrapuntally infinite spaces, and masses, with which he took liturgical music into unimagined spheres.

The Bach Choir and the Mozarteum Orchestra under the direction of Benjamin Hartmann are celebrating this outstanding church musician in the Bruckner Year 2024 (the 200th anniversary of his birth). Their concert will culminate in the Mass in E minor for eight-part choir and 15 wind orchestras, which the devout Catholic Bruckner composed in 1866 for a festive open-air performance for the construction of the votive chapel of the new Linz Cathedral. The combination of the densely polyphonic chorus and the wind orchestra, often placed opposite like a second choir, resulted in a unique work in which Bruckner captured all church music from Gregorian chant to Palestrina and his own era. Before this, the Bach Choir sings four of Bruckner's motets, culminating in "Christus factus est", where there is a quotation from the "Kyrie" of the E minor Mass.

From Bruckner, the Bach Choir a cappella will take a bow to the present day and sing "Beyond the Night Sky" by British composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad: She created this spherical choral work in 2017 on the occasion of Stephen Hawking's 75th birthday, based on texts by, among others, the visionary astrophysicist, whose interest was to be able to interpret and understand the "beyond the sky".

To set the mood for this concert, there will be the world premiere of the work "Phôs" by Mark Simpson, commissioned by the Bach Choir. The English composer sets a text from Rilke's "Book of Hours" to music, which locates the human being precisely between this world and the hereafter.

The concert event will be visually complemented by an exhibition in the first floor foyer of a cycle of paintings by St. Pölten artist Marcus Hufnagl consisting of 200 impressive individual portraits of Bruckner.