500 Years with Luther

Events series as part of the Lux aeterna Festival

Khan Akram, iTMOI © Louis Fernandez

Five hundred years ago, Europe and the world were shaken by the Reformation. Five projects in a series titled “500 Years with Luther”, which took place at the “Lux aeterna” festival in Hamburg, revealed the far-reaching consequences of this event which forever changed the European order. The five elaborate productions, which also made reference to the motto of the Luther Decade “Image and Bible”, featured a selection of musical works from that era and combined them with light and video art, readings and contemporary dance. The projects focused on central topics of the Reformation, such as faith, power and communication, and presented them against the reality of modern life. In this way, they offered new approaches for understanding Luther’s world and ideas and those of his fellow Reformers of the 16th century. The events have been accompanied by an academic lecture series held at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg.

The “Water Passion”, written by the Chinese composer Tan Dun, is a 21st-century version of the Passion of St. Matthew. He recreated the scenes in the Gospel of St. Matthew with unconventional instrumentation.

In “War and Peace”, the Catalan gambist and historian Jordi Savall examined the religious conflicts and upheaval in European power structures which resulted from the Reformation. One hundred years of war and peace were dramatically depicted in the form of a musical fresco.

United by faith and the desire for renewal, Martin Luther and Erasmus von Rotterdam were in frequent correspondence with one another. Passages from these letters have been read aloud in “Erasmus von Rotterdam – Praise of Folly”, accompanied by musical works which showed how greatly the Reformation influenced all areas of life.

In “iTMOi– in the Mind of Igor”, the London-based choreographer Akram Khan examined the sacrificial ritual at the centre of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” with regard to the Biblical story of Abraham and Isaac.

Location, music and imagery merged into one spatial-acoustic experience in “Darkness & Light”. The music from the organ, the most important instrument in Protestant church music, has been performed to large-scale video projections created by the Australian artist Lynette Wallworth.

Artistic director: Christoph Lieben-Seutter
Composer: Tan Dun (CN)
Soloist: Bernard Foccroulle (BE)
Musical director and soloist: Jordi Savall (ES)
Camera: Lynette Wallworth (AU)
Ensembles: Akram Khan Company (GB) (Tanz), Chorakademie Lübeck, Hespèrion XXI (ES), La Capella Reial de Catalunya (ES), Le Concert des Nations (ES)