Musical Opinion

The genre of 20 th century Catholic church music by members of the clergy is a genuinely fascinating one, and this new cantata on the Stations of the Cross by Fr Armando Pierucci follows in the notable line of works by such masters as Don Lorenzo Perosi. Pierucci was born in 1935 and, as we have every right to expect, is musically a traditionalist. If there is barely a phrase, or a progression, in the work which would have surprised Buxtehude, in taking Christ’s dictum: “The same yesterday, today and tomorrow” as a starting point, Pierucci has created a deeply-felt and clearly moving work of art, given the right circumstances of performance, which is exceptionally well performed and recorded here by Lithuanian forces singing in Russian. The rich acoustic suits the music well, and it is a welcome surprise to encounter such a fine Organ in this part of Northern Europe.

In many ways this authentic piece deserves a wide audience, and one can readily imagine it fulfilling a need amongst the more musical of our parish church choirs, particularly those looking for a refreshing and modern, yet basically traditional piece for performance at Eastertime.

It is the text by the Russian poet Regina Derieva that additionally sets this work somewhat apart… her lines “a man who lives in the sick Fatherland in the Satanic years suddenly understands that the sense of life is only in God” combine to make a thoughtful and penetrating text, well captured by this genuine and gifted composer… A fascinating and, in its way, important issue to which I have returned often with growing compulsion and interest.

—Robert Matthew-Walker