Seven of the world's foremost composers are composing fifteen-minute musical responses to Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri, an iconic sacred work of the German Baroque consisting of seven cantatas. The Crossing will perform the new works in repertory with Buxtehude's 17th-century work with Robert Mealy's Quicksilver Baroque the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). Seven Responses will challenge artists and audiences alike to explore our relative distance from, or closeness to, music across centuries, cultures, and continents. The project will be presented over two concerts on the same day, alternating between old and new works throughout each evening. Each composer has been invited to collaborate with an author of their choice, or to create their own libretto - those will include the words of Icelandic poet Guðrún Eva Mínervudóttir, American poet Paul Kane, the words of St. Clare of Assisi, and Danish poet Ursula Andkjær Olsen.
The Crossing's commissions have increasingly addressed issues related to the environment, to equality, and to the individual's place in the community. Human suffering is often a theme in contemporary secular works, similar in character to sacred works of the past. Membra Jesu Nostri (1680) addresses the suffering of Christ; this will serve as a starting point for the secular cantata each composer of Seven Responses will write.
The composers for the project have been chosen for their diverse styles and common interest in works with political or social themes; they come from Denmark, Latvia, Germany, Iceland and the USA and include two Pulitzer Prize winners.
Dietrich Buxtehude: Membra Jesu Nostri & Seven Responses to Buxtehude: seven 15-minute works by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, David T. Little, Santa Ratniece, Caroline Shaw, Lewis Spratlan, Hans Thomalla, and Anna Thorvaldsdóttir