The latest news from Frankfurt is that the Ecumenical Kirchentag is bringing culture online with a digital premiere.
The oratorio EINS will be premiered digitally on May 14th. The musician Anna Prokop, one of the four soloists, gave a first hearing live in the Evangelical Free Church at Frankfurt Zoo, and this could also be followed in a live stream. She was accompanied on the piano by Bernhard Kießig, adviser for popular music at the Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN)'s Centre for Proclamation.
Two women spin the narrative thread of the oratorio, which is variously based on the Acts of the Apostles. The journalist Julia (Anna Prokop) travels on a research project from the present day to the time of the early Christians . She meets Junia, whom Paul greets in Romans 16: 7 not only as a kinswoman, but also as an outstanding personality among the apostles. Both meet the apostles Peter and Paul, are confronted with conflicts between the Gentile and Jewish Christian understanding of Christ. Julia experiences how the young congregations celebrate the events of Easter and Whitsun - but also learns about the escalation of the conflict, which led to the stoning of Stephen.
"What is also special about the creation of the piece is its completely ecumenical character," says Eugen Eckert, the pastor of Frankfurt stadium and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD)'s adviser for church and sport. Together with Helmut Schlegel, a Franciscan priest, the author of contemporary worship-songs and major works has now also devised the libretto for this oratorio. The ecumenical concept was there right at the beginning. The ideas for this gigantic piece came from the regional church music director Christa Kirschbaum of the EKHN and the diocesan director of church music Andreas Großmann from the Catholic diocese of Limburg, who three years ago convened an ecumenical working group of church musicians whose task was to come up with ideas for joint (major) projects to develop for the 3rd Ecumenical Church Congress in Frankfurt am Main in 2021.
"We are particularly pleased to be able to implement a project of these dimensions in this difficult time for the cultural scene," said Jakob Haller, specialist on culture and youth at the Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag. The result is a crossover between traditional and pop-style church music, a cross-generational work with numerous participants: four solo singers are accompanied by the Neue Philharmonie of Frankfurt am Main. The 50-member orchestra with its band is nationally known for its SymphonicRock programme and its accompaniment of numerous greats in the international pop-rock business. Here it plays under the direction of Valentin Kunert, organist of Wetzlar cathedral. There is also a select choir of students from the Frankfurt Conservatoire under the direction of Professor Florian Lohmann and the Frankfurt Co-Op Dance Company. The 90-minute work was composed by church musicians Peter Reulein from Limburg diocese and Bernhard Kießig. In order not to completely give up the originally interactive concept, which was based on the participation of several choirs with many thousands of singers before the pandemic, virtual choir recordings are now planned: The Frankfurt Cathedral Singing School will be involved as well as 100 Protestant and Catholic church musicians (EKHN), the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck (EKKW), and the dioceses of Fulda, Limburg and Mainz, as well as the Council of Christian Churches in Germany (ACK)) and wind bands of the EKHN together with the Frankfurt wind school. And last but not least, the audience can join the music in the final chorale and in this way at least become part of the entire performance. All of this was artistically linked under the direction of Uwe Hausy, EKHN's adviser for performance and theatre.
The shooting will take place at the end of April. The use of the live stream and participation in the ÖKT is free of charge.
The broadcast of the oratorio EINS will take place as part of the 3rd Ecumenical Church Congress at 8pm on May 14th on the website oekt.de