A West-Eastern Love Dialogue, Music-dance-theatre work for chorus and percussion
»Love is perhaps the only human condition in which the earthly and heavenly appear nearly united.«
For composer Christian Jost, this aphorism forms the central idea of »LOVER«, his new music theatre piece for mixed chorus and traditional Chinese percussion, in which he sets love poems by the American writer e.e. cummings and from ancient China. The world-renowned U-Theatre of Taiwan was partnering with Rundfunkchor Berlin to create an artistic unity of meditation and martial arts, percussion, dance and theatre. In the monumental architecture of Kraftwerk Berlin, the chorus performed this project of its experimental series Broadening the Scope of Choral Music, a work having an intercultural perspective – a West-Eastern love dialogue.
Jost’s »LOVER« explores love and eroticism in their varying states. The work’s underlying tension derives from its juxtaposition of Western a cappella singing and a Zen-inspired percussion ensemble. The principle of classical vocal polyphony meets Far Eastern drum rhythms, earthy tonal colours and a vocabulary of movements derived from martial arts and tai chi. The magic of love in its different constellation is symbolized by dancing couples, grouped with the chorus’s singers without respect to gender. Thus, says Jost, »the gongs form the contemplative breath, the drums are the energizing pulse«, and the chorus is »the voice that binds everything together.«
Scenically, this »classic love story« of East and West is brought to life in the symbolically charged image of a river, which plays a special role in the Romantic traditions of both China and the West. The work is being staged by Ruo-Yu Liu, founder and director of U-Theatre.
This was not Christian Jost’s first collaboration with Rundfunkchor Berlin. In 2006 he composed the music-theatre piece »Angst«, influencing and furthering the development of the »choral opera« genre and opening up new possibilities for interdisciplinary performance.