Passion Settings of the 20th- and 21st- Centuries Focusing on Craig Hella Johnson's Considering Matthew Shepard
Description: Craig Hella Johnson (b. 1963) has emerged as a leader in choral music over the last 20 years. As the conductor of the Austin, TX based chorus Conspirare Johnson implemented the European model of bringing singers together from all over the country to assemble for concerts and recordings over a short period of time. He is known for his collage programs which bring together many styles of music bound by a central theme. Through these programs he has written and arranged many pieces which are now published and being performed by choirs across the globe. Johnson's most significant work to date is a 90 minute passion oratorio which details the story of Matthew Shepard, a college student murdered in a hate crime in 1998. Considering Matthew Shepard (2016) is a wonderful example of Johnson's composition and programming style. Though not a traditional passion story, it is part of the evolution of the genre in the 20th and 21st centuries. The passion oratorio has seen a resurgence in the past 50 years and has undergone a transformation in that time. These new works pay homage to the history of the genre but have begun to stretch it in terms of form and content. This study will highlight the evolution of the passion oratorio focusing on Johnson's Considering Matthew Shepard and offer some insight into the composers style and how this work represents a modern treatment of the passion oratorio.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Ward, Robert Clark