Simon Rattle conducts “Weltethos” by Jonathan Harvey and Hans Küng
Sir Simon Rattle
Rundfunkchor Berlin, Dale Duesing
Weltethos for speaker, choir, children’s chorus and orchestra. (01:20:17)
Rundfunkchor Berlin, Dale Duesing Speaker, Simon Halsey Chorus Master and Co-Conductor, Jan Olberg Chorus Master, Kinderchor des Händel-Gymnasiums Berlin, Hans Küng Concept and text
Simon Halsey on the premiere of Weltethos by Jonathan Harvey (00:09:41)
“There will be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions.” – This basic principle of the Swiss theologian Hans Küng also forms the basis of his libretto to the choral work Weltethos. The piece, set to music by Jonathan Harvey, is performed here for the first time in this concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle.
According to Küng, the political and ecological challenges of the future are to be mastered only with a basic consensus spanning all cultures. Weltethos is the vision of this arrangement, based on the common values of the world religions. These are conveyed in texts about Confucius, Moses, Mohammed, Buddha and Jesus as well as Hindu writings. The result should, according to Küng, be no “religious potpourri”, but a universal message of nonviolence, justice, truthfulness and partnership.
Composer Jonathan Harvey is, in the words of Simon Rattle, “probably the most spiritual of our British composers”. In addition, his knowledge of Indian, Chinese and Arabic music predestines him for this project in a unique way. Harvey has been a good friend of the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Berliner Rundfunkchor ever since the musicians gave the German première of Harvey’s Madonna of Winter and Spring five years ago, conducted by Rattle. He was most recently in the Philharmonie in March 2008 for the premiere of his choral work Messages.