Golijov's La Pasión según San Marcos focuses mainly on four chapters of Mark's Gospel (Mark 1; 13; 14; 15). His exuberant and novel interpretation brings the epic experience of the suffering of the innocent Jesus into our contemporary multicultural world.

As the writer of Mark's Gospel did with the people of his time, Golijov presents his Pasión in a way that takes into account the torturous history and rich contemporary reality of the peoples of Latin America. Yet he does not ignore the ancient roots of the Greco-Roman-Judeo-Christian tradition in this masterpiece of inculturation. The experience of suffering is enriched by linguistic, cultural, and spiritual diversity as he draws from ancient and contemporary periods. He bridges the centuries by linguistic plurality: soloists and chorus sing, lament, chant, and pray in Spanish, Aramaic, Latin, and/or Galician (Galego). The predominance of Spanish is a reminder that all cultures have filters through which experience is interpreted.

Golijov draws from the Pan-American culture for diverse evocative expressions of joy and sorrow in a rapidly changing multicultural world. His allocation of roles reminds us that both women and men, and all races, are equal in the eyes of God. Golijov integrates diverse spiritual expressions by adroitly blending Afro-Indigenous-Latino images, ideas, sounds, movements, instruments and performers into a soul-stirring liturgical expression of an ancient Greco-Roman-Judeo-Christian fresco of faith. This effort reflects the historical reality of syncretism in all religions, in this case Christianity.

Golijov's sensation-rich interpretation of Mark stimulates change because it speaks to one of the deepest parts of the human condition: suffering. It is a 21 st century voice reminding us that suffering is universal. All peoples and persons experience Passions--the cutting betrayals, the painful disengagements, the dashed hopes, the abysmal sorrows, the unending agonies, and the brutal crucifixions--alleviated by interludes of soul-resting sharing at table and of anointing with oils of kindness--buoyed up by the continuous drumbeat of a sense of destiny that cannot be deterred.

La Pasión gives expression to the depth of human suffering that has been experienced over the centuries. It creates new meaning in the struggle to alleviate suffering. It nuances how suffering can be lessened, if not alleviated, by promoting universal dignity and equality, by plumbing the richness of cultural diversity, and by demonstrating the creative effectiveness of collaborative effort. Listeners come away from this sonorous, and yet contemplative, musical score experiencing profound and powerful emotions. They are jolted into the realization that the suffering continues...and, sadly, that all people are complicit in it! Accordingly, the experience of La Pasión según San Marcos can evoke and elicit solidarity with those who suffer.

Program Notes by Robert Kirzinger